Author Topic: Eureka!  (Read 554 times)

nuduke

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Eureka!
« on: April 17, 2019, 11:04:41 PM »

Further to my note in 'How was your month...' today (Weds) started rather cloudy but then blossomed into a sunny day.  So off I went to see if I could enter the small patch of woodland I found late last year (or was it early this) and see if it was a suitable FRN location where I could get naked in nature.
Well, friends, I am delighted to say it was.  So here's a report:
The patch of wood, or copse is only about 1 mile from my home, in the middle of 2 or 3 fields with our village and the next village on either side but some distance away.  I set out at about 12.45pm on a good lope along the main road between the 2 villages then through a gate and along a field path to the copse which is very small, only about 1/10 mile at the longest (630ft) and 290 feet wide.  Compare this with the woods I used to walk in before we moved which was almost a mile in diameter.  On the way I spotted a deer in the field next to the wood.  Oh dear, deer.  That means dung to look out for and of course, if they live in the wood, that there may be deer ticks and danger of Lyme disease.  Blast!


So my initial expectations were that it was probably too sparse and anyone passing could see right into the middle.  I crossed the little bridge and entered the edge of the wood.  You may recall that on my earlier recce which was in the cold and wet winter, I was able to enter the edge of the wood - maybe 50-100ft in, but was soon prevented from going any further by a deep ditch with water at the bottom.  I approached this with some trepidation but as I had anticipated in my previous mail the ditch was now reasonably drained and scrambling down and leaping across was easy (and, I thought, if easy for me, then easy for anyone so beware - others may use this location).  So I was in!
I walked around and the wood was in fact lovely.  Mature trees with thick ivy trunks snaking up them and dense enough for cover.  The birds sang and the squirrels scattered. 


After only about a minute or two's walk I was at the other edge and looking out onto the field at the back.  The next habitation could be seen but it was too far away for anyone to see into the trees.  I was in the centre of 3 large fields about 700ft from the road and 2000+ ft from the nearest buildings (houses).  The area was about 230 acres or 95 hectares.  More than enough either for me to see people (or tractors) coming and also to make me fairly invisible in the middle of the patch although one could see out through gaps almost everywhere in the centre. All was quiet and still in the lovely late morning sunshine.
But there were plenty of signs of people.  Several fertiliser bags, the odd drinks can, a strange bucket affair (illustrated) and this blue chemical drum which contained grain, oats I think, some of which was scattered on the ground round the drum.  I figured this would be deer food supplement - so they do live there.  I need to be cautious about picking up a tick.  There was little Deer dung around, happily (although there were patches of bird guano which I suspect was from) pigeons).  Also there was a considerable ground cover of nettles.  This IS a problem in that as the year progresses they may take over the ground altogether making it impossible to pass into the wood at all.  As it was I got stung on my shin and it still hurts a bit as I write some 9 hours later.


 
But....it was clear that this indeed was a place for secret, solitary, contemplative naturism.  Hurrah!  a regular haunt at last.  But as yet I was still clothed.  This did not last long.  I was out of my clothes rapidly.  A problem was the ground.  When I get naked, I want to be naked and I don't feel completely FRN with my walking boots on.  But the ground was very uncomfortable with hard pebbly soil and lots of sticks, stones and pea to grape sized pebbles and dried mud clots.  So I had to wear my boots.  Next time I must bring some flip flops.  They will allow me enough cushion to walk around completely naked enough.  In this little space I could do yoga and maybe eat lunch :) .  What I need is a seat.  There are several fallen trunks but they were impossible to sit on due to the considerable overgrowth if ivy and many protruding twigs.  Again, next time I'll bring some secateurs and make me a seat.  Or bring a chair and store it there - like Dave Balead used to do.  I think a natural seat would be better!
So, naked, I walked around a bit and meditated quietly, listening to the music of the birds and luxuriating in the lovely sunshine falling between the tree boles.
I took these photos
 
After about 20 minutes, I dressed and walked out of the opposite side of the wood to recce the space beyond.  The view was entirely clear and it immediately occurred to me that on a future occasion I might sunbathe on the field margin or even walk along the perimeter of the wood and take the sun.  I am delighted that I have found an easily accessible FRN spot, hopefully, to call my own when I go there and experience the air on my skin and the forest enchantment across the seasons.  Watch this space, I guess! :)
John




Bob Knows

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 02:23:10 AM »
Looks like a lovely spot.  I hope your feet can adapt.
Human bodies are natural, comfortable, and green.
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MartinM

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 07:35:57 AM »
The blue drum is a pheasant feeder.

