Friday, 22 November 2013

Wonderful Woods and Scuttling Squirrels

Telegraph Hill and its ancient wood, is a very interesting place at any time of year but it looks amazing in the Autumn. I always try to come for a wander here when the Chestnuts are dropping and believe me, there are plenty of them to drop. 
The landscape is fascinating and the name Telegraph stems from a shutter signalling station that existed here during the Napoleonic Wars. The remains of an historic Armada beacon, is still visible atop the hill (it must have been one hell of a bonfire). Looking even further back into time, the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort can be found, further into the woods. Other craters and holes look as if they could have been formed by bombs, I’m no expert though, just an amateur scrutineer.
I always enjoy a short run around a steep hill fort and the ramparts of the enclosure must have proved a pretty grim obstacle for any enemy. Now though the hillsides are covered by pine trees. The coniferous trees give the place an eerily quiet atmosphere; the dropped needles and lack of light are enough to stifle any growth under the canopy.
Part of the woods though, is given over to Chestnut coppicing. The yellow of the autumnal leaves, with the sunlight glimmering through them, highlights the carpet of spiky husks and shiny mahogany nuts and this is a magical sight to behold.
Unsurprisingly, squirrels abound in this perfect place, as do dog walkers and mountain bike riders. They (the squirrels) scuttle around on the floor, before scampering off to feast on their findings or bury them in some secret spot. While I was there exploring the area, I filled my pockets with the fattest chestnuts I could steal away from the cheeky rodents.

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