22 May 2014

Woolley

Woolley from Gipsy Lane
Wednesday brought sunshine  and so, in spite of experiencing lingering  twinges of gout in my right foot, I was determined to get out and about one for one of my now legendary country walks. I drove up the M1 to Junction 38 and headed east for the village of Woolley between Barnsley and Wakefield. It was a place I had only ever seen on maps and signposts before. The village is delightfully situated with solid stone houses and farms, a village green and an ancient church - but sadly no pub!

After parking, I strolled northwards till I came to Seckar Wood. The morning was hot and May blossom hung heavy in the hedgerows. My map told me there were ponds in Seckar Wood so I made my way in their general direction. Later I learnt that the wood had once belonged to a prominent late Victorian/early twentieth century photographer called Warner Gothard. When he died in 1940, he bequeathed the wood to the people of Barnsley and Wakefield. In the middle of the wood, he planned to build a walled swimming pool with a bathing house but that project was never fully realised. What remains is a peaceful yet slightly melancholy pond that nature was gradually reclaiming until The Friends of Seckar Wood volunteer group was formed.
Gothard's swimming pool in Seckar Wood
Rabbit by the old railway track
Nice house in Notton
Onwards down the course of a former railway track then south to Notton - another well-heeled and attractive village I had never visited before. Down Keeper Lane. Cross the A61 to Warren Lane and then back towards Woolley via Wheatley Wood where I spotted this majestic tree - alone in a barleyfield:-

19 comments:

  1. I once again live and learn. It never crossed my mind that Woolley was anything other than a motorway service station.
    The last shot is a beauty. It is clichéd but there little than can better a good cliché.

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    1. The other day I learnt that Leicester Forest East isn't just a motorway service station - nor is Tibshelf. There's a book or a TV documentary somewhere there. I am glad you liked my last picture even though it is clichéd. Like Jan below, I thought it might be an oak.

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  2. An oak among the barleys?

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    1. It's very possible that it is an oak. I couldn't get close enough to confirm that.

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  3. The wall removes a bit of the cliché I think and, regardless, as Adrian said, it's still a charming photo.

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    1. Thank you GB. As I walked along the lane I saw that tree from afar. It just looked splendid amidst the green barley but the word "cliché" didn't light up in my little brain as I captured it with a simple click.

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  4. Love it ( as you already know !).

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    1. We don't have gondolas over here or temptress pizza girls but we have nice pies and a little cottage with roses growing around the door booked in the name of Tony and Helen Uluru.

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  5. Lovely walk YP. Was the water in the pool stagnant or did it have a source? One man's dream ~ it reminds me of Paronella Park here in FNQ.

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    1. I believe it was fed by a small steam but as you can see the surface was as flat as glass. I wouldn't want to swim there. God knows what's on the bottom.

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  6. Lovely photos, as always. :)

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    1. Thank you Jenny. I do try my best to capture some of the wonders I see around me.

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  7. Great walk , Great history.

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  8. Another one of your great country walks with great pictures and some interesting information!
    The last picture would make a perfect leaf in a wall calendar, I am very tempted to nick it. The pond does indeed have a melancholy look.
    I've just checked out Woolley on the map in relation to Barnsley. My late husband was born and raised in Wath-upon-Dearne, and while my mother-in-law still lived there, we came visiting every year and usually went to Barnsley for half a day to get some shopping done and a meal at Yates'.

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    1. Please don't answer this if you don't want to Miss Arian. I have been curious for a while about the circumstances of your husband's death. What happened?
      Though Barnsley is a hard-working former coal town, it has many lovely places in its vicinity. Oh and you are most welcome to "nick" my last photo. I am very pleased that you like it.

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    2. It's no secret, YP, and I don't mind you asking. My husband died completely out of the blue 5 days after his 41st birthday. It was a Thursday morning; I left for work and he was downstairs in the cellar, clearing away his paint things (we had been redecorating the flat), I went to him for a hug & kiss as was our habit when either of us left before the other.
      During the day, we exchanged a few short emails as usual, but they ceased in the early afternoon. I simply thought he was busy otherwise, and since I was very busy at the office, I did not miss emailing back and forth.
      When I arrived home shortly before 6.00, I found the cat near the door, yowling, and my husband dead on the floor in our living room, next to the settee. He looked peaceful, no wound that suggested a fall or anything like that.
      I made an emergency call, and the paramedics arrived within minutes; they instantly saw that he'd been dead for some hours.
      The physician who came to issue the death certificate told me that this way of dying - a sudden "switching off" of the heart - is not so rare, and it occurs in men (mostly men, rarely women) of all ages and all levels of fitness, smokers and non-smokers (my husband smoked). He also told me that death must have come so quickly that, even if I had been there, I could have done nothing. That quickness also means Steve didn't even have time to feel pain or fear. I like to think that when it happened, his last thought was "What the f...". It also is of great consolation to me to know that he died in the middle of a life he enjoyed, in a place he loved - our home - and was spared the slow deteriorating of mind and body that comes with old age and sickness, something he was always very much afraid of.
      Apparently the Riley men have a thing for dying quickly. It happened to his granddad when Steve was little, and two years after Steve's death, his older brother died the same way.

      Sorry this turned out such a long reply, but every time I write it down or tell the story when someone asks, I still find it hard to believe, it still seems so bizarre.

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    3. I thank you for your reply. The unexpected nature of Steve's death reminds me very much of the way my sister-in-law's husband died in the summer of 2011. I am guessing that your husband died before Norman (that was his name) because you appear to have got what happened into some kind of perspective. Even so when death takes those we love, we never forget. Time doesn't heal everything and you said "I still find it hard to believe".

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    4. Steve died on November the 5th, 2009. As strange as it may sound, my life is really very good, I love nearly every minute of it and am immensely grateful for everything I "have" (not necessarily meant in a material way).
      But yes, it still seems unreal sometimes. I never imagined myself to be a widow at 41.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.