If you regularly walk barefoot and learn to walk more lightly, landing on your forefoot, your soles will toughen up and you will find you can deal with quite rough ground. Having said that, there are always some surfaces that are at least uncomfortable, but very little that isnít manageable.

I carry Sockwas that are very light, flexible with thin sole in case I need a little protection in unknown areas, although I rarely use them.
Tread lightly upon the earth!

jbeegoode

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 09:35:07 AM »
One mile from home is just a walk! You are in business. Be sure to keep us posted. A spot like this is new to you.
Jbee
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John P

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 05:16:06 PM »
A place that you find as an explorer is always the best!

Yes, I was thinking maybe pheasants. If you meet any, you should warn them that the food isn't just being given because somebody likes them.

nuduke

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 07:39:36 PM »

Aha, pheasant food?
I hadn't thought of that.  Thank you martin for your greater knowledge.  So maybe the deer I saw (actually at the edge of the wood not in it) was just a random wanderer like me and would also explain why there was a lack (although not absence) of deer scat in the wood and particularly around the feeder.  Pheasant fodder would not imply deer feeding and therefore less danger of ticks.


A few months ago, I bought some stick-on soles that adhere to the feet.  They are very thin but may just be enough to be virtually barefoot almost anywhere in dry weather.  I haven't tried them yet but when I get round to giving them a test run I'll report.  I have no doubt they would not stand up well to road walking.  70% of my journey to the woods is pavement.


John

jbeegoode

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 11:49:36 PM »
Huaraches for the walk?

Can you pull the nettles when young, before they become an obstacle? The nettles being young, not you...
...that way the passage will look more natural and less like a trail that leads to something, as the rains quell the disturbance and fill in with other more friendly vegetation. It would also appear less than a man made disturbance to the owner's property, but you could still get on to it and avoid the sting.

Will you be planning several ways to get into the sanctuary, so as not to make a trail? Here, things grow so slow and seasonal and the rains are so sparse that a foot print will remain for a long time. Maybe you only need to be concerned with mud there. Will you use the ol' technique of swishing with a branch to cover your foot prints? 

You may soon have an all over coloring to explain. At least, you'll be ready for the beach. How will you deal with that revelation by Mrs. Nuduke?
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.

reubenT

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 01:23:00 AM »
Nice place.   I'd do the same in the same circumstance.    Nettles are an edible green,  nice mild flavor,  cook with a little seasoning and the stinger hairs vanish.   They are even edible raw,  we've eaten them successfully one leaf at a time by folding the leaf edge inward before consumption. 

Peter S

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 02:34:04 PM »
Some places here they have nettle eating contests. Turns the mouth black, apparently.
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nuduke

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 11:20:48 PM »

There are too many nettles to 'garden' them.  In nettle locations I usually swish them out of the way with a stick to pass through a patch.  But it's not always possible - it's fine when they are 6" high but not fine when they are 5ft high and the only vegetation as far as the eye can see!  The area isn't all nettles though so I hope paths across the wood will still be available through the summer nettle season.
Having discovered this little wood (copse?), I've been pining for another visit but the weather has been fairly cold and inclement and the diary has been full of many other things. From about 8th May my diary is rammed so it'll be a few weeks before I get there again if I don't make it this week.  But that's fine - don't want to get bored of the place by over familiarity!
John

nuduke

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2019, 12:28:45 AM »

