After 11 years of walking around here we finally managed to find the Suck Stone and Near Hearkening Rocks! Turns out we’d always turned back too soon because you can’t miss the huge stones tumbled down the hillside. We lacked champagne to celebrate finally NOT getting lost in this part of the forest. We did find a welcoming pub in Staunton though, complete with a real fire and friendly Labradors.
We almost fell over a dead boar on the way into Highmeadow Woods – shame that our first sighting on foot of wild boar was made like this – an impressive animal yet incredibly well camouflaged. Initially I thought it was a boulder! Felt a bit stupid as well as sad when I realised what was right in front of me!
Wonderful views from the Kymin over Monmouth and as far as the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons from the Everard’s Oak.
It’s hard to believe trains ran from Redbrook to Tintern and Dayhouse quarries right up to 1992. It’s such a peaceful part of the world now when once it buzzed with industry. It’s a place where the past has left clues of former occupation but nature has covered over most of the scars.
Probably my favourite section was discovering The Meend: an area of acid community grass/heath that had been abandoned as wasteland but due to conservationists recognising its importance to the environment, has been reclaimed by local volunteers and government agencies. Restoration work began in 2003 and continues. There’s a feeling of Exmoor here and the Exmoor ponies on loan looked very much at home. Very hardy animals, they are out all year and their grazing helps manage the bracken and create a grassland. In time animals, invertebrates and wild flowers will reestablish themselves.
Lovely walk – one to do again…