I don’t always read my emails. There are so many that the majority reach the bin before they are opened. Then occasionally there is one which I’m glad I took the trouble to look at.
One such the other day was from the Woodland Trust, advertising Hackfall in North Yorkshire. Even better, it is very close to Old Sleningford Farm, where I would be going today to do a spot of blackcurrant picking. In other words, it was a perfect opportunity to visit the woods without driving 50 miles just to do so.
First of all, the workday at Old Sleningford was great. I have actually been once since lockdown, on a very hot day when we were picking gooseberries. Fortunately, today was cool by comparison. And I got to meet a slightly different configuration of volunteers, so I feel I am all caught up now socially.
Another great aspect to the day was my daughter actually joining in, albeit out of self-interest. Rachel, who runs the farm, offered us all as many strawberries as we wanted as long as we picked them for ourselves.
These strawberries were much better than any my garden has produced this year and I would say between us, my daughter and I found about 1kg. Plenty therefore for sorbet as well as eating fresh.
Anyway, once we’d got our strawberries and a few windfall apples from the forest garden, we set off for Hackfall, which is a wood I will definitely visit again. For this was a wood with a difference.
For one thing, we were able to get down to the River Ure at one point.
For another, there were some follies, which provided a new dimension to a woodland walk.
There are also water features but we didn’t explore all the site, so we will have to come back again another time. I can’t believe that I’ve been visiting Old Sleningford for over five years and only now discovered this gem but thank goodness I have!