I always feel in harmony with nature at Cardinham Woods. Every season brings a change in the scenery. It’s the first time I’ve visited in September, and clumps of feathery heather spikes, their tiny purple bell-like flora gently wavered in the breeze. The evergreen shrubs vibrant sprays are beautiful, and I hadn’t expected to see them growing so richly. The flower has various meanings in different cultures around the globe, but mainly it is believed to bring good fortune. And like others, I’ve been approached by gipsies selling small posies of lucky heather in the past.

The woodlands are set out in colour-coded walks detailed on notices. Forestry England has made it easy to plan experiences outlining the length in kilometres and the type of terrain. The cycle trails look fun, but the Lady Vale purple route was the one for us. Our friends had baby buggies, plus our four-year-old grandson was on foot. Although, in the end, Mr Word Loft carried him on his shoulders for most of the way.

Through the wooded valley, greenery is becoming tinged with autumnal pigments reflecting in the river as it spirals over rocks and under low-hanging foliage. It sounds tranquil as it flows towards Lady Vale Bridge, the perfect place to play Pooh Sticks. Not a game envisaged when the 11th-12th century granite clapper bridge was built as a means of reaching The Chapel of Our Lady, the latter building, sadly lost throughout the years.

Over the bridge, the path carries on uphill, with the river running far below. Views across the valley give a glimpse of the Wheal Glyn Walk where I’ve rambled on a previous occasion taking in sights of the lead and silver mine. Fragrant bluebells added their magic back then. The ruined engine house’s chimney rising through the treetops is a relic of the mining heritage covering much of Bodmin’s fascinating landscape.

Heading back downhill, blackberries glinting blacky purple grow in the hedgerow. Juicy, but bitter. Another sign of summer’s end and another shade of the day’s prevailing hue.

We reached the children’s adventure area with picnic tables arranged outside. Welcome assets. Great for the young folk to round off the day with more play, and for us adults to have a rest after our country stroll.

Until next time,
Sue. X