A Sunday Walk in the Forest

2.8quarry 3
Valerie above the old quarry

A few days ago, Valerie and I took a ‘quick’ walk following a tough stint in the garden. No surprise that, as we walked one of the tracks we favour, we impulsively decided it was time to explore a faint track we’d noticed a few times previously. Track? It was more like a scramble up a very steep hillside dotted with rocks, roots and slippery slopes. Valerie, normally very confident and able on such sites, accepted my proffered hand to help her up a particularly tricky part, and that’s a comment on the slope rather than her ‘mountain goat’ climbing abilities!

2.1access
The Public Footpath that gives us access to the forest

At the top of this incline, we discovered an ancient quarry, which we naturally explored. It led into another, larger quarry, accessed by another – yes, you’ve guessed – steep climb. But it was worth it. A lovely old place with ancient beech trees and a man-made circle of stones laid out as a seating area around a fire hearth. Looked like something out of Lord of the Rings.

2.2rail path
The initial track follows the line of a railway track dismantled in the 1960s

We spent a good while exploring and then decided against tackling the slopes to get back. That took us along boar tracks until we eventually emerged in well-known country again. It was a fascinating walk. But, this idiot hadn’t taken his camera, and it absolutely cried out to be pictured.

2.3first bridge
This bridge spans one of the old bridges that carried the railway over a small forest road.

So, today, with the sun peeping through gaps in scudding clouds, we returned. This time, we avoided the steeper climbs by taking a route we worked out would take us to the same destination. Once there, we spent a good deal of time wandering and taking pics. My camera batteries ran out almost at once. But, due to an oversight that had allowed my early boy scout training to come to the fore, I actually had a spare set in my pocket!

2.4wilder woods
A dog walker’s path took us nearer the intended destination.

We wandered amongst the ancient beeches, marvelled at the exposed rocks, sat on the stone seat to freeze our assets, and generally had a great time. When we left, we trekked through some fairly unfrequented woodland, following boar trails, until we found a track we know well, and returned home.

2.5bracken
For part of the route we followed the power lines. In summer this is impassable due to ticks in the bracken

I thought, in this time of such uncertainty and general dismay over various political shenanigans, I’d pass on the pleasure here in the hope of uplifting flagging spirits.

2.6quarry 1

First sight of the smaller quarry.

2.7quarry 2

And, here, the larger quarry.

2.9ancient roots

Ancient beech trees spread their roots over the rocks.

2.10stone bench

Some diligent souls have built this seating area around a hearth to contain a fire.

2.11stones

The rich local stone is cracked and layered, making it ideal for certain building work.

2.12beeches

Magnificent old trees now protect the place.

2.13rock face

One of the sheer faces of the old quarry.

2.14sitting

Valerie rests on the stone circle seat.

2.15sitting1

And we came across this weird old guy who Valerie insisted on photographing; sorry to spoil the sequence!

2.16old trees

More of the magnificent monarchs.

2.17shadows

Morning sunlight casts shadows over last autumn’s leaves.

2.18old roots

Those roots have seen a lot of weather!

2.19old woods

Our route back took us through woods without tracks.

2.20back on track

Until we came upon an old trail we often use.

2.21enroute

We passed this ancient sentinel en route back home.

2.22en route

The track passes through mixed woodland here.

2.23winding way

And then winds down this hill. I used to run here when practicing for the Great North Run in 2015. And cyclists use this with the mountain bikes.

2.24Horton bridge

Eventually, it leads to Horton Bridge, another bridge over a now dry water course.

2.25shadowed track

Shadows snake along the old railway track. The Forestry Commission did a great deal of work to establish this track for walkers and cyclists to use the forest. We use it often.

2.26bridge

And, finally, the first bridge comes back into sight. From here, it’s only a few hundred yards back home. A very pleasant walk.

Enjoy!

We did.

4 thoughts on “A Sunday Walk in the Forest

  1. Ahhh you are the couple I used to see frequently whilst walking my delinquent ‘baby’ Paella along the very same paths! We’ve only been gone a week but I do miss the railway line and forest paths out of Lydbrook! Keep the photos coming so I can pretend I’m still there 😀 Simmi xx

    Liked by 2 people

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