square E1-E2, the real wood

[click here to see just the photos from square E1-E2]

Today I'm at the only place on my map that is actually acknowledged as a wood; St. Denys Wood. I've been wondering about this, because to me it doesn't look like there are any more trees in this area than others. It's much more likely to be historic, with the rest of the wood being under the houses.

One strange thing is that the trees through here are much straighter and there is less undergrowth which means that I can see much further than in other areas. I've also noticed that there is a lot more human activity around here, largely due to the University Campus off to my left and the houses to my right and behind me. I've just been passed by two dogwalkers in the space of 30 seconds.



There is a fallen tree with charred wood around it. The remains of a fire, and in that the remains of what looks to have been a chair. A couple of standing trees have been stripped of bark and are tagged. There is also a tree proclaiming M's love for N.

I'm looking at a 'men at work' roadsign. It seems odd, this being placed leaning against a tree in a forest, but I can hear drilling coming from behind the fence nearest to me. For a moment I wonder if the roadsign has brought its own soundtrack with it.

A jogger has just run past me. Maybe I'm heading towards an unmarked footpath.


I'm walking to find the upper edge of the wood, see if there is a distinct moment where the wood ends. According to my map it should be half way across my square but I'm not seeing any thinning yet.

It occurs to me that although the wood isn't thinning out, the undergrowth is becoming denser and taller, growing up to meet the tops of the trees. I wonder if this is it. That you know that you're at the edge of a wood not when the trees stop, but when you can't see them anymore.

There's what looks like the site of a previous charity sale here. A collection box. The remains of a table top. I like to think that someone may have held a fundraising sale here, but chances are they were nicked.




I've ended up on the wide grassy path that leads up to meet Cutthorn Mount and I've just realised I've lost my map. Dropped it somewhere in the forest. So I'm trying to make my way back down the paths I followed to get here but I'm discovering just how many there are. I'm really not sure which route I took. I keep walking.

I briefly think about the squirrels picking up my map. A comic claymation movie runs through my head showing how the squirrels have laughed at my notes and then put the map to better use as a plot for hidden nuts. I almost give up, thinking that this would be a better ending to the story of my map.

I find the map on a path I'm sure I didn't walk down.

Found the other edge of the wood. Strangely the trees just stopped. The footpath is busy, but where I have just come from is more alive.
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