Toy Top and Collier Wood

The view of the hills from Collier Wood, from the early days of my online diary when I coloured my pen sketches on the computer to save precious bandwidth. This GIF comes in at a mere 4kB!
The view of the hills from Collier Wood, from the early days of my online diary when I coloured my pen sketches on the computer to save precious bandwidth. This GIF comes in at a mere 4kB!
Broad-leaved helleborine, growing by the car park at Collier Wood on our last visit there in August 2000.
Broad-leaved helleborine, growing by the car park at Collier Wood, August 2000.

Two red kites soar alongside the A1 in North Yorkshire. A buzzard circles over the Northumbrian Hills. When we first started making our way to Scotland along the A68 in the 1980s, as well as the wild scenery along the route we had the choice of two picnic sites, each with a woodland nature trail, to choose from to take a break from the driving.

At Toy Top near Tow Law, the theme of the trail was forestry (introduced on the interpretation panels by nursery rhyme characters) while at Collier Wood the trail touched on the history of the landscape, inviting you to pause at a view out over the hills, and pointed out a well worn badger trail.

Natural Break

Rain on the windscreen on the A1 near the Tyne Tunnel, our alternative route to Scotland.
Lashed by torrential rain on the A1 near the Tyne Tunnel, our alternative route to Scotland. It felt like being at sea. Colour added using a mouse, this was long before my first graphics tablet, October 1998.

By the time I started writing my online diaries in 1998, the picnic sites and trails were looking a bit the worse for wear as the toilets got vandalised and the edges of the car park started to get strewn with litter. Toy Top was the first to close but Collier Wood lingered on and when we took Barbara’s parents to the wedding of their eldest grandchild at North Berwick we were still able to take a break here.

Roe deer crossing the A1 near the Scottish border, again apologies for the primitive GIF image.
Roe deer crossing the A1 near the Scottish border, again apologies for the primitive GIF image.

It was the last time that we went on a country walk, a short country walk, with Bill, Barbara’s dad, who died the following month and it also turned out to be the last time we were able to walk around that familiar woodland trail. Happy memories.

Link: Collier Wood from my Wild West Yorkshire nature diary for 18 October 1998

Collier Wood in August 2000.

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