12 Sep 2019

A walk in the woods


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!
Linda :)

26 comments:

  1. How fascinating and what a lovely wood to walk in.

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    1. We have many beautiful woodlands in our area and I'm glad these have been retained for public use. We get so much benefit from green spaces.

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  2. Relaxing place to walk and nice details in your shots...
    Have a nice weekend and take care.

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    1. Thank you Luisella. Enjoy your weekend too.

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  3. Such a lovely wood with such interesting history. I've never heard of white coal...how fascinating! Glad the pond has been improved, that's good news for the wildlife.

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    1. The project to create a pond in the small quarry was a worthwhile one. The wildlife will certainly benefit from this source of water :)

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  4. A wonderful walk. It's lovely that the area is allowed to rewild itself after all the quarrying that took place.

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    1. I imagine that the area has to be carefully managed so that there's a balance between allowing nature to take over and keeping the paths cleared and safe for the visitors of today. The history of the woodland's uses is fascinating.

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  5. What a great place to go for a stroll with so much history. It was a joy to admire the beautiful trees and feel like I was taking a stroll along with you.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk in the woods MM :)

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  6. The wood looks wonderful especially as it has managed to stay more or less the same for such a long time. I've not heard of ganister before. It won't be long until those leaves change colour.

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    1. We shall have to stop and take another look when the leaves turn colour. Beech woods are my favourite when that happens, but appreciate the mixed variety of trees in Ecclesall Woods.

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  7. nature is surely thriving in this wooded area. glad they are letting it thrive and not cutting it down or destroying it like they do here.. yum on the blackberry's

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    1. We've had our issues with the city council about cutting down healthy trees (in the streets rather than in woodland), but a campaign saved them. We appreciate our green spaces. It's great to see the fruits of Autumn.

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  8. How I would love to walk through this area. Thank you for sharing the history. Your photos are wonderful!

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    1. Thank you Denise. I'm glad you found the woodland walk enjoyable and interesting 😊

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  9. What beautiful and precious woodland. I really enjoyed the walk with you... the berries, fungi and the trees are lovely. The pond is special too. Gorgeous photos, it was really nice to see them all and to read the signage thanks Linda :D) xx

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    1. Thank you Sue. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk in the woods. 😊

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  10. How lovely to stroll in a place with so much history. Where people used to work so hard we now have leisure. It's a lovely story of the children creating the pool in an old working area and naming it for the collier who worked there. It looks a magical place to visit:)

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    1. The historical aspects of these woods are something to appreciate. If I go back I want to look for more evidence of the working life of past times. Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is also nearby.

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  11. To be walking on that historical ground is a wonderful thing! Beautiful woodsy paths...I would love it. I’m glad they are protecting the birds as well.

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    1. These ancient woodlands are precious, indeed. I'm sure you would enjoy walking there, Sallie. Thanks for coming by.

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  12. Incredibly beautiful nature where you live! Wonderful place to take walks. I love it!! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Angela, for your visit. I'm pleased you enjoyed the walk in the woods in our area. We're blessed to live where we do :)

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  13. Hi Lynda - I was having a roam around in blogland and have just discovered your lovely blog and have been reading back through many of your posts because you cover the area where I grew up and my family are from. Your Library in the park is the park I spent many happy hours in as a little girl as my grandma and grandad lived just outside the park gates on Hawkesley Road - your church is the one my mum and dad married in - I would recognise it anywhere. My mum's side originate from Bradfield - (we have relatives from way back in the church graveyard) - so I have grown up visiting the little village and paddling in the river, feeding the ducks. We live over the Strines near to Holmfirth now but often have a drive over into Derbyshire. We used to have a caravan at Bradwell outside Castleton whilst our two girls were growing up - my sister has it now.
    I will be back as it is so nice to go on your little outings - I didn't know there was so much in the park now - haven't been for years as sadly my gran and grandad died many moons ago.
    Your garden is really lovely too and such beautiful pictures.

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  14. Thank you blogger from Where The Journey Takes Me. Welcome.

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