If you are staying at Highgate Farm or Highgate Cabins you are next to Brow Wood. This is one of the ancient woods on the Estate. The wood has been recently thinned. This is to allow the more mature trees to grow and fill out. Or as my mum used to say, “to grow good”. It also allows more light in to the wood so that other species in the understorey can grow too.
In Summer time you see there are lots of nettles. It means it’s difficult to move through the wood as a human, but they are great for the wildlife. In to Autumn and the nettles die back and leaves fall and create a mulch to cover the woodland floor. Winter time is of course more stark, as most of the trees in Brow Wood are deciduous. However it still provides cover for the roe deer and the squirrels. On to Spring and the start of the growing season, you might well see some primroses and possibly a few bluebells.
We try and keep the short track to the viewing platform clear enough so you can walk and sit down on the bench and, fall in love with the view. From the quadrangle (the old stone buildings to the side of the farmhouse), go through the metal gate and down the track. You’ll see a gate on your left with a sign to the viewing platform. We have called it that because you get such an spectacular view and you will be sat in the old lime kiln. The place is in need of a title!
We are gradually working on all our woods. My parents fenced in Kiln Flat Wood and left it to re-generate itself, as there were already some mature trees growing. It has lovely bluebells in athe Spring. Brockhole was thinned and Ruecroft was clear felled 8 years ago. The larch was removed and both woods re-planted with native species. The trees are growing well, but it always amazes me how quickly the woods regenerate themselves too.
Next will be Hesket Wood which was planted by Elizabeth Hudleston and her son Andrew, in the early nineteenth century.