My workshop with Friends of Brincliffe Edge Wood is coming up on May 14th and I thought I’d write a little bit about why I’m so interested in these woods, and why I’m looking forward to writing there in a few week’s time.
Brincliffe Edge Wood is a short (steep) distance from where I live and is my preferred choice for a short walk to break up the day at weekends or when I’m working at home. There’s a great view from the top, especially useful on fireworks night as you can see lots of firework displays from afar, between the trees.
For such a small patch of land it has quite a mixed history of use – it has been a quarry, used to graze livestock, has been allotments (part of it is still allotments) and another part has been the garden of a large house. Remnants of all these things are scattered all over the wood – old ornamental laurels from the garden and two privet hedges that have been left for years and grown themselves almost into an arch are some favourites of mine.
There is a lot of wildlife here too. My favourites have to be the tawny owls which you can hear calling on Spring nights. Although you hear them often it’s quite rare to see one, especially in summer when the trees are leafy. One night my partner Will and I went for a walk as it was getting dusk and happened to see one facing away from us on a low branch…and then it heard us and swivelled its head, looking at us like an angry librarian. I expect they’ll all be snoozing during the workshop but we’ll know they are there.
Meeting with FOBEW has been brilliant – they are a dedicated team who get together on regular Wednesday sessions to keep improving the wood. They’ve done a great job so far but they say there’s always more to do. They’ve also let me borrow their history file which is full of fascinating old maps of the area. From looking at these maps I’ve learned that the name Brincliffe has lost a ‘k’ – Brink cliff edge is a very suitable name for such a steep drop in the land! And that the duckpond outside the flats where I live has been there for a lot longer than there have been houses here, and so must be filled by a natural water-course. And that the hospital on Union Road used to be a workhouse.
This map is one from the file – it includes the name of all the fields nearby. Relics of these names still show up around the place, particularly the Broadfield, my favourite local pie-eating establishment.
If all this has interested you, I’d love to see you at my workshop on Saturday May 14th. We’ll explore all these ideas and more with time to write and explore the woods. The workshop runs from 10am-1pm and costs £10. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place!