Peace in wild places

Broad-bodied chaser by Dave Steel

An easy amble with the Wild on the outskirts of Greater Manchester on the 13th day of my 30 Days Wild experience.

Windy Bank Wood, a Forestry Commission site, which offers gently winding pathways to follow, through wildflower meadows and a mix of new tree plantations’ with more mature stands of trees’ including some magnificent oaks. 

The site does require a touch more effort to reach, as there is no car-park immediately on site. Bent’s Garden Centre encourages parking for the reserve and those who like long distance trails can wander along the Timberland Trail and come across this oasis of peace.

Well I say peace except for the songs of a mix of summer visiting warblers, including the elusive grasshopper and garden warbler - with luck.

The pools, although they are quite dry this year, hold water boatman, tadpoles and such dragonflies as the broad bodied chaser.

Today, this hour and a half wander, as on most of our recent keep-fit ambles to this site, simply offered calm and tranquillity.

Swallow, swift and house martin swept the air above, taking insects on the wing, whilst the odd meadow brown butterfly skimmed over the meadows. These butterflies have just started to emerge and, soon, I'm hoping their numbers will be high, as in previous years.

A family party of willow tit stayed in cover but betrayed their presence by their distinctive “eeez- eeez” call, unlike the whitethroat, which seemed to wildly throw itself about the sky from its perch in its need to be seen and heard defending its territory.

Finally a couple of buzzard “mewed” their far-carrying call from on high as we completed yet another wander in a Wild place that always seems to offer peace.