Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowdrop Trail, Valleyfield woods

We began today's walk at Newmills. A couple of weeks ago when we did the practice walk we noted a grand stone archway halfway through the village with a 'Private. No Entry.' sign boldly displayed. Now that's the route we wanted to take so after making some enquiries at a local newsagent, a very helpful assistant phoned the owner to obtain permission for us to access the land. The owner happens to be Lord Wemyss. He lives in Torry House apparently. We didn't stop to say hello but enjoyed the walk through his grounds emerging at the A985 and crossing over to a wooded area. Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! Even walking in single file we struggled to avoid squelching through some pretty thick black mud. We then had to walk about a mile on country roads, Clinkum Bank and Ayr Street, again in single file, which led us to Valleyfield Woods. We popped into the Riding Centre for Disabled for a nice cuppa and to use the facilities, then onto the Snowdrop trail through the woods. We could have had a guided tour but as there were 18 of us, we thought it best to do our own thing. Mary's grandchildren were with us today and led us through the enchanted woods admiring the carpets of snowdrops and guessing how many there might be! They were just a delight, the children that is. The woods are part of Valleyfield estate and you can still see the remnants of the landscaping created by Humphry Repton a famous 18th century English landscape gardener. Part of a very high wall which surrounded the ornamental gardens, an archway, remains of the kitchen garden and ruins of the gardener's cottage can still be seen. Despite the muddy parts this was a lovely woodland walk and we filled our lungs with good country smells. My geography failed me again though when asked which river was flowing through the estate. The other entrance to/ exit from the woods is back in Newmills so we wandered through the village back to our cars. As always we said a wee prayer before going our separate ways and felt content and grateful for the fellowship our wee group had shared today.