So far this year I hadn’t walked in a bluebell wood.
I had read in the Guardian Eco pages about Wreay Woods being a great Bluebell Wood, so knowing Hector was on call this weekend and confined to the office and house, asked Sally if she wanted to come along. None of us had been there before though I pass the start of the walk most days as I drive to an fro to work. I often think how wonderful the walk looks along the river. Jules came too, as of course did Roxy dog. We had our cameras and were lucky with the weather. WHAT a gorgeous day.
We dawdled and dallied and hardly saw another soul once well beyond the fields.
The walk begins next the the M6 Carlisle South junction and a dismal concrete underpass under the motorway, but opens into a flat field beside the River Petteril After a while you leave the sound of the M6 behind you and once in the woods its quiet and calm and heavenly. The woods are ancient, unspoiled and a wonderful place to spend a few hours. We ambled along, being rounded up by Roxy dog, taking lots of photographs and inspecting the plants, wildlife and river and soaking up the sights, sounds, scents and companionable walk. Us three and Roxy loved it – really loved it.
Wreay Woods follows the course of the River Petteril where a deep gorge has been cut through the land exposing the underlying red sandstone. Woodland is thought to have been present here since the middle ages. While it has been modified and managed the feeling is one of ancient – trees are left after falling to rot, ferns grown all over the place, lichens and mosses are thick and the wildflowers carpet the whole wood. After the long dry spell of the early spring the river was quiet and still and trickled beside us the whole way.
We saw sandmartin nests and the dipper – fleetingly – under the bridge. We looked carefully for kingfishers but saw not sign. Jules knows about these things and was hoping to find traces of otters. We thought we might have seen traces, but thats all… I got the feeling that our senses were heightened the whole time. It was a wonderful few hours.
And Sally did a wonderfully silly little dance at the start of the walk…