Monday, November 12, 2012

The Mereway, Ingoldsby Wood, Lincolnshire

click photo to enlarge
When I was young the woods managed by the Forestry Commission were places where the public were not welcome. Signs told us to keep out, graphic notices warned of the risk of fire, and at various points collections of implements for beating out blazes were pointedly stacked. All this served to suggest that public access was a threat that couldn't be countenanced. Today people are, I'm glad to say, welcomed into what are a national and publicly owned asset - our woods. I was reminded of this recently as we passed through Ingoldsby Wood near Boothby Pagnell, Lincolnshire, when I came across a Forestry Commission sign inviting people to enjoy the sylvan beauty.

We were walking along a route known as The Mereway, a path that follows part of the perimeter of the woodland. This area of trees is probably a patch of ancient woodland, and may be part of the larger woodland recorded in the Domesday Book. The vicinity of the wood has a number of earthworks including a circular feature with ditch and bank that may be an Iron Age enclosure though it has produced Romano-British and post-medieval artefacts. There is also the site of a medieval moated enclosure with a fishpond. This could have been the location of a grange associated with Vaudey Abbey. Then there is The Mereway track itself. Anyone seeing its name written on the Ordnance Survey map might well think that it was named after a long-gone area of water. However, the word "mere", as well being Old English for a pool or pond, can also derive from the Old English "mære" meaning a boundary, and that is clearly the intended usage here because the track follows the western edge of the wood. There is some speculation that the path may be on the line of an ancient trackway. On the other hand its name may indicate that it is simply a wood boundary, a feature serving a similar purpose to the woodbanks that frequently mark the extent of old woodland, and of which there are signs in Ingoldsby Wood.

I took today's photograph to record the track, but also for the red-orange of the beech leaves and as a record of a fine and sunny day. Some trees are still clinging to their leaves, but an increasing number of bare boughs and branches are evident as the temperatures drop, the light dims and winter edges autumn aside.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28mm
F No: f10
Shutter Speed: 1/50
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On