Our rangers recommend...
The ranger team share their top tips for exploring the Skyline each month.
This month, I would like to recommend an area which doesn’t form part of the Skyline walk but is part of the Bath Skyline, and can be accessed by a short detour. Smallcombe woods can be found nestled between Bathwick fields and Smallcombe vale and can be accessed from Smallcombe vale or through Smallcombe Garden Cemetery.
This woodland is very special as it is ancient woodland, this means it is an area which has been wooded continuously for over 400 years. There are many beautiful trees in the wood including veteran oaks, ash trees and hazel. A lot of the hazel has been coppiced and there is a beautiful area of collapsed small leaved lime over a small brook. Small leaved lime has lovely heart shaped leaves and it was once abundant in UK woodland and is sometimes considered an indicator of ancient woodlands. The trees have grown very large and then collapsed and then grown up from the stem, creating an amazing space to sit and enjoy the sounds of the woods.
We have done lots of work alongside Smallcombe Garden Cemetery to improve access between the cemetery and the woods. This has included building some steps out of natural materials to fit the look of the woods and the wall has also been rebuilt. Although not part of National Trust land, I also recommend looking around the cemetery where they have had funding to create a QR code trail where you can scan the code on graves of interest to find out about the lives of some of the people buried there. Well worth a visit.