The week before last I fancied a nice early morning walk with somewhere that I could also take a nice break and make myself some breakfast. Now I have done this a few times before on the banks of the River Crouch in a few different locations, and I have cooked something to eat in quite a few different places over the years but as yet I had not enjoyed breakfast in a dense woodland. So thats what I wanted to do on this Sunday morning, have a nice bimble in some pretty countryside and then scoff some scran in a woodland, but where was the question rattling around in my head.
After coming up with a few destinations I opted on visiting a woodland that I know off that is located on the outskirts of Ramsden Heath. I had a quick visit to this woodland, and others that I will write about soon, a month or so back and thought that it was definitely worth further exploration.
After a pleasant 2.5 mile stroll along a couple of tracks that run through some farmers fields followed by a couple of small wooded areas, I arrived at my chosen woodland. I had a good explore around the woodland finding out that it was actually considerably larger than I had previously thought. There was also a track that run through it so I made sure that I was nowhere near that and stumbled off into the thickest part of the woods. After 5 minutes or so I came across an area which had a lot of windfall trees scattered around but with a nice small clearing next to a large fallen tree. Quickly I took my rucksack off, set up the Jetboil and proceeded to boil some water to make a coffee. Once the coffee was made my mind turned to food and in my pack I had a nice cheese sandwich made out of sour dough bread and a lovely Gouda cheese. I had also packed a tin of bacon grill as I remember when I was younger that I used to love this stuff cooked when out fishing with Dad. The chunk of processed met was eventually prized out of its tin before I cut it into slices and chucked it in the frying pan to cook. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of processed foods, especially this kind of processed, and I use this term lightly, ‘meat’ but I was looking forward to eating this just for the memories of when I was younger. Well I fried the slices until they were crispy and put a few in my sandwich and proceeded to eat the rest straight from the pan. It did not taste anything like I remember, not unpleasant but nothing like any bacon I have ever eaten, so I reckon I will be sticking to my butchers grade smoked bacon in the future.
Once breakfast had been devoured I had another little explore around the area of woodland that I settled in. It was quite heavy with undergrowth as well as a lot of fallen trees so I went back to base and made another coffee. Now a while ago I had bought myself a cheap camping hammock and today I had packed it in my rucksack in case I fancied setting it up for the first time, and I did fancy it. After quarter of an hour or so getting to terms with how to string it up between a couple of trees I was now ready to kick of my boots and settle back into the thing for the first time. It took me a couple of attempt to get in it and get myself comfy but once I did it was fantastic. I lay there for at least 4 hours, listening to the twitty birds singing from the trees overhead and slowly falling asleep whilst doing so. Eventually I woke myself up with a loud grunting snore type noise which initially made me think a bear was close before I realised it was just me. I lay there for another 15 minutes before finally swinging my legs out and putting my boots on before making another coffee. I drunk my coffee as I packed the hammock away along with everything else before chucking my pack on my back and stumbling out of the woodland onto the track that would take me back to my van a couple of miles away. As I stepped out of the woods a couple of ramblers walked past me and it had me thinking about how many other people had walked past this woods whenI was asleep, possibly snoring loudly, and if I did snore could they hear me and what would they think was making all that noise, an Essex Grizzly Bear maybe…..
The walk back to my van was lovely as the sun had come out but there was a nice breeze which cooled me down as I stumbled along the pathway. I picked a good pouch full of Blackberries along the way, which I later turned into syrup to pour over my porridge or yoghurt, which resulted in me having purple fingers and scratched arms when I eventually got back to my van. I was tempted to pick some Rosehips as well as there was a lot of them along the route but I chose not too this time, I,ll gather some another day. I also stumbled across the one and only Chicken Of The Woods mushroom that I have found, but unfortunately it was an old specimen growing on the end of a fallen tree stump.