Phew, bank holiday! The last few weeks have been really busy for me as I've got back into the swing of working. I wouldn't say they're my busiest times but in contrast to my convalescence it's definitely been very tiring. Yesterday I was trying to hit four deadlines for image delivery as well as keeping up with Jessie's training (I'll post about her in the next few days!) and I've felt a little overwhelmed. Also wedding season starts for me in a few weeks and I'm getting the pre season jitters (shooting weddings are a huge responsibility and I wouldn't be good at my job if I was cocky about it!). It got to the end of the day and while Jessie sat looking at me hopefully I realised I still needed to take my trousers in for alterations so we hopped in the car and headed to Burgess Hill with a plan to walk Jessie en route home.
The road thats takes me to Burgess Hill and back is one that will hold a bit of personal history. In 2008, on a quiet corner of the lane my little Peugeot 206 met a tractor and nor me or the car came out very well (as regular readers of the blog will know). And on this quiet corner lays the entrance to a wood. I suppose yesterdays visit to this wood was quite notable - for 7 years I've longed to be able to walk in the countryside again and there I was (a few months after an ankle fusion), yards from the accident that I've replayed in my mind a million times walking my dog and thanking my lucky stars.
Now, I'm not a religious person, nor am I particularly spiritual, however, with every step Jessie and I took into that wood I swear a little bit of magic followed us. It had been a pretty murky day until we made our way up the path and just as the smell of the bluebells filled my nostrils, I felt the sun pour through the trees and light up my face.
The bluebells were just incredible, as a photographer I've seen more photos of bluebells than I need to and became somewhat immune to them but in this particular wood they just took my breath away. But also, when life is fast there is nothing like standing somewhere where nature is just allowed to be and just allowing your senses to take over. Your ears hearing the creaks of the old trees swaying, your eyes taking in the fallen trees in the paths, your nose filling with the unmistakable scent of the bluebells mixed with the wood that has witnessed the secrets of the woods for more years than you've been alive. It really reminds you of what life is all about and if those trouser alternations are that important after all.
As well as the seasonal blue blanket I spotted some dens made from fallen branches and twigs - so if you have children, get them here this bank holiday. I recently had my 7 year old niece to stay and no admission price to a park filled with health and safety regulations topped the time she spent in the woods at Sheffield Park exercising her imagination in similar dens.
Blackbrook wood is located on Middleton Common Lane between Spatham Lane and Streat Lane. There's a few parking bays just past Spatham Lane if you're coming from Ditchling/Burgess Hill. It's wholly flat and pretty accessible for people with mobility problems. Some of the paths were slightly muddy but all in all it was dry enough for me to get by fine in trainers, if you come across this post after we've had wet weather, wellies are recommended. I noticed many footpaths joining the woods so if you wanted to explore further you can plan more of a route on Ordnance Survey map 122.
Formally Emma Gutteridge