Being on somewhat of a short leash this year, like many others I’ve spent time getting better acquainted with my local area. One place in particular that I’ve got to know better is my local wood.
The Wood is nothing to write home about in terms of its size – about 200m long at its maximum and 50-90m wide – in fact it’s so inconsequential that the 1:25000 OS map doesn’t even hint at it being a wood:
[Bizarrely, the 1:50000 map does at least colour it green, although there’s only just about enough space to draw a single tree on, and even then it touches the sides.]
So it’s a very small wood, left untouched when the estate that surrounds it was built. The Wood also has the distinction of hosting my nearest public footpath – you can see the WHOLE of the path in the picture above. It is also the only public footpath that can be accessed from within my OS grid square.
The Wood itself has two main paths running through it – the public footpath which connects the entrances at each end, and a more meandering path which connects those same points in more of an arc. I am of course, more drawn to that meandering path – it is quieter, less trodden, and gives more of a sense of actually being in a wood.
With the turning of the seasons, the times of early morning and early evening walks are gone, and my work day has been reshaped so as to allow for a walk at lunchtime instead. Because this limits how much of a walk I can do, I have found myself doing variations on a 4-5km loop, in which The Wood features each time. Indeed, The Wood is the part of the walk I look forward to the most. It’s not difficult to see why, when I tell you that most of the rest of the walk is paved.
With the coming of autumn, The Wood has thinned out; its denser parts now penetrable; the carpet of fallen leaves highlighting the paths amidst the remaining greens.
The thinning opens up new routes through the middle of The Wood, narrow channels of leaves threading their way through a blanket of ivy. A blanket that twists its way up the trunks of the tree too.
A rustling noise off to one side, usually signals the local squirrels also out and about. The occasional bird noise breaks the silence, but many of them have departed now in search of warmer climes. The traffic noise from nearby roads is dulled slightly by the trees.
Even in such a small wood, I am finding new things each day. Sometimes it just needs you to look a little closer to find interesting patterns and features.
Considering where it is, it is a bit of a surprise that The Wood isn’t more of a rubbish dumping ground, but this probably owes more to the fact it’s used as a cut through than anything else. It is not a destination in its own right.
Except for me.