As it seems that the long hot summer is well and truly over and many of us in the UK have now experienced two weeks of dull, grey and often rainy weather, my Monday walk this week brings back the blue sky and sunshine from the end of June. After my walk round the hamlet of Firwood Fold back in March – the first time I’d ever been there in spite of it being less than two miles from home – I was impressed enough to want to go back during the summer months, and since March I’d found out about a lake which was ‘hidden’ round the back of the place so the day after my Rivington ramble the dogs and I made a return visit to Firwood Fold.
Back in March I’d noticed that several of the cottages had rather bare-looking window boxes outside which presumably would be filled with flowers during the summer months, however if I’d been hoping to see the place full of pretty colour I was destined to be disappointed. Apart from the greenery of the surrounding trees and various shrubs there was very little colour anywhere, although with it being the football World Cup season two of the cottages had their front walls ‘defaced’ by two huge England flags hanging from the upstairs windows – certainly not something I wanted to take a photo of.
At the bottom end of the hamlet was a tarmac lane, the only way into Firwood Fold for vehicles – turning left just led to a dead end and some garages but just before the dead end a footpath on the right took me through the trees and down to the lake hidden behind the hamlet, although there was no signpost or anything to say it was there. The lake, known as The Bunk, had actually once been the reservoir belonging to Firwood Bleach Works which was established in 1803, but with the bleach works long since gone the lake and its surrounding area has been left to thrive and support a good diversity of plant species and wildlife.
The lake wasn’t all that big so it didn’t take long to walk all the way round it, then back at the bottom of Firwood Fold I took a path off the left of the tarmac lane and down a dirt track where a right turn took me to a couple of fishing lakes which I’d been to back in March. Both lakes seemed to have a lot of yellow-green weed floating on the surface of the water but there was quite a lot of wildlife around with plenty of ducks, geese and coots, and a family of swans with three young gygnets which came gliding up to say hello. The parents weren’t impressed with the dogs though and they did quite a lot of hissing to warn us off.
Retracing my steps back towards the hamlet, and just out of curiosity, I took another path which led me across a bridge over the nearby Bradshaw Brook and onto the end of an open field. At the far end the land went up a slope so I decided to see what was up there – it was another big field with trees on each side so with my curiosity growing with each step I walked on and came to another field. In the distance I could see yet another field and behind the tree lines were even more fields, one with grass mown so well that it looked more like a golf course than an open field, and with no fences or boundaries anywhere one open space just led into the next. This place was both beautiful and amazing – and to think I’ve lived in this town all my life and never knew it was there!
My good sense of direction gave me a fair idea of where I would end up if I continued walking straight on, which would be a good distance from where I’d left the van, so reluctantly I turned and headed back towards Firwood Fold. Those were to be my last shots of the walk, which had turned out to be more surprising and interesting than I’d expected, and I headed back towards home having made the decision that sooner or later I would return to that area to do some further exploration.
Linking up with Jo’s Monday walk which this week takes in some wonderful views over the North York Moors – the photos really make me want to go there but it’s raining again so I’ll settle for a brew and a good read over breakfast instead.