In testing the waters sotospeak as to how far Hubby can travel at the moment, we drove into Boston today to purchase some balsa wood for a project he is about to begin. He had used this particular model shop before, so we rang yesterday to enquire if they had what he wanted, only to be told they were closing down and everything was half price. We’re glad we chose to go today as it was actually their last day of trading!
I wrote a post on January 16th about revisiting the woods we used to frequent when we lived in the cottage, so as we were only a few miles away, we decided to go again and park up at the top this time.
It has been an absolutely glorious day, so we were on alert for adders basking in the February sunshine after the colder months. A bite from one of these is enough to kill a dog, and we are aware that a few years ago there were several casualties here.
More trees have been marked up for felling, though we could see that a thinning process of sorts had already taken place since we left in 2014.
Maggie certainly knew where she was. The Humpy Pumpy route is still there, but they have cleared an area shortly before it and put a sign up ‘Please do not allow your dog to foul this amenities area.’
Now to me, ‘amenities’ means things like a cafe, loos, kids playground or similar, but other than flattened bracken, there was nothing here!
We walked along the fence where we’d seen deer in years past and Maggie detoured off towards the Bunny Route. That too is a lot thinner than we remember, and an extra path has been worn parallel by less than a foot to the one we walked, so there is a narrow ‘island’ of heathery undergrowth in between.
The red dots we noticed on trees from our last visit were apparent here too (my photo from last time).
The warrens and rabbit holes have either collapsed or been filled in, and repairs of sorts made to the wire fencing. Inside our private sanctuary where the crows always went to roost at night, the badger sett is no longer active, and trees have fallen down of their own volition, propped up in the arms of others or blocking the pathway.
It seemed surreal for something that had once been so familiar, as if something was missing but we couldn’t put our finger on exactly what.
Coming out onto the path, Maggie went straight across to ‘Maggie’s Wood’ so we followed.
Again, it felt different mainly because there was a definite pathway here now, whereas in our day it was ‘secret’. I could see the end directly ahead, something absent before as we had to move in and out of the dense tree foliage by the Cactus and Weaver’s Basket, plus the White Stone towards Bunny Central.
This new path bypassed all of those, and we could see the remnants of the warrens junction from where we stood rather than crossing over it.
It was not the same, and when we emerged on the other side, there was another direct track leading onto the main pathway which hadn’t been there before.
We did however see evidence of an active badger sett, so we were glad to know they are still about (google image).
We walked back along the top fence to the car, gave Maggie a drink, and then came home via Horncastle, which is not as long a journey as we’d thought.
However, it was still too much for Hubby at the moment, even though we’d had a break in between and been walking for almost an hour.
Glossary (as extracted from previous posts for guidance and comparison):
Humpy pumpy: a pathway that undulates up, down and across with little ‘ravines’ which makes the going a little difficult at times, especially if tired, your feet/legs ache, or it’s been raining.
The Bunny Route: so called because along the fence line it is a mass of rabbit burrows. Maggie led us down this track one day, and it is now one of our preferred routes. Inside the copse itself is another rabbit haven where we have also seen deer, foxes and a variety of birds. We also believe there is a badger sett nearby though we have only heard them, not seen.
Maggie’s Wood: another exploration trail found by her ladyship. Nothing more than a slight indentation in the undergrowth, we followed it one day and it has become another favourite.
The Weaver’s Basket and Cactus are broken tree branches that have rotted down, the cactus being upright and has ‘three fingers’ pointing upwards.
The White Stone: exactly that just sitting in the middle of a moss hill.
Bunny Central: a huge junction where about 8 burrows meet and inter-twine.
Top Fence: the wire fencing that separates the nature reserve (no dogs allowed) from the woods themselves, but leads back to the lay-by where we park.
I hate hearing about trees being cut down.
Sadly it’s what the forestry commission do, but they don’t seem to be replanting.
We I see that sort of situation on our side of ‘the pond’, I automatically think some politician found a way to line his/her pockets. It’s cynical but correct far too often.
I think you’re right.
The picture of the snake makes it look almost pretty – not that they are when you get startled by one.
Adders (aka vipers) are the only poisonous snakes native to the UK and sometimes you don’t see one until it’s too late. When we walked in the woods before, if we saw one, we told other walkers where, and they did the same. Grass snakes are commonly mistaken for adders or perhaps I should say vice versa, but the adder has the identifying diamonds on top of the body, not the side.
Do you see them regularly? We have rattlers here, but (knock on wood), I’ve never seen one while out walking, whether with or without Choppy. I’ve seen plenty of snakes, though. Just not the ones which you have to worry about.
In bracken woods they re commonplace which is why dog walkers who see them warn others. I walked a bit too close to one and it poised itself to strike my ankle though I hadn’t disturbed it. Hubby got it before it got me (or Maggie for that matter)