We were pleased to welcome a visitor last Thursday who joined 8 Probus walkers on a dry but grey day for our walk over the Downs. Given the time of day, we had hoped to see some racehorses being exercised, but had to settle for the thud of their hooves as we entered the wood in the valley. Soon we arrived at the entrance to Centenary Wood, as indicated by the “Woodland Trust” notice board in Sheep Walk.
We were able to follow a well-defined path around the wood, although this is not the route envisaged by the final plan. It was clear that planting was well under way and some of the young trees were becoming well established. We were surprised by the extent to which the various compartments had been fenced; presumably this is to limit the scope of grazing when animals are introduced eventually to graze the remaining open areas.
Our route took us past several memorial seats, two of which showed intricate carving to represent scenes from WW1.
There was a WW1 gas-training area which apparently was, until recently, marked by a flag-pole. This is now concealed in a chunk of black pipe which was lying by the side of the path in Round Wood, placed there to prevent it from theft.
As we traversed the higher sections of the route, we had good views back over the Downs and towards the Grandstand, which gave a panorama not generally seen before. We returned across the Downs along more familiar paths to our start point, after which some of us went to the Rubbing House to finish off the day.
For more information go to: Woodland Trust then follow the links as follows: “where we work”-“visiting woods”-“find a wood near you”-“Langley Vale Wood” . Also of interest is the planning application that is currently with EEBC. Much of the detail is a bit tedious but shows the amount of planning that must go into promoting this type of enterprise (it does not include the environmental management plan which is another hefty doc.). Go to the EEBC website, click the “simple search” button, and then type in the planning ref. 17/01450/Ful
We are always happy to welcome additional walkers, and if these are visitors, and therefore potential new members, so much the better. Watch the website for future walks.