The coming of spring has been rather abrupt in England this year. A little over a week ago there was still widespread frosts all over the country and the temperature was hovering around 5 degrees. All of a sudden last week the sun came out and we’ve been getting temperatures of 15-20 degrees which is very unseasonal for this time of year.
Even more strange was the continuation of the balmy weather into the weekend and Saturday turned out to be a sunny and warm day with light blue skies and the odd lonely cloud. We spent the early morning doing such things as reading the paper while eating fresh bread from the bakery down the road (myself) or talking to parents on the phone (Keryn). A few chores were completed and then we made our way outside to have our first walk around Brentwood.
We headed up Warley Hill and wandered down a side street to find an old cemetery with a resident and run down looking chapel. It looked like something out of an old horror movie right down to the circling crow. This was also the site of the Brentwood Museum but the building was all shut up so we didn’t go past the gate and just went back to the main road.
After a while we turned left and wandered down Woodman Road. We explored a couple of side streets and marvelled at the corner sections that actually had grass out front and looked more like an older NZ house than a UK one. We turned off Woodman Road and entered another cemetery, this one much more modern and tidy.
We wandered through quickly and came out the other side next to a school and some playing fields. After consulting the map once again we headed over the fields towards the woods on the other side. The wood, once we reached it, was rather depressing for us Kiwis used to the NZ bush. There was no undergrowth to speak of and the trees were all rather spindly and mostly bare of leaves; to be expected perhaps at the end of winter but everything tended to look a bit lifeless. The wood was quite dirty as well, litter everywhere, and the path itself was muddy and uneven due to what looked like motorbike passage during the wetter months.
The ground was covered in dead leaves and underneath many trees were opened nut casings. Rather unsurprisingly there were a lot of squirrels darting around the trees and woodland floor. We walked though the wood taking random paths and before to long we came to a road. At the road was a sign telling us that we had just walked through the Donkey Lane Plantation.
Leaving the Donkey Lane Plantation.
Crossing the road we entered the Hartswood and the environment felt somewhat more alive on this side. There were more birds flying around and the wood just looked healthier. This may have been due to the signs saying no motorbikes. Heading north we followed the path and the slowly increasing noise of children playing and came out of the wood near a children’s playground. Families were out in force and kids were having a great time if the decibel level was any indication.
Old leaves in the Hartswood.
We didn’t stop and wandered through the park and back onto Hartswood Road still heading in a mostly north direction. We crossed the Brentwood to Shenfield train line and took the first left onto a private road. The houses and sections along this road were very big. We passed one large house on a hill that had some extensive earthworks taking place that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a inner city construction site, someone obviously has a lot of money. The road turned into a dirt track at this point and turned back towards home.
We passed a barrier in the track and came out next to another large house that was situated above a very tranquil looking private lake. After admiring the view we then headed down the street in the direction of the Brentwood Station. There wasn’t much more that was interesting to see on the way and before to long we were back at home.