In my previous post I mentioned that I had been exploring a couple of woodlands not far from Hanningfield Reservoir, well Hawkswood Wood is the 2nd one that I explored on that day. Now I don’t really know the exact name of this small woodland as I can not find its name on a map or online so I have decided to call it after the road that runs along one side of it Hawkswood road. When I was in my teens I used to ride my bike, a Peugout Premier 10 speed street racing bike that was my pride and joy for many years, around the roads of Downham, Hanningfield, Stock and Ramsden Bellhouse early on a Sunday morning before the rest of the world was awake, safer really as some the roads are very narrow with blind corners. I regularly used to ride past Hawkswood and if memory serves there used to be a small track leading from a nearby layby to a bird hide overlooking part of Hanningfield Reservoir and it was this track that I was looking for on this days exploration. The actual track was looking for is long gone now but there was a public footpath sign 50 yards along the road to where I had parked my van so i chucked on my rucksack and wandered along the roadside and into the signposted woodland.

Walking through the entrance to this little woodland was truly a shock as it was so dense inside with trees creating a lovely shaded canopy above and plenty of woodland floor plants happily growing beneath. I instantly loved the place before even taking 10 steps inside and when I turned a couple of bends in the track and was greeted by a big expanse of waste high Male Ferns, I think they were ferns rather than Bracken, I loved it even more. Walking a little further and I spotted a big patch of Foxgloves happily growing in the sunny cap between the trees, some of these were nearly 6 foot tall and were covered in bright Pink flower spikes.

I veered of the pathway to look closer at the Foxgloves and noticed another slight track, possibly an animal track, running of at a right angle to the main route so I followed that a little and it soon opened out into a lovely open area beneath the trees which was close to the perimeter of the woodland and you could see a lovely field, and blue skies, past the barbed wire boundary. Unfortunately I also found that this cleared area had been recently used by someone and they had left lots of food wrappers and beer cans littered around, I hate seeing rubbish being discarded in our beautiful countryside there is just no need for it, so I spent a few minutes picking these up and putting them in my rucksack so that I could dispose of them later. This rubbish put me on a bit of a ‘downer’ for this little area as I was going to sit on a nice fallen tree there for a while but just didn’t ‘feel it’ after spotting all that rubbish, so I about turned and headed back to the main pathway. Also, on my way back to the track I noticed that in some areas the woodland floor was littered with plastic tree guards which, in places, looked like someone had collected them in various piles a while ago but did nothing more with them. Now I know these plastic tubes are used to protect the trees as they grow but there must be a better, more bio-degradable option out there nowadays, surely.

Back at the main pathway I continued across a small bridge which spans a small stream which runs into the reservoir, which by the way is only a few hundred yards away form where the pathway is but unfortunately is fenced off with signs saying no access, and soon I was out onto the edge of a huge field where the pathway runs along. Checking on my Komoot map app this pathway goes through to Stock and looks as though a nice loop walk could be made with a bit of forward planning. I walked along the edge of this field for a while marvelling at the beautiful cloud formations in the bright blue skies, and scaring off a bunny wabbit or two along the way. Soon the path crossed another small bridge and entered another field and I followed this for a little way before about turning and heading back to my van as I needed to be home pretty soon.

In all the walk I took was only 1.5 miles but it truly was a beautiful time spent in a gorgeous little piece of woodland surrounded by lovely farmland bathing in the warmth of the summer sun. I will definitely be returning but I think I will plot a nice loop walk to include the reservoir as well, I will post it here when I do it. I recorded the walk on my KOMOOT APP so if you would like to see the exact route I took then click the link HERE.

Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Check in every weeks as I regularly post anything that interest me about our glorious countryside………..

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