I had another woodland walk yesterday.  The weather has been awful but it brightened up Thursday with a fine day on Friday and after finishing a few chores and past the heat of midday, about 16.30 I set off for 'my' little patch of woodland.  This time it was my intention to walk through the copse and stroll out into the field beyond and it was with optimistic hope of this that I set off along public right of way through fields of wheat


   
and after about 30 mins walk reached the copse.  You will recall that to get into the body of the little wood you have to get over a deep ditch, which last time was a cinch as it was dry. Unfortunately, with the strong rain at the beginning of the week the ditch was once again wet and slimy at the bottom and it was with some trepidation and a little difficulty that I managed to scramble down across the muddy mire and up the steep sides.  At the opposite side I looked back and hoped I would be able to get back over without putting a foot ankle deep in the soft cloying clay which characterises the geology and soil structure in our area.
Well, I was fairly right about the nettles - they were everywhere along the route and about 12" to 30" in height.  However, not so dense that you couldn't pick your way through them by moving them aside and working round the patches of them.  When walking naked a bit later on I did get stung on the shin and they must have been fit healthy specimens because whilst the irritation and stinging is not severe, it was still with me today with a light rash!
However, a few benettled yards in I was in the clearing area, in the centre, in warm air and dappled sunshine



The Pheasant feeder was still there but now empty.  I assume they have shot the poor things!  Or maybe they don't need the feed as they grow up.  Anyone know the niceties of pheasant husbandry?  The pheasant shooting season is October to February so presumably the pheasants just leave home after a while.  There were a few spent cartridge cases here and there, though. 
Anyway, I disrobed and carped the diem naked and pretty relaxed as there seemed little chance of anyone also being out on the same walk and I hadn't seen anyone in the mile or so I could see from outside the wood.  You can see a big patch of nettles at the back of this picture
  and my arse at the front of this one!   
Just behind the trees in the background of the second picture was the field at the rear of the wood and this is where I headed, stooping and making my way through the fairly thick low brush and branches.  Now, I had done a clothed recce of the field in my last visit and report and told you of the large open field, not overlooked.  But today - 2 months later - it was a field of wheat!  The crop came right up to the edge of the wood except for a small margin of long grass and weeds.  So no cheeky stroll in the open for me!  I'll have to wait until after harvest.  I also noticed that there were only one or two gaps in the woodland margin in sight that were big enough to get through at all and only one big enough to make a quick exit.  On a future occasion I will have to be mindful of these in case I do need to move out of the way of potentially prying eyes.
After 20 mins or so, I decided to make my way back and after losing my way to the ditch crossing, but finding an alternative and rather less wet place to leap back onto the woodland margin, I decided to take 'the long route' across the mown field margin.  The farmer keeps a swathe of the field mown to keep the public right of way open.  If farmers don't do this the walkers n the community complain until they do!  The grassy floor was very flat and quite soft
    You can just see the margins of our village at the end of the run. 
The ground was so inviting that I barefooted it almost to the end of this path.  It was such a good path that at the end my feet were not even dusty!


   


As I walked back home past the church and houses, I turned in to the little pathway that leads to a bridge over the river.  We lived in a nice place - a chunk of rural England.



"Why don't you walk along that river naked, John?"  I hear you ask.  The answer is that we are not that rural and that you can only walk along the right hand bank in this picture, because the left hand bank is all gardens of people's houses and you would be totally in view at all times.  "Why don't you swim in it?"  Because it's not very deep and the bottom is black, foul, silty mud!!!

Anyway, I thought you might like a pic of a nice place a bit less than a mile from my home.


John




jbeegoode

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2019, 06:25:13 AM »
DF says hello and she's glad that you found a place.

today, we went up the mountain to get out of 106F. We spent some time, just laying on out backs, looking at tree tops and sky.
Jbee and DF
Barefoot all over, all over.

eyesup

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 07:20:48 PM »
Good find , John!

Is that crop high enough you could have wandered across without concern?

Duane

nuduke

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2019, 12:23:31 AM »

Your question, Duane, requires a couple of responses.
First - no it was only about groin height in some fields and waist height in others.
Second, I wouldn't walk through a dense crop like that.  It would destroy some of it and a) I wouldn't want to reduce the farmer's yield and b) it is trespassing.  The swathes between the fields are cut on the traditional and protected footpaths, so that people can hike through the fields.  Not all farmers are that generous and don't always respect the footpaths.  They are often the routes people walked between villages in times past,
some of which are very ancient
.
John

jbeegoode

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Re: Eureka!
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2019, 02:33:27 AM »
What are the signs of an "ancient footpath" and how long ago was ancient. Around here it was a few hundred years, but where you live people are still living in hamlets and homes that old.

It would seem fun to walk paths of yore and get a feel about them, imaging the look in the past, the whys and how it all came to be. Guess it's the 'ol SCA coming out of me.
Jbee
Barefoot all over, all over.