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From bicycle touring to backpacking, watercolour painting to clay modelling, the exploration journal captures my journey through many different interests and travel adventures.

I’m passionate about finding those out of the way places that whisk you away from the concerns of everyday life. Whether this is by wading through an overgrown river or trying new paint techniques is up to you!

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Nature Reserve Spotlight: Swithland Wood

Nature Reserve Spotlight: Swithland Wood

I recently visited Swithland Wood SSSI (a nature reserve designated as being of particularly special scientific interest) on the way back to Warwick from a work trip. I put the route into Google maps and hunted along it for a good stretch of woodland to spend a couple of hours walking. After 10 minutes I found Bradgate Park country park, then checked the reviews and decided that the nearby Swithland Wood is more my type of place. Parking costs just £1 for three hours, which is plenty of time to explore the 87 hectares of woodland.

It is a SSSI ancient woodland that’s use dates back to 1512, the area is famous for its slate quarry and the majority of buildings in area use Swithland Slate. Notable buildings include St Pancras rail station in London. The Great Pit is over 55m deep and fenced off for safety, though some people still dive in. I browsed some diving websites and the quarry is shaped like a bottle, narrow at the top and widens out towards the bottom. The water temperature also drops to below 4 degrees and its pitch black anything deeper than 10m due to the overhanging trees. People who have dived it also say there is nothing interesting in there, so why you would want to dive in is beyond me.

Looking up into the canopy

We did a meandering walk around most of the woodland. Druids Mound was the most interesting due to the older oaks on top.

Druids Mound

The bird cry was constant, though many were hidden high up in the canopy. We did spot multiple types of mushroom and the occasional butterfly. It is getting a bit late in the year for spotting lots of butterflies like I did at the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust sites over the summer.

Fly Agaric

You can find further information about Swithland Wood on the Bradgate Park and Swithland park website.

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