Roots, in a way not normally seen; a reminder of how the mysterious life of trees goes on as much underground as above

Beech Tree at the far end of the wood, at the path between High Utley and Spring Gardens Lane

My walk around the perimeter of Cliffe Castle Park has been going through a dormant phase for the last few months. It’s not that I haven’t been walking, but my walks gave been shorter and less frequent – but since this project started with the relaxed intention of letting it take its own time, I haven’t felt the need to push myself and it may be just as well to have paused where I did, in Moorside Wood, because winter is a quiet time. It’s a time of rest.

The most beautiful of seasons in this place is yet to come – we’re still waiting for the arrival of bluebells and the first bright greening of new leaves, when the sky is still visible through the canopy. In the meantime, we have daffodils, and moss, (there’s always moss) and some of the most beautiful fungus I’ve ever seen.

The photos below were taken at different times of the year, and mostly in the long strip of woodland along the back of the sports fields of UAK school. Until recently I thought all this area was Moorside Wood, but this section which was planted much more recently is actually called Steepfield Wood, (it’s not hard to see why). There are two paths here, so you can walk away from the Castle towards Utley on what’s grandly called King George VI Avenue (planted with cherry trees in 1953, now mostly gone) and then at the far end you can double back and return on the upper path which is narrow and much less obvious, and make your way back slowly through the trees.

Stone commemorating the planting (with cherry trees) of King George VI Avenue

Early daffodils at the edge of the path

Fallen tree above the upper path in Steepfield Wood

Large trees that fall here lie at rest and undisturbed

Fungus on a fallen tree trunk in Steepfield Wood

These woods have eyes…

Moss covered drystone wall

The way out of the woods is just as interesting……so that’s for the next bit of the walk. With more hours of daylight there’s more opportunity to explore (in between gusts of wind and showers of sleet hail and snow, like today). Every day something new.