Derby - Chaddesden Wood, Oakwood
w/e 17 April 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Chaddesden Wood

Springwood DriveOver the years we've visited many local woods in the area but one that has slipped through the net is Chaddesden Wood. The wood is situated in an area on the outskirts of Derby that for many years was known as Chaddesden Common but a modern housing estate that was built mainly in the 1980s and 90s (although the last new houses are only about ten years old) has become one of the largest new private housing estates in Europe. The estate is now called Oakwood but the developers stopped short of the Chaddesden Wood and created several entrances to it including the one shown above off Springwood Drive (left).

The wood, the only ancient oak woodland within the city boundary was designated a nature reserve in 1991 and is maintained by the Derby City Council. The site of the wood is roughly triangular in shape which can be seen in an aerial view on a special page on the council's website (click here to view in a new window). There are many tracks and paths in the wood which is a favourite place for dog walkers and we encountered about a dozen or so dogs in total as we explored the wood.
Main Path

The main path which we followed in an anti-clockwise direction is close to the boundaries of the wood which contains many old trees the majority of which are common oaks. Some of them are well over 150 years old although the wood has been in existence since the Middle Ages.

As we turned along the northern boundary of the wood we found a number of robins flying among the trees and settling from time to time. After reviewing the image above it looks as though this one has pretensions of belonging to the peacock family with the foliage behind resembling tail feathers.
To The North

The propensity of robins in this area may be due to the open aspect of the countryside to the north as the other sides of the wood face the residential areas of Oakwood. Whether the developers will eventually encroach into this area only time will tell but it would be a shame if only for the sake of the wildlife.

But one of the main reasons we had come to Chaddesden Wood was for the bluebells which are a feature of the wood at this time of year although with all the other undergrowth they didn't show up as well as we had hoped.
English Variety

The good news is that the bluebells are the native variety rather than the Spanish and hybrid species that are invading our shores. The English variety have flowers mostly on one side of the stem that droop at the top whereas the Spanish, among other differences, have flowers that have almost no scent around an upright stem.
Gnarled Log

As we neared the end of the circuit a gnarled tree trunk that had fallen lay at the side of the path like some ferocious beast guarding the way. I discovered later after returning home that the path we had followed was in fact a nature trail details of which can be seen on a leaflet here. The gnarled log is not mentioned on the leaflet but perhaps if we visit again, we'll be able to follow the route and see some of the things we missed this time.

October 23 2011 update - Since producing this page Marlon Cole has contacted me with details of his video of
A Year-Long Walk in the Woods

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