A quick trip into nearby Breach Woods – beautiful in spring and cool in summer – using footpaths and permissive paths. Should take 1 -2 hours. Boots advisable in wet weather.
Leave the Wanstrow crossroads by going up Church Street, passing the church, and follow the lane round a couple of sharp bends out of the village. After about ¼ mile, as the lane bends round to the right you will see first a track on your left (Private) and then a metal kissing gate in the hedge on the left. Go through the kissing gate into the field. You will see another kissing gate ahead of you on the other side of the field. Go through this and, taking care, cross the railway – the trains are big, slow and heavy so if you can’t see one you will have plenty of time to cross.
Once across the railway go over the stile on the other side and you will see a small stile on the left, marked as a Permissive Path. Go over this, into the woods. There are several paths and tracks in the woods to explore, this route is a short excursion through a part of them that will take you back to the stile you have just crossed.
Follow the path from the stile – it starts to leave the fence line and skirts a (fenced) sink hole, crosses an old boundary marked by an ancient hedgeline and then the woods open up a little around a large beech tree. You may notice a small path leading off to the right, but ignore this and continue slightly to the left for a few yards past the beech tree and you will emerge onto a forest track.
Turn right along the track and follow it as it dips down through a small valley and then swings to the left and climbs up the hill. After a ¼ mile or so the gradient eases and there is a wider section of track used for parking or turning vehicles. Look on you right and you will find a small path which crosses the ditch and climbs up into a denser part of the woods.
Follow this and you will pass a tree swing and a wooden bench. At the bench follow the path as it swings to the right and heads uphill. This path can be indistinct at some times of the year, but just head up hill and you won’t go far wrong.
The path will come to a T junction with a larger path (you may notice another “Walkers are Welcome” sign if you’ve managed to follow the path up the hill) but in any case turn right and follow this larger path as it runs roughly parallel to the perimeter of the woods. This section is good for bluebells in late spring. The path takes you firstly through some old plantation areas and then under a more open area with old beech trees. The path then arrives at another bench, looking out across the valley adjacent to the woods, and then heads downhill close to the wood’s boundary.
At the bottom of the slope you will pass an old corrugated iron shed and then a stream before going over a small rise and dropping back down through dense woods. You will then emerge into a more open area with a big beech tree – you are coming out on the track you ignored at the beginning! Turn to the left and re-trace your steps past the fenced sink hole and back to the entrance of the woods. From there go back over the railway line and follow the route back into the village.