Bluebells appearing in Standish wood
We have moved from winter to spring and the weather can be deceptive. The wet stormy conditions we experienced through November to early February have been replaced by colder drier weather for March. It feels like winter is catching us off guard. However the spring plants are starting to come up with the bluebells making an appearance. Look carefully and you may see a flowering spike in the bottom left corner of the photograph.
When the sun does come out there are some great views to be enjoyed from the woods. I have installed some benches and seats at some of the glades and along the tracks so that you can take time out to sit and ponder. I will be adding a couple more on the bottom track along the woodland boundary adjacent to Standish Park land. You will find these appearing sometime later in the spring.
There are several tracks, including the Cotswold Way, that weave their way through the entire wood. If you don’t mind some steep descents or ascents the wood can offer you a lovely walk or ride. I would just ask that mountain bikers users please keep to the way marked trail or official bridleways and not stray from these. I have been finding a number of downhill tracks, jumps and berms are being developed at the southern end of the wood close to the Ash Lane. I have also been finding the wheelbarrows, tools and pallets used in their construction and would urge anyone wishing to try to look for a more extreme challenge to find a landowner who is happy to allow such construction, unfortunately the National Trust is not in a position to offer or allow individuals to build their own course. Apart from the damage to the ground flora it causes there is the risk to users and other visitors. A purpose built downhill and skills arena is currently being developed in Birdlip not far from Stroud where this type of mountain bike facility is catered for.
Last year I had over 400m of the Cotswold Way resurfaced to provide a much improved all weather track. This is found along the mid way point in Standish wood and had got to the point where it was almost impassable in wet weather. It required several hundred tonnes of coarse grade stone, quarried locally, to bring the track surface above the level of the wood then finished with a finer grade durable stone which was rolled in. This winter it proved it’s worth and visitors now keep to the track rather find a less muddy path in the wood. This year I will be looking to extend the track improvement by resurfacing a similar distance but following the old Robbers Road which again suffers from similar issues.
Please enjoy the woods thank you.
Area ranger, Haresfield Estate