A Walk Through the Woods

So, yesterday morning I headed out to take advantage of what the weather forecast assured me would be the only completely sunny day for some time. I’d decided the night before that I wanted to go walking, but it wasn’t until I’d finished my breakfast that I decided where to go. I decided to pick up the Serpent Trail from where I’d stopped after climbing up to the Temple of the Winds in January. The path up onto Marley Common is about half an hour’s walk from Haslemere station, and I started in good cheer.

Until it started to rain. By the time I got to the bottom of the path, the initial drizzle had turned into torrential rain and I beat a hasty retreat downhill to cower in a bus shelter.

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For a while I thought my day out would end with posting this picture, taken from under the bus shelter, on my way home. Luckily, the buses back to the station only run hourly and I’d just missed one. I sat here for half an hour, reading Level Hands (which is excellent) and then, to my delight, the clouds passed over and the sun came out again.

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The path up from the main road is up a sequence of steps and steep paths, all of which were deep in leaf mulch that had washed downhill under the force of the rain. The trees were still dripping as I made my way up here and through the woods at the top.

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Then the woods opened out into a flowering heath. This picture doesn’t do justice to just how bright the gorse and heather were, under sunshine, just after rain. This is my favourite type of local walking, where long shady paths through the woods give way to little patches of heathland or sudden views over the hills.

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And back into the sunlit woods.

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These trees looked like they were dancing (entwoods!)

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This sign made me smile. Too bloody right.

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I’m not usually a sun worshipper, but I sat beside this pond for twenty minutes and basked while watching the dragonflies.

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From the pond the path rose up through the woods again.

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The signposting was superb all the way along, but I had my head down at one point and must have missed a sign because I ended up following this path across the back of Chapel Common rather than going round the edge of it. I think I missed a bit of Roman Road, but it was such a lovely bit of woodland I couldn’t care too much.

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By this point it was early evening and the sun was just beginning to slant down through the trees.

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I eventually came out on the corner of the common, where I found these ladies in residence. The National Trust manages many of the local commons, and grazing cattle have been reintroduced to them as a way of managing the land. As the names suggest, many of the local heaths were originally common grazing land and only became tree-covered during the twentieth century. There’s a lot of work going on to gradually and sensitively return them to their earlier state, not least because true heaths are habitats for many rare species. This one was agricultural land and has been allowed to become grassy again.

Summer is now coming to an end here again. I’m back in school at the end of this week, and I know all the demands of the autumn term are about to hit me. I’ll probably go quiet again for much of the next few months, but the newsletter will keep going out, and I’ll definitely be around for the Reawakening relaunch at the end of October. Enjoy the autumn, everyone 🙂

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