Magic Valley - Forge Valley Nature Reserve

If we learned anything from our recent Yorkshire trip it was that you can take us Highlanders out of Scotland but it's difficult to take our love for all things Highlands from us even when we are away

Magic Valley - Forge Valley Nature Reserve

The longer we were down south the more we seemed to search for places that reminded us of home. One evening saw us clambering around a ditch after we had spotted a water vole during an evening stroll in the quaint village we were staying at. Much to the amusement of some of the locals.

So as our week went on my search for things to do focused more on natural wonders rather than museums & monuments and this is how I came across the Forge Valley Nature Reserve to the west of Scarborough near East Ayton.

Situated on the banks of the river Derwent the mixed deciduous woodland is named after a fourteenth century forge in the area. In the past coppicing of the woods provided charcoal for the forge, which processed ore from locally mined ironstone.

There is a geological trail or a linear 2-mile boardwalk along the river which we opted for. A boardwalk was quite a novelty for us as we are more used to the rough paths of the Highlands. The walk is quite popular with dog owners so we met plenty of four-legged walkers, which as nice for us as we had left ours at home with a pet sitter. We also bumped into a group of bird watchers and sneaked stealthily past so not to disturb whatever they were looking at.

And then we left all our joint visitors behind and the riverside was all ours - and it started to feel a bit more like home. Of course, there is no way to take the boys to any flowing (or still) water without them heading straight for a thorough assessment of the fishing situation. Other stretches of the Derwent are quite famous among fishermen so it was a bit disappointing to not see more fish than we did.

However - imagination to the rescue at least in Corwin's case. After trying on a set of wild garlic leaves as bunny ears (our visit was just before Easter) he switched his attention to trying to catch all sorts of leaves and weeds out of the river with a stick and then we all had to invent some exciting names for his catches.

We even spotted a deer up on the wooded hillside - definitely a reminder of home. After reaching the end of the boardwalk we headed back the same way to our starting point. A nice hour spent in nature, confirming it's where our heart really is.

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About the Author

Monika Strell

Monika Strell

About Me & Mine

Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (7), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats.  We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.

Favourite place in the world:

Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.

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