Perhaps it was the season – or maybe just a sign of progress – but the spectacular location that we had first explored in 2021 looked very different when the Moleside Walkers revisited it this June.
Where 2 years ago there had been wide open spaces displaying occasional stone, glass and wooden artworks reflecting the sacrifices of the First World War, Alec Robinson now guided us through acres covered by thousands of white and yellow daisies busy establishing themselves in the company of other, currently outnumbered, wild flowers and obviously thriving young trees.
Witness, John Merril’s twisted oak representation of the Somme battlefield, and the words of the WW1 poets inscribed within in it, sits proudly amongst The Regiment of Trees.
We progressed gently downhill and found ourselves in Jutland Wood with its 14 oak memorials to the ships and their crews who were lost in the struggles towards eventual victory.
Launched a century after the signing of the treaty that ended The Great War this project reflects the work of The Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission. Helped by the efforts of local groups and many volunteers, the site of the old Tadworth Training Camp, where troops were prepared before departing for the front lines, is being turned into a fitting reminder of the human price that had to be made to secure that peace.
As the years pass the work now being done here may always be ‘a project in progress’ but, particularly on the blue sky day with which we were blessed, it is already a wonderful place for us to take our exercise, replenish our thoughts and enjoy one another’s company.
From the new car park in the top left of the aerial track of his route, Alec’s Garmin recorded the gentle changes in altitude we encountered and we’re grateful to him and our group coordinator Steve Mustoe for a terrific walk.
Thanks also to David and John for their help with the photographs.