Sunday, 15 March 2009

Ancient woodland in north London

I was visiting north London this weekend and found our capital city never looked lovelier in the spring sunshine - cherry blossom and daffodils suddenly appearing everywhere. Having spent nearly two decades living in Highgate, near to both East Finchley and Muswell Hill - going back to visit one of my sons and his family often feels like going home. Although I now live within a short journey of some spectacular and ancient downland scenery in Wiltshire which I much love, I still miss the ancient woodland of this part of London. There are four woods all within a square mile of each other - Highgate Wood, Queens Wood, Coldfall Wood and Cherry Tree Wood - a small wooded park which I visited yesterday with my little grandchildren.

The plaque on the drinking fountain in Highgate Wood has a quote from the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) he lived his latter years out in Highgate and died there on July 25th 1834.
"Drink, Pilgrim, here! Here rest! And if thy heart
Be innocent, here too shalt thou refresh
Thy spirit, listening to some gentle sound
Or passing gale or hum of murmuring bees!"

Spring sunlight in Highgate Wood today - surely as lovely as Paris, as the smiling people of London wandered through the woods enjoying the warmth of this beautiful mid March day.

One of the entrances to Highgate Wood

Coldfall Wood

I visited here for the first time today - a lovely little wood tucked away in Muswell Hill. Unlike Highgate Wood which is so very popular this little wood was empty except for the occasional dog walker.
For Samuel and Hope my dear little grandchildren - I didn't expect to care for them quite so much. They will probably grow up in this part of London as both their parents did before them - may they enjoy these ancient woods, rare enough to find but so very rare to find in a city and the reason why this part of London is actually quite beautiful.