Castle Combe ~ Woodland Walk

After walking around Castle Combe, Emily and I spent the afternoon walking through the ancient woodlands that surround the village.

Castle Combe is nestled in a hollow (or ‘combe’) surrounded by woods and fields. It was once a hill fort for the Romans, and the one-sided bridge in the photographs above was built by them. The Normans built a castle from which the village takes it’s name, but it is sadly long gone.

The wood is kept healthy by the old art of coppicing. Areas of trees are cut right down to their stumps to allow for new growth which will eventually be harvested for a variety of uses.

There were so many incredible fungi growing in the bark of the old fallen and rotting trunks. The circular process of growth, death and decay and new growth can be seen all at once in this place. It was peaceful and eerie at the same time. We hardly met anyone else as we wandered, just a couple with their dog who were collecting elderberries, plus a few other walkers.

This area will be protected, but it breaks my heart that so many other treasures of our countryside are being dug up and covered with housing estates and bypasses. Many old woods are disappearing. People need houses and roads, but surely we should value old wild places like this too?

And Castle Combe presents this charming scene,
of hill, woods and meadows cloth’d in green.
Here grand terrestrial scenes, almost celestial nice,
makes Castle Combe, sweet vale, an earthy Paradise.

~ Edward Dowling (19th Century)

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