If you go into the woods today . . .

If you go into the woods today, be prepared for a fairytale surprise. Chapel House Wood, just minutes’ drive from Blenheim Lodge Guest House in Bowness, but . . . what a different world – one lost in time and to time, a playground for the imagination, where even the unimaginative soul becomes poetic within its surroundings. It all started from Sow How Lane.

Sign pointing to Sow How Lane at Chapel House Wood.

Sign pointing to Sow How Lane at Chapel House Wood.

The walk into the woods.

The walk into the woods.

And into the woods we walked . . .

A interesting walk in Chapel House Wood.

A interesting walk in Chapel House Wood.

. . . where gnarled mossy trees and exposed roots form interesting shapes and capture the imagination. Do little people live underneath those exposed roots?

A tree twisted into fantastical shapes, and another with upturned roots at Chapel House Wood.

A tree twisted into fantastical shapes, and another with upturned roots at Chapel House Wood.

As we walked past the tree above, even my oh-so-practical husband began to turn his mind to ghouls and monsters. Venturing onwards, we came to a surprisingly pleasant brown needle-strewn path, where the walking was dry and easy . . .

One of the easier paths we came across in Chapel House Wood.

One of the easier paths we came across in Chapel House Wood.

. . . but it did not last. Overhead, a slightly overcast sky cast its uncertain light. Meanwhile, into the gloom and dark we went, or so it might seem when looking ahead.

Darkened woodland alternated with lightened spaces where we walked.

Darkened woodland alternated with lightened spaces where we walked.

A small circle of light encircled by a stand of trees. My imagination ran rife: could this spot have held any significance in bygone days? I stood there in the gloaming, fascinated by my surroundings. What could these woods tell us if they could only talk?

A circle of light opens above a dark stand of trees at Chapel House Wood.

A circle of light opens above a dark stand of trees at Chapel House Wood.

A more difficult track – or lack thereof – awaited us. We had to be very careful so as not to stumble and fall. Walking carefully, we soon came to an even more malformed group of trees, under which we had to crouch and scuttle to get past.

Hubby and Zack trying to walk under low-branched trees.

Hubby and Zack trying to walk under low-branched trees.

‘Imagine trolls jumping out at you,’ said Hubby. Nice! I told him not to be so ghoulish. Nonetheless, the landscape truly did encourage thoughts of childhood terrors: ghouls and trolls, and giants whose feet stomped upon those trees that impeded them to leave gigantic feet-sized tracts of spongy land where straw-like grasses now lay. It was impossible to find a way forward, blocked as we now were by a dense growth of conifers.

Squares of spongy land covered with straw-like matter at Chapel House Wood.

Squares of spongy land covered with straw-like matter at Chapel House Wood.

Fairyland at Chapel House Wood was not a tale of kind and light-hearted fairy folk. It felt very much the opposite: a story of dark and unfathomable creatures, whose unseen hiding places reflected their even darker souls. Where we walked, daylight was scarce; and where there were open spaces, deep mires dug deeper troughs where I would not venture for fear of sinking into them.

In the gloaming: one of the easier paths where we were at Chapel House Wood. After this, much of the going got tougher!

In the gloaming: one of the easier paths where we were at Chapel House Wood. After this, much of the going got tougher!

But did Hubby and I enjoy the walk? You bet we did! It was interesting, illuminating, and certainly worth exploring again – with a good compass in hand and a stout stick to depth-check the fields of muddy troughs before endeavouring to cross them! If you are looking for a fell-walking break, this is one to try just for the atmosphere alone!

Where we parked at the entrance to Chapel House Wood. From here, it is also an easy walk to Gummers How a little further up and opposite the road.

Where we parked at the entrance to Chapel House Wood. From here, it is also an easy walk to Gummers How a little further up and opposite the road.

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: http://www.blenheim-lodge.com

Email: enquiries@blenheim-lodge.com

Telephone: 015394 43440

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