Although winter may have Hagg Wood in its grip there is still plenty to see and enjoy if it is within your permitted exercise allowance. A walk to the wood in early January highlighted just how lucky we are to live in this village and how precious our surrounding countryside is, not least during lockdown if we can enjoy it safely within the rules. Many people have been taking their daily exercise whilst carefully keeping their distance along the adjacent lanes and bridleways, including joggers, cyclists, walkers and dog walkers. Both walkers and runners should indeed be thankful for the extensive network of local footpaths and bridleways they have inherited from the past to enable them to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of fresh air and local exercise in the nearby countryside, whilst following the Countryside Code and now all the social distancing rules. We look forward to happier times when even more enjoyment can be possible for both young and old, including within and to and from Hagg Wood. In the meantime, it is a good idea in these rainy months to come prepared wearing a good pair of wellies before all the paths dry out.
Some enthusiasts have been exploring new hobbies in their own gardens. One couple used macro-photography to take beautiful pictures of frost covered leaves and flower heads. There are now clip-on macro lenses for smartphones available at relatively cheap prices. As usual there has been lots of interest in sight for the birdwatcher. A mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings were seen in a field off Intake Lane, and about thirty linnets were on crops that had gone to seed, all supervised by a solitary Buzzard perched in a tree. This is the time of year when small birds often gather in large parties to feed together, and it is not uncommon for tits and finches to be in the company of tree-creepers and nuthatches.
Our website www.fohw.org.uk has more information on our local Community Woodland of Hagg Wood and on our own activities. You can also get in touch via our website https://haggwood.wordpress.com/contact/, especially if you have walked along the now blocked path from Intake Lane in many past years and want to support our current claim to have it confirmed as a public footpath for all to be able to enjoy as a key way into Hagg Wood. The City of York Council has now published its own Statements of Case supporting our Kexby 19 and Kexby 20 local public footpath claims, and these are now available on its website: https://www.york.gov.uk/downloads/download/583/public-right-of-way-prow-notices.
Spring is now not too far away, and with it the promise of new life for the plants, birds and animals of our local environment, and with it fresh hope of happier times not too far away.