Hubby and I have fond memories of the woods we used to frequent when we lived in the cottage. We had a variety of routes, some we considered ‘secret’ pathways through the trees, up around the bunny route and down the humpy pumpy.
Come walk with me and Come sit with me are two of many posts about our walks there.
Shortly before we left, the forestry commission had begun a ‘conservation’ process. You can read that as total devastation and an annihilation of natural habitats which we found distressing and upsetting.
Photo: taken in 2014
Today, 16th January, we went back.
The car park hasn’t changed much, still craters and huge puddles so we had to watch where we were driving.
We stopped alongside a path that runs parallel to one of the fences. In the past we’d seen deer here.
The dog mess was still apparent in the middle of the walkways, but with no bins ever being present (no-one wants the responsibility of emptying them), several little plastic bags were also decorating bushes, tied to the fence wire or just left on the grass.
Photo: 16 Jan 2018, 1st path crossroads close to old ground bees site
A lot of our old tracks were overgrown as are the known sites for ground bees, but other than that, what was most noticeable was the lack of birdsong. There were a few tits in the trees, but they weren’t singing much.
The area opposite is where the lost bull took refuge, though beyond, condemned trees are marked for the next phase of ‘conservation’. If our memory serves us right, the areas cleared over four years ago were going to be replanted within a year. That hasn’t happened, they are still stark and empty.
Photos: 16 Jan 2018 trees marked for next phase of conservation
We found the rhododendron bush we’d ‘borrowed’ a cutting from for the front garden in the cottage. Or should I say what was left of it. It had been brutally slashed to the roots and poisoned to stop regrowth, the once magnificent greenery lying in a heap of rotting vegetation.
Photo: 16 Jan 2018 rhododendron remains
The buildings that house the bat colonies are still there. Whether the bats are too was hard to tell, but as they are a protected species, the chances are they still have a home.
We saw only two people way in the distance but no wildlife.
Photo: 16 Jan 2018, area cleared in 2014 which should have been replanted by now
Surprisingly though, we enjoyed our walk and were out for over an hour. We were only at the lower end of the plantation so have no idea if Maggie’s path, the badger sett and the bunny route are still there. It’s also where all the crows roost, where more deer were in residence as well as foxes, woodpeckers, owls and squirrels, and rabbits ran in abandon.
Coming home via the GPS, it’s not as long a journey as we thought, so there is every chance we will return to explore the top end and see where Maggie might lead us. She was having a lovely time sniffing out her old haunts.
Photo 16th Jan 2018