Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Ashdown Woodland Track

Silk Button Spangle Galls on a fallen oak leaf.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Silk Button Spangle Galls on a fallen oak leaf.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
I am starting to see where the interesting places are in my new area.  Of course, some are obvious and are marked on maps.  But some are not.

I went along a track that leads off a steep road towards the "Secret Lake."  I was looking for fungi, but didn't find very many - more on that next time.  But it's an interesting track.

Track on the Ashdown.  15 October 2017.
Track on the Ashdown.  15 October 2017.
The bracken is turning brown, and some trees are shedding, but many are not.  There's woodland ahead.

Gate into the woods.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Gate into the woods.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
That fallen sign welcomes you.

Fallen sign.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Fallen sign.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Just past this gate I found some interesting fungi .. I'll show them next time.  But the track past here gets to be unusual.  Soon, there's a stream down on the left.

Stream on the Ashdown.  15 October 2017.
Stream on the Ashdown.  15 October 2017.
Something else is going on.  That squared-off block on the far side is not natural.  It's made up of smaller blocks.  There has been some sort of construction here in the past.  It turns out that iron ore was worked on the Ashdown in the Tudor period, and it's likely to be related to that.

Further on, there's a junction at which one branch quickly peters out into a narrow gap, and if you squeeze through and look back you can see this:

Woodland Steps.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Woodland Steps.  Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
It's almost like part of a pyramid, very atmospheric.  It's too high up to have been for water.  The stream is down below the bottom level of this area.  So this must be more of the old iron workings.

One of my maps places an "old furnace" further along this track.  I wonder if that label is misplaced, and the furnace was here.

The bridge I took this next shot from was a solidly constructed stone bridge, so this is not just any old ride through the woods.  There must have been some serious industry here at one time.  This is the stream from that bridge.

Stream in the Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
Stream in the Ashdown, 15 October 2017.
I would think that is big enough to supply water for a smelting operation, and the "secret lake" further on might have been dammed up to provide that supply.

Fungi next time ...

(Added later) I've been told that those ruins might be a flour mill known as "the Old Mill" (originally "The New Mill," reasonably enough) and there is some resemblance to old photos, but I'm not certain.  If it is, it's said to be where the flour was ground for Queen Victoria's wedding cake. 

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