Dh and I went up into the forestry above Wykeham on Sunday.
It's beautiful there, so peaceful and quiet.
We park up and walk the rides between the tracts of trees.
Where we walk is a managed forest of mostly pines which mature and are replaced around every ten years. It has wonderful contrasts of valleys, high crags and forest glades.
The rides are wide green tracks between large tracts of trees which the forestry workers use as pathways to move equipment, store felled trees etc.
Long and wide, interspaced with little sunlit glades, they also act as a firebreak between plantings and most of them have a big box of fire flappers at the end of them.
Green, flat and pleasant to walk, they're a haven for wildlife, anything from adders basking to deer and birds.
Flowers and ferns adorn their edges, a habitat for insects, moths and butterflies.
There are also designated areas for tree nurseries with large fields full of miniature little baby trees all planted in serried rows like a tiny army, the contrast from light field to dark forest is a pleasing sight.
And there are vantage viewpoints overlooking bird migration routes, usually high above the valley with magnificent views for miles and miles.
There are lots of different routes we love to walk but on Sunday we chose the ride down past a small reservoir which is a haunt of long tailed tits. We saw a great flock of them, they live in large family groups but they flit about so quickly that I couldn't manage a decent photograph just a very blurred far distant one which could actually look like a bird if you squint at it...lol...it isn't even worth looking at!
A beautiful feisty little robin was singing sweetly when we set off down the ride, he chose to escort us through his territory, suddenly appearing at the top of a tree just in front of us, time and time again, singing loudly and proclaiming his rights.
At the end of the ride we crossed an fenced around open area, there were lots of rabbits scampering back and forth and a lone roe deer watched us warily but he swiftly jumped the fence and disappeared into the trees giving us a nice glimpse of his buttocks with their white heart shape. A squirrel was rounding a tree trunk but vanished into the canopy in a blink of an eye.
We sat on a stile step and had a delicious cup of hot chocolate, drinking in the peace and tranquility, before we walked on. Padding silently through the dark trees and mossed tracks with their earthy scent, scaly trunks standing sentinel to the forest's path.
After the deep shade of the pine trees, still covered with cones, we emerged into a beautiful sunlit glade, dust motes danced and time seemed to stand still.
High Brow Ridge, with it's magnificent views across the valley and a welcome seat for weary legs where we sat quietly with birdsong echoing around us.
There were coltsfoot growing there with it's beautiful feathered stem reminiscent of a colt's foot hairs and where it derived it's name from.
I haven't seen any in ages as it's an endangered species now unlike when we were children and collected it so mam could make coltsfoot rock, a soft melt in the mouth confection which tasted delicious and I've never tasted in years. Oh! it's making me salivate...lol...now that calls for a visit to the old fashioned goodie shop next time I'm in town!
There were large primeval boulders covered in moss and pretty green lichen looking for all the world like tiny stylised trees.
And gorse blooming around the edges. It flowers all year round hence the old saying 'when gorse is in bloom, kissing's in fashion'.
Then back down a short winding path through the trees to the car and we headed off into the sunset!
Here's a taster for you:
Laden with cones
A fiesty little robin escorted us through his territory
Sunlight filters down making the trees seem to glow
Gorse in bloom
Looking back through the pines out over High Brow Ridge as we head towards the car