Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Salcey Forest Circular

Salcey Forest Circular

Distance - 10.2 Km - 6.35miles
Time Taken - 2hrs 10mins
Assent - 74m

Salcey Forest is a former hunting forest in the South of Northamptonshire near Newport Pagnell and was today's destination.  I had been on a short course at work till 2 but had a free afternoon for a wander.  There wasn't enough time for anything too long so the 6 miles of the 'Woodpecker' walk in Salcey forest seemed to fit the bill.  Also after such a dry March we had recently had some rain so I figured the ground would be better underfoot in a forest.

That theory was correct for about 5/6's of the walk...

The forest.
A forest walk gives a different feel to a walk in open countryside or the hills, there are no views or open long skies.  They do however feel more 'wild' than wandering round the arable fields of the home counties.  Near a nice cafe and car park the forest was anything but quiet, with wild kids and families enjoying the freedom of the holidays and the open forest.  However after about a mile I saw few people, the nice lady carving her and her kids name into a tree were the last people I saw for about an hour.

One problem with Salcey forest is that it's impossible to 'get away' from it even if you are on your own.  The forest is permeated constantly by the noise from the nearby M1.  Even at the far side of the walk it was never quiet.  The bird song was constantly fighting an unwinnable war against the lorries and salesmen flying along the motorway.

Another problem with Salcey Forest was that it didn't feel very 'foresty', more like a number of local woods who happen to sit next to each other.  I think of forests as dark, big, high tree tops yet with this forest being heavily coppiced it never felt 'big' or dark or enclosing.  Maybe I just have the wrong idea of a forest?

Mud glorious mud...
On the whole the walk is well signposted and was mostly on good tracks.  Where the newer tracks led through the trees the ground was damp but easy going.  The problems were on the older tracks (mainly following forestry lanes).  Like most areas round here the ground is clay based so has 2 usual states, rock hard or muddy.  About a mile was along muddy tracks with slippery claggy clingy mud.  Never deep (only an inch or 2 before solid ground) it was slippy leading to a short stride and a cadence of slip, plod, slurp, plod, slip.  It was just annoying.

On the whole it's a nice walk, really!  Just not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

1 comment:

  1. Forests can be a bit like that! I do enjoy a woodland walk, but I try to make sure they are only part of the route, so at least we get some views.

    And the mud, as you say, can be a right pain - coz once it's wet, there's less sunshine and wind to dry out the ground!