There are three areas of woodland that make up Ecclesall Woods and there's plenty of scope to explore them, but on our recent visit we parked in an area where I could walk along a familiar path down to one of the ponds. We visited earlier in the year when the English bluebells were in flower, but a walk at this time of year is just as interesting, although everything is still green and the deciduous trees have not yet turned to Autumn colours.
Ecclesall Woods are considered ancient because they can be traced back to be seen on old maps of the 1600s. Evidence of boundaries and stone formations are thought to be from the Iron Age and Roman period, but over the centuries the area has had many uses from deer park for the leisure pursuits of Robert de Ecclesall to a working wood where 'white coal' (dried wood) was used to smelt lead. Many pits where white coal was made are spread throughout the area. Charcoal burning was another activity and ganister (a hard sandstone rock which was used in the manufacture of special bricks to line Bessemer Converters was quarried). One such ganister quarry has been turned into a pond and named by schoolchildren as Collier's Pond after a charcoal burner whose memorial and probably the spot that marks his grave is located somewhere nearby.
In the 19th century new trees were introduced, but these have had to be managed well after the council bought the woodlands in 1927 to be used as an amenity wood. A bird sanctuary was fenced off in 2018 to give the birds a chance to breed and increase, but there are ample pathways where visitors can take a walk. The natural regeneration of silver birch, oak, rowan, sycamore, sweet chestnut and other trees can be appreciated as well as the ambiance of the woods in every season. It's good to see the diversity that is being managed and created from trees that are still standing to the fallen branches and the boulders that are being left undisturbed so that nature can thrive.
Thank you for your visit. Have a good day!