It was early on a Sunday morning when I parked up my van and threw my pack across my shoulders for a short walk through Tile Wood, only a few miles from where I live. I had planned to just wander around this small woodland for an hour or so and then return home for a fry-up, but instead I ended up walking through Tile Wood followed by a quick explore of Little Havens Nature Reserve and then crossing a road and roaming around Valerie Wells Wood. It was a cracking early mornings bimble which I would highly recommend to anyone who likes a mix of open ground and woodland to explore.

Parking opposite the entrance to Tile Wood I set off along the pathway thats takes you to the right and followed that until a kind of crossroads, where one track takes you back to where you started ad the other takes you along some nice open fields before turning left and through some more woodland. The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue when I walked out from beneath the cover of the trees, with the field in front of me glowing in sunshine. This small field is surrounded by trees and when I have visited here before have always seen a Kestrel hovering somewhere with the area, so I leant on the wooden style there and waited to see if I was lucky enough to spot one this time too. It was not too long a wait before my favourite bird of prey came slowly drifting across the field from my left before stopping and hovering right in from of me for a while, no more than 20 yards away, as if to say ‘I,m here now, take a good look’ before it slowly drifted of further away down the field. I tried to take a few photos of this lovely bird of prey but unfortunately the pictures did not turn out very good, so I carried on along the track past the field and into some more woodlands.

Now I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but when I go off on a ‘walkabout’ I don’t just walk, I stop explore anything, and everything, that catches my eye along the way, whether it be an odd shaped tree, an overgrown pathway, a patch of mushrooms or even an animal hole. I love doing this and always have, much to my parents annoyance as I regularly wandered off whilst ‘following my nose’ on a new little adventure, and on this walk there was a lot to explore along the way. The woodlands are managed by the ESSEX WILDLIFE TRUST to a very high standard with lots of small ‘features’ along the pathways to keep visitors interested as well some seating areas dotted here and there where one can relax and take in the surrounding scenery and wildlife, and I regularly sit for a few minutes in these areas to soak up the woodland aura.

Soon I was walking across some fields bathing in the warmth of the sun beneath the clear blue skies and watched as a couple of magpies flitted along the hedgerow in front of me. I do like seeing magpies out in the countryside as they are such an attractive bird, I am just not too keen on them when they gate crash my garden and scare away the few song birds that I have managed to entice there. I also caught a fleeting glimpse of a circling buzzard high above the woodland that I had just walked through, these are another favourite of mine, in fact I managed to record a pair circling above me, a couple of years ago, whilst I was fishing at Alton Water and if you click on this LINK it will take you to my Youtube channel and you will be able to view what I recorded, make sure you turn up the sound to hear them calling to each other. It did not take too long to reach Daws Heath Road where I had to cross to gain access to the next woodland I wanted to explore. By the way Little Havens Nature Reserve is a nice place to visit but on this occasion I did not give it the time I should off so I will return soon and have a proper roam around.

Crossing the road and through the entrance of Valarie Wells Wood I was taken aback by how dense this woodland seems to be, quite different from the previous woods I had just walked through. Following the path to the right I soon stumbled across some tree stumps that had be carved into the shape of woodland animals, mushrooms and a large acorn, WOODLAND ART I think they call this sort of thing and I have seen a fair amount of it over the past few years cropping up in my local wooded areas, not my kind of thing but I appreciate it. Further along the path and the woodland floor foliage thinned out considerably so you can see a lot further ahead which helped me spot a couple of rabbits along a fence line and what I think was a fox disappearing in the distance. Soon I crossed a wooden bridge over a tiny stream, I think there is a couple of streams running through this woodland, before crossing a larger bridge, oddly called WOMBAT BRIDGE ??, further along the trail.

The path I was walking took me on a big loop through Valerie Wells Wood and returned me back to its entrance at the road mentioned earlier. Again I did not spend a lot of time exploring this woodland as the temperature was rising considerably, if I remember correctly it hit upper twenties that day, and I wanted to get back for my fry-up as well as having household chores to do that afternoon. I did thoroughly enjoy my time spent there and I will definitely be returning to explore it properly as there is a few more pathways that run through the centre of the woodland that need my attention.

Retracing my steps, kind of as I did take a slightly different route back, it was not too long before I was bag in my van with the air-con running cooling me down as it was most certainly a warm, sweaty early mornings ramble. I recorded the route on my KOMOOT app so if you would like to follow the exact route I took then click the link HERE.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my little ramble, I regularly post here about my exploration into our wonderful countryside so check back soon to see what I have been upto lately…………..

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