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Woodland Edge

May is a beautiful time to walk the newest long distance trail in England!

May Blossom Large

I finally finished walking the trail last weekend. As Media Relations Officer I like to know what I’m talking about and I wanted to get a feel for the trail as a whole.

I covered the first two sections the weekend before Christmas, and have walked it on and off as we came out of winter and into the spring.  As so much of the trail is framed by – and goes through – woodland, it’s worth choosing a time when the trees and woodland are looking their best.  The lush green growth and spring flowers are fantastic at the moment, but you can still see through the trees, you still get the feel for their skeletal grandeur under the foliage.

Some of my favourite moments have been the skylarks beside the main railway line parallel to the A38, the bluebells at Burroughs Wood, the new tree planting at Grange Wood outside Netherseal – the sweep of the tree tubes, young trees and post and rail fencing could almost be a work of art.

The Way has introduced me to a number of old characterful trees: I met a fine beech tree in Battlestead Wood and old oaks north of Ashby. There is a moment when you step out of woodland between Newtown Linford and Groby and the most beautiful little valley is spread before you, edged with magnificent old trees.

The bird life has been a joy: skylarks, longtail tits, yellowhammers, goldfinches, wrens, song thrush and of course, robins and blackbirds. I’ve seen kestrel from afar and heard woodpecker – and my first cuckoo for years! Will someone please tell me if they see a hare out on the Way?  I don’t need to know where, just that they’re out there somewhere.

Thank you so much for registering your interest in the National Forest Way.  Launch date is Saturday; our new leaflet on the Way is posted at already, so do take a look at that.  The new website with more information should be up and running on the day (17 May) when you can download the route directions for each of the twelve stages, for whichever direction you wish to walk it.

Let us know on Facebook The National Forest and Twitter @NatForestCo #nationalforestway when you’re out there waking the trail. We’d love to see your pictures. Enjoy your walking!

Thanks for reading.