We are lucky, in that just five or six minutes walk from home, we have a small area of woodland to visit.

And – having a dog – we visit it often.

Almost daily.

According to the Forestry Commission board at the entrance, the woods are classified as “Ancient Woodland” and are estimated to be about 800 years old.

Saber loves it in there: as far as she is concerned, these are HER woods and she runs around like she owns the place, chasing squirrels and the occasional Muntjac Deer which, I hasten to add, she never gets close to catching, as they quickly disappear into the undergrowth.

And we’ll often meet other walkers and dog owners in there and after a while, we all get to know each other.

But, by far, I prefer it when we don’t meet anyone else: early mornings or late evenings just before the the sun sets, is best.  It’s perfectly quiet as we walk along the multiple tracks that traverse the woods and sometimes I find myself wondering about those who have walked here before… not like yesterday or last week, but hundreds of years ago: Elizabethan; Georgian; Jacobean.

Are our footsteps treading the same paths, I wonder?

At certain times of the year, a low mist or fog will hover over the ground early in the mornings, mixing with the long shadows cast by the trees and just making the place feel even more wondrous.

And at this time of the year, the bluebells come out, adding some extra pizzazz to the greens and browns that colour this particular piece of countryside. I took the above picture yesterday, and tonight I converted it to black & white and then colour popped the bluebells. All a bit rushed, but you get the idea of what I was trying to do.


  1. Alan


    • Masher


  2. Frances

    What a nice post….almost poetic ! I shall shortly be off on our morning dog walk, to ” The Oval”.. here in Harpenden.( Otherwise known as YWAM ..Youth with a Mission) It is next to Spire hospital. There is a large bluebell wood, which is beautiful at the moment and a big field next to it, so 2 different types of area for the dogs to explore. The only downside is that the main railway line runs alongside the field, so it’s a bit noisy ! I love meeting the regular dog walkers every morning…….I even now know most of their names as well as the dogs’ names !! (Rather than Buster’s Daddy, or Alf’s Mum !)

    • Masher

      The problem with bluebells is that they don’t last very long: a couple more weeks and they’ll be gone.

  3. Dave

    Who d’ya think you are? David Bailey? As an advert had it many years ago. I think it was for Kodak Instamatic cameras although it could equally be for Vesta Curry Chow Mein, who knows.
    Do they have Geocaches in there? Do you guard them?

    • Masher

      If I had an OM10, maybe. That’s what I remember him advertising.

      Yes, there is one cache in there, which I did many moons ago.
      And I do occasionally check on it to make sure it’s OK.

      • Dave

        OM10! Yes, that’s the Johnny. It’s so much easier for you to remember these things as you are so much younger.

    • Alan

      Who’s she?

  4. Toffeeapple

    A very thoughtful and introspective post and the picture is rather splendid too – I like the way you have done that.

    • Masher

      Thank you, TA.

  5. Rajesh

    Nice thoughts Mark! and the pic is great.

    • Masher

      Cheers Rajesh.

  6. Brennig

    Robyn loves our routine walk in the mornings. And similar to Saber, Robyn’s walk actually belongs to Robyn. She chases off birds (we don’t meet anyone else, it’s a 3-mile circuit of woods/farmland that we do at 5.30am) and even eyes up cars a mile away. I don’t have such romantic thoughts as you. I just enjoy the quiet isolation, and love that Robyn stays so close to me off the lead

    • Masher

      It’s what owning a dog is all about!

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