I came to a forest clearing, right on the river bank. The morning was so still, silent, sunny. I stopped and stood a while, enjoying the quiet ambience of the forest. There was something for all the senses to enjoy. Faintly, the beat of birds’ wings; the murmur of water gliding over and around mossy rocks; forest glades red, yellow and blue with wild flowers.
My trek to this lovely clearing, in Shincliffe Wood, had started at Durham railway station. I’d headed south, following the river. Very noticeable about the terrain is its ever changing nature. At first this had been flat, easily flooded when the Wear broke its banks. From Shincliffe onwards, the terrain became more demanding, through dense forestation and undergrowth.
‘Ideal place for a break,’ I thought, un-shrugging the rucksack. So I sat on the river bank and sipped a coffee and looked out over the so still waters. Quite amazing, how the river glowed gold in one place and flashed silver in another. Or lay a deep emerald green, where the mighty old trees grew along the water’s edge.
There was just the faintest breeze, stirring overarching branches, wild flowers, the bracken and ferns. There’d been some tree-felling going on too. Great mounds of tree trunks crowded the river banks. The bark was a brilliant red-brown in the hot hot sun-glare.
Coffee break over, I returned my flask to the rucksack and took to the trail again. This involved a steep climb through the trees. I paused half-way, to get my breath back, looking down at the sheltered little cove. At a river of many dazzling colours.