While rambling through Howell Woods yesterday I mused on how trees are natures factories. This time of year they are beginning their annual processes spurting forth green shoots in preparation for the busy summer months of photosynthesising. Then in October/November they begin cut backs and shed jobs (leaves) before becoming derelict and barren in the dark winter months.
I also mused on the number of very happy squirrels lolloping about in the undergrowth. They seemed so peaceful and happy, probably because they are mostly left undisturbed by man. My detective skills got a touch of virtual WD40 too as I noticed little tell tale signs of badgers. Such a lovely woods. So peaceful.
The woods come under the control of Doncaster Council. Doncaster Council are notorious for being lazy money embezzelling wasters, apparent from the poor state of the signage littered about the woods. Most of this signage looks like it last saw glory days in the early 90’s. The faded and vandalised information posts detail local historical facts. I was unaware that South Kirkby has an iron age hill fort. I knew that Brierley has a stone circle of sorts. It seems this region of South Yorkshire is a veritable mine of ancient historical monuments. Now mostly crumbling away. Uncared for by the governing council bodies and forgotten about by the locals. A shame really.
The only indication that the woods were there was a tiny little damaged brown sign on Common Road gesturing that I cut across fields rather than take the purpose built access road. Potholes and tractor damaged hedges illustrate the need for more money and affection from governing bodies. Indeed the car park had seen better days too. Resembling a litter strewn crater, the car park is obviously a favourite night time haunt of local youths complete with burnt remnants (possibly of vehicles) and broken glass.
Sawn and naturally fallen trees indicated that some forestry had gone on at some point. Though it was possible that the sawn trees were just kids messing about with stolen chainsaws. Furthermore, there was indication that the area is used for other purposes. Yesterday’s picture showed the “Archery Area” warning, but I also witnessed signs telling the casual visitor that the discharging of firearms was forbidden. Probably ignored judging by the tell tale dimples in the sad and sorry metallic sign. Likewise, the sign forbidding the use of off road motorcycles was similarly ignored by the helmetless youth who noisily sped past it bound for his one day fatal date with a head on collision.
But beyond the shabbiness the woods were tranquil. The woods were haunting. The woods teemed with wildlife and promise of better days. Maybe this is the wood’s winter. It certainly looks like it once had a burgeoning spring and a busy summer visitor wise. But I hope it survives it’s current winter of mismanagement.