WORCESTER WOODS - Not Far From The Madding Crowd
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
(Nearest post code - WR5 1RU)
Visited by Zak and Shep
It was a bright, sunny but cold day in December when Julie decided to take us for a walk in Worcester Woods Country Park.
Although it was quite early in the day, there were so many people and dogs enjoying the woods - dogs of all shapes, sizes, speed and energies and owners with similar dispositions. There were also students making their way to the Sixth Form College and to Nunnery Wood High School. Numerous runners also whizzed past us because this is the location of one of Worcester’s park runs which sadly are not happening because of Covid.
The Country Park is certainly a magnet to a vast assemblage of people. It is a haven of greenery surrounded by human infrastructure – school, hospital, college , countryside centre and county hall and today the county hall car park was particularly busy with large white tents providing Covid 19 testing.
But in spite of all of this human activity, the woodlands themselves bustled with life. At this time of the year many of the trees have already lost their leaves and there were carpets of brown, soft, damp leaves on the ground. The bare tree trunks themselves were draped in curtains of bright green ivy, honeysuckle and holly. High above us, some of the oaks waved copper-coloured leaves at a clear blue sky and blackbirds, thrushes and robins sang heartily in the scrubby vegetation whilst doves cooed contentedly.
Despite the clamour of human activity, of traffic rumbling by and machinery clanking mechanically, the woodland was a place of peace and calm.
Shep and I sniffed our way around the woodland reading the newspapers as we walked and greeting all of our canine friends. Today the path was muddy to our paws and uncharacteristically Shep resisted the chance to jump in the sludgy ditches weaving their way through the wood.
Like many green spaces tucked into towns and cities, Worcester Woods has a history.
The woodland is semi-natural – and there have been records of trees growing here for several hundred years. One of the oak trees on the edge of the wood is over 550 years old.
All of this area was farmed during medieval times and, if you look very carefully at the meadow on the other side of the countryside centre , you can see the tell-tale ripples of ridge and furrow. Sadly, the advent of the Black Death in the fourteenth century decimated the local population and with no one left to tend the land, it fell into disuse.
Today the Woods and meadows are owned and managed by Worcestershire County Council who look after them both for the benefit of the wildlife and for the enjoyment of humans and us dogs.
With so many humans visiting Worcester Woods it is so important that our humans clean up after us and there are lots of dog bins about reminding our owners to do just that.
We also need to be aware of the wildlife that live here. Chasing around the woods certainly during bird nesting time would not be a very good idea.
Today the birds kept well out of our way and the squirrels jumped nonchalantly from branch to branch above our heads, totally unperturbed by the flurry of activity below.
When we got back to the car, the car park was already full of cars. Milling around the car park were big humans, little humans, babies and dogs all preparing for their own adventure at Worcester Woods Country Park.