Kingswalden Park

This was another summer walk, back in July when it seemed like whenever we were not working we were walking. Walking had become our substitute for going out to the cinema, the theatre, music gigs, galleries, restaurants, shops, markets. Sometimes while out walking we might risk visiting a pub, but only if we could sit outside. Covid lived inside. Today we parked on the village green at Preston in Hertfordshire, beside the Red Lion pub. But its door was closed, its garden was empty and there was no public convenience. I needed a tree. I could think of little else, winding the village paths out to pasture and greatly relieved to find this welcoming field maple. Continue reading “Kingswalden Park”

Frames of reference

A Walk In The New Forest

The other side of this sign warns WATCH OUT Day and Night and it’s just where five donkeys came out of the darkness into our headlights as we arrived the night before. We saw the donkeys but didn’t see the sign. But that’s not why I took the photograph. I was curious about the holly, at first sight it’s a tree but then higher up it’s more like a vine reaching for the branches of the oak tree. High risk root. Continue reading “A Walk In The New Forest”

Frames of reference

Hayley Wood

I’d sent out a request via Twitter saying we were planning a weekend in Cambridge and could anyone recommend a woodland walk nearby. I received an intriguing reply from Steve PocockOh, check out Hayley Wood to west of Cambridge. That was one of Oliver Rackham’s stomping grounds where he did a lot of his work on medieval woodlands. Features in his books. Continue reading “Hayley Wood”

Frames of reference

Another Walk In The Woods

Shepherd’s Cottage was a surprisingly elusive place for a rendezvous. I thought I knew where it was, just off the road by Staverton Thicks, the rambling old woods we’d visited a couple of times before. I knew it as Thicks Cottage, but I thought that was just another name for the same place. So when we arrived on the doorstep a bemused woodsman put us right. “The Shepherd’s Cottage is back up where you’ve just come, then left along the track. Careful though, it can be a bit sandy down at the bottom.” Continue reading “Another Walk In The Woods”

Frames of reference

Two Days In Epping Forest

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we didn’t stay overnight, but it sounds better than two visits or two day trips to Epping Forest. The first was a week after Easter, on St George’s Day, inspired by blogposts and tweets about holloways, I wondered what’s the closest thing to a holloway in Epping Forest? And so we went up to Jack’s Hill and walked to the western edge of Ambresbury Banks. Continue reading “Two Days In Epping Forest”

Frames of reference

Staverton Thicks

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In July I posted Elizabethan Oaks about the ancient oak trees of Hatfield Park, which prompted comments recommending Staverton Thicks, a dense, primeval woodland with the oldest oaks in East Anglia. I was intrigued. I’d not heard of it before. Continue reading “Staverton Thicks”

Frames of reference

Hatfield Forest & Hatfield Broad Oak

This is one of my favourite trees, an ancient Hornbeam pollard at Bush End Plain, an area of wood pasture in Hatfield Forest. This place has been grazed by cattle and sheep for at least 1000 years, and these trees pollarded to keep their green shoots out of reach of grazing livestock. There are also deer here and Oliver Rackham has called this The Last Forest because it is the only surviving example of a Royal Medieval Hunting Forest, meaning forest as a place where the monarch had the right to keep deer and to kill and eat them. This maintained environment has been shaped with rides, chases and woodland by continuous managed development over the past millenium. Continue reading “Hatfield Forest & Hatfield Broad Oak”

Frames of reference