Wood and hillsTo say the area I headed for stinks, is an understatement. With the exception of this hike, every trek I've done in that part of the country has been a serious pain. One, because I followed someone else's instructions who hadn't a clue which was left and right, nearly got me killed. Others have been more trouble than they were worth. So it was with trepidation I set out to the region on a warm, sunny, Spring day, which began with thick fog and cleared by the time I arrived.
The target destination was a large wood just outside a village. To get there I had to go through a major town, which seems to a bit too big for its britches. A bus ride, driven by a very helpful driver, took me to a rather spread out village. The large wood was split in two by an uncrossable road, the traffic was non-stop and I didn't want the hassle of trying to cross it.
What can I say about this massive collection of tree trunks. Well, first off this seemed to be a young wood. There must have been a major cut down some time back, unless it had been an Elm wood and Dutch Elm Disease wiped it out. I had not consulted a map, just a satellite image on my smartphone to determine North. There are quite a few trails there, though I spent more time off them than on. It's a funny place in a way. Light colored, very smooth tree trunks on one hand and another area full of 70-80 foot pine trees. The kind that would make good telephone poles or matches.
A solid section of broken branch, for a staff, was found that I used mainly to clear the way as I walked through the forest. The usual dead leaf cover for the season was there and at one point I found out just how sharp Holly leaves are. It was all at ground level attacking my legs with ferocity and my thin jeans gave me little armor. Every now and then I'd check my compass as I walked about for a couple of hours in no particular direction, which was easy because the trees were quite close together and walking in a straight line impossible.
Finally my stomach read empty, so I found a place to sit down and eat my lunch. Somehow I had stumbled across a small area, way off trail, that was completely quiettoo quiet. There was only one bird ushering an occasional tweet, I think it was a blackbird. No wildlife at all, though I did see one fox hole but no animal. That I found strange and have no explanation for it.
I just sat there and took it all in for about 40 minutes, regretting I'd not brought my pipe with me. The silence was nice. No wind was present, in fact nothing was present except me. There are hills about, as was found later, so they had to be ascended and descended.
Along one side of the entire area is the only marked trail. Some houses can be seen off to one side and it was there I saw the most people. A couple of lads sharing a joint and a few others doing their dog thing. I used that path to get me further on, then just hung a left off it, into the woods for more exploration.
The land is private but gives permission to walk in the woodland, I hope it remains that way.
Every now and then a path appeared. Some I went on for a bit, others not. It was on a very small section I crossed this little stream. A tiny thread of water moving very slowly along without a care in the world. Looking at my watch I realized that 3 hours had passed and began the way back.