Summer's outrider: to Devil's Cave and Wind Hill Wood

Friday and Saturday were incredible days, real shorts-and-t-shirts weather; beautiful blue skies, and temperatures March will be proud of. On Saturday I went on a walk that took me down Ewden and along the edge of Broomhead Moor to the furthest point I’ve ever been up the Ewden Valley: the shooting lodge at SK 222 956 (check it out, Google Maps-style). It wasn’t challenging to get there – a Landrover track leads to the lodge – but it was pleasingly remote for a shortish walk. On Friday I didn’t stray so far, walking to Wind Hill Wood and the craggy outcropping of millstone grit I know by the name Devil’s Cave. I was annoyed to see that some morons had been littering, but don’t let that negative image tarnish the goodtime spring vibes I hope the following photos (taken Friday) are emitting.

The view NNW over Wind Hill Wood towards Midhope. The woods in the distance are coniferous forestry plantations around Midhope Reservoir

A rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) bud: big and softly, silvery furry. I’ve noticed that rowan twigs tend to be rather thicker than those of our other tree species.

A strikingly wind-swept beech (Fagus sylvatica) near Devil’s Cave… and from below:

One of the bigger blocks of grit making up the Devil’s Cave formation, dappled with lichens, mosses, bilberries, birches, and the shadows of trees.

One of the many tiny birches growing from cracks in the rocks. Their persistent roots pry open the cracks and split apart these vast boulders.

I chanced upon this rusty horseshoe hanging in a young rowan and was concerned that it wouldn’t catch much luck this way up. The beech on the right in the background is interesting in that on it’s other side a huge old wound stretches from the ground to the first branches; the tree is doing a good job of closing the wound with new wood and bark, but it still has a few inches to grow before the two edges meet.

On the return leg of the journey, I made a little detour to see a special birch.

Posted in Gone for a walk

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