Daily Forest Walk Picture 12.04.20

This is an area of wetland used by the wild boar as a wallow. It lies close to one of the paths we tread regularly.

Continuing to spread some light and pleasure to those confined by the current crisis. See post 1, here, for an explanation.

This is the 9th post, and takes the form of a short photo essay.

Easter Sunday, and the chances were that the forest would be more popular than usual. And, as expected, we met a number of walkers, cyclists, and a young woman on a pony in the early stages. But everyone kept to the social distancing code.

Fast traffic on horseback along an early part of the walk.

We’d decided to pay a visit to the local fishing pond, across the main road from us. Last time we were there was in early winter and the pond had overflowed some of its banks and rendered the encircling path impassable. The past few weeks of dry weather have made a significant difference. The paths are now easily navigated.

The fishing pond floats lots of water lilies as the summer progresses.
A young tree overlooks the site of an ancient relative now reduced to sodden remnants.
The path that circles the pond is popular but never crowded.

We took the still rather soggy path from the fishing pond along to Mireystock, one of the late industrial sites that has now been absorbed into the forest. Here, lies a deep cutting that used to take steam trains carrying coal, iron, and stone from the area out to the rest of the country. The old tunnel that took those trains under the road is now sealed, and is an abode for various bats. (There’s talk of raising funds to have it re-opened as a way of allowing visitors to bypass the road in safety, but I suspect this will be a long time coming). The old bridge that used to carry carts and then lorries over the railway line remains. Interestingly, the tunnel bears the name ‘Mierystock’ and the bridge ‘Mirystock’, my spelling above comes from another sign. So, who knows what the correct term might be?

The well-made path that we joined after negotiating the rather soggy one from the pond leads to the tunnel and the bridge.
The tunnel can be accessed by taking the narrow path to the left.
The bridge is also signed for visitors.
And this is the bridge, no longer a thoroughfare for heavy vehicles but a haven of peace.

Early spring is encouraging even the larger broadleaved trees to open their buds and join the greening currently championed by the smaller foliage of hawthorns and hazels. And some spring flowers have emerged. Judging by the sprouting plants, it won’t be long before wild garlic and bluebells come into flower.

A mile or so up the forest road lies a place where visitors can hire bikes (pedal power only!) to use on the tracks the owners maintain for that purpose. Here, they’ve installed a basic bridge across a small brook.

A Wood Anemone.
The serpentine bough of an ancient oak felled by one of the storms of previous seasons.
The Lesser Celandine.

The path that accesses these two places is a properly surfaced way eventually leading to a parking area half a mile further on. We avoided that and turned onto a less obvious path, used by walkers and cyclists, to approach the smaller road. There, we crossed and followed another narrow path to the main road, where we crossed and then wandered freely in the woodland until we reached our ‘magical’ pine forest featured in the post of 10.04.20, here. Then we connected with the steep track back down to the village and across that narrow road and onto the final path to take us back home.

Young beech trees grow beside the tall and more mature oaks.

We’d walked 4 miles and climbed a total of 130 feet with much upping and downing. Once we’d left the pond, where we saw again a small family we’d passed on the way up, we never encountered another soul. Maybe everyone had gone home to prepare, or eat, their Easter Sunday roasts!

Walking the open forest gives an air of freedom.
Here and there we encounter signs that the fir trees are a crop, the straight avenues providing scope for vehicles needed when the crop is harvested.
Elsewhere, it’s easy to loose the idea of straight rows, as thinning and replanting varies the plantation’s design.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this expanded post today. I thought it appropriate to share a little more on what is a special day for so many people. It’ll help others enjoy this bit of nature if you could spread the word with the ‘share’ buttons below. Let’s all do what we can for each other during this testing and trying time, please. Thank you.

I thought I might also post links over the coming weeks to some of my previous longer photo essays, in the hope of giving some vicarious pleasure to those who can’t get out at present.

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