I have just come back from a very pleasant 2 mile wander in a blustery Salcey Forest with the dog (as part of my #1000mile 2011 challenge) – you can view the map at http://new.socialhiking.org.uk/maps/os/daylightgambler/2011-02-04
I vaguely followed my favourite walk as a child – the first part (from the horse-box car park into Knighton's Copse) is pretty much non-existent – destroyed by the heavy machinery the Forest Commission used last year during tree felling. The second part still exists as a quiet, rarely used, small track winding through the trees, before finally joining the Woodpecker Trail back to the car park.
There is something magically about walking in a forest, especially as the trees crash together above you in the wind. Part of the reason I decided on this walk was after reading the wonderful "Many Trees Make a Forest" on Hiking In Finland: http://www.hikinginfinland.com/2011/02/many-trees-make-forest.html
"By day, it is that place where you are a basic, simple, human being again….. You're alive, breathing fresh, clean air, seeing the goshawk chasing a hare, the tracks of an elk and hear the call of the cuckoo"
The second motivation was the recent discussions regarding the sale of Forestry Commission woodlands, from which Salcey Forest is not safe: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/environment_2_5740/please_don_t_sell_off_salcey_forest_1_2367166
As a general rule I am not really a massive fan of Forestry Commission woodlands – it sometimes seems that logging and commercial activities are often put before the users of the forest (on Offa's Dyke a Forestry Commission vehicle speed up as it past us, purposely showing us with dust) and commercial woodlands seem a little spiritless. That said though if the "government department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain's forests and woodlands" makes me feel like that, then how am I going to feel when all the forests are owned by commercial organisations?
Assuming of course I can still get access to them…..