We live on the edge of a forest which covers the slopes leading up to the North Yorkshire Moors. From taking it easy on sedate, flat trailways, with play areas and organised woodland activities, to exhilarating cycle paths which sidewind down near vertical drops for the more derring-do. Guisborough forest provides for all. And there’s a café to refuel too, whichever end of the spectrum you may be in.
Me? I am a walker. There are an abundance of pathways to choose from. Whether you decide to take designated routes or go freestyling, formulating your own as you go along. So which do I choose? Well, the latter more often than not! For me there is such freedom. I’ll take a left turn here, when the arrow says right.
Or go up sharply (when I really shouldn’t!) and negotiate those “forbidden for walker” cycle paths, if I so dare. Here a beautiful spontaneity presides, away from the constraints of daily routine.
I have also discovered OS Maps on my phone. A new toy, where I can now map my walks, and name them to boot! One of my favourites is “Walking the Glitch” as so named by our 10 year old adventurer. Shortly after entering these woods, a sudden turn right takes you up a gradual incline behind a woodland cottage. In springtime this bridleway is gloriously sandwiched between a sea of white ramsons, which are interwoven with bluebell’s cobalt and campion’s pink.
Presently, we reach the top and sharp left taken, we enter “The Glitch”. The Glitch is the edge of the world. It is a fitting title. For here we walk between the steep sided edge of the forest, congested with pine and yew to one side. And to the other, where the treeline stops, is the horizon. A space. The final frontier?
In reality a field of crop, but in our minds? Well, who knows what. Another world? Dimension? Yes, a mysterious void leading to a parallel universe.
Large oaks border this edge of all places, where roots search their way down, creeping deeply into the forests safe arms. And on the forest floor, their gnarly fingers point us forwards and show us the way.
We pass nobbly kneed giants,
who silently stand high as the sky, keeping watch over us and even allowing love to be declared forever.
As if from nowhere, a seat appears. The perfect time and place to stop. For contemplation. Reflection. Soul searching.
Or just to admire this view. A view of a Highcliff in the distance. “That’s one for another day” my loyal friend says. Yes it really is as lovely as this.
As we continue, from here on foxglove markers guide us, under a beech umbrella of another sort.
Gradually, the pathway will veer away from this mystical edge of things, and back into civilization’s reality.
Reaching the forestry commissions wide tracks is a reminder of the real world again and eases us gently back to the place where we belong. This ‘warm down’ enables smooth transition in mind and I for one always feel refreshed by the time I cross home’s welcoming threshold.
Here’s to those places of solace where peace is found. Keep enjoying yours.