I took this mare for a hack a couple of weeks ago and we linked together two shorter hacks. The second part was through a wood that I usually try to avoid because I find it creepy.
I don’t mind the woods in winter. Yes, there are no leaves on deciduous trees, but the orange carpet and weak sunlight filtering through the naked branches make them feel much more welcoming. Coniferous trees, however, always feel dark and hostile to me. I’ve never liked the pair of huge yew trees that sandwich my parents drive, and I positively refused to allow any evergreens into the garden last year.
These woods I rode through the other week are made up of poker straight lines of tall trees standing to attention. With very few branches on the bottom half, their tops are dark green and block all light from coming into the woods. The horror scene is completed by the bed of brambles – the only plant tough enough to grow in that hostile environment.
As usual, I did my thinking bit on the way home, and I’ve worked out why I dislike coniferous woods so much. When I was a teenager I read an excellent series of books called The Magician’s House, by Willam Corlett, which is set in the Golden Valley in Wales (I actually grew up here and the author definitely took advantage of artistic license as I’ve never found these woods). Basically the gist of the books is that three children need to right the wrongs of the past and solve the mystery of the countryside so that the Magician could time travel and save the world. There was obviously a bad guy, the apprentice in the first book and badger baiters in the second, but the modern world also caused an imbalance to the valley, which was in the latter books.
Where man had felled the medieval forest he’d planted fast growing ever green trees, which generated bad energy in the valley and weakened the magic, or something like that.
Anyway, the negativity of these conifers has obviously stuck in my mind as I always feel chilly and sad when going to these sorts of woods. There is also the connotations that these woods are man made, a poor replacement to the elms and oaks that were chopped down a few decades ago, and a reminder of the way we don’t care sufficiently for our planet and that global warming is happening.
Needless to say, nothing bad happened on our hack, and I’m sure I just let my imagination run wild. Does anyone else have any routes they don’t like riding along, or places they avoid, for similar reasons? For good measure, I’ve put a photo of the “good woods” below. See how much lighter it seems?