The moment I leave work, I look forward to it – the crunch of the gravel, the stillness of the air and the changing colour of the landscape. As I lace up my trainers, I cannot wait to reach the bridge from Harold Wood Park and enter Pages Wood – turning my back on my busy day and entering the magical sequence of paths that wind their way around this beautiful green space.
Pages Wood is at the heart of Harold Wood Running Club and we count ourselves very lucky to have such a beautiful, tranquil and often challenging green environment on our door step. Taking the twists and turns of gravel paths, building up speed on the flat sections and pushing our way up the hills, we’re all appreciative of the park that we call our home.
I take a moment upon reaching the top of one of the many hills and embrace the patchwork of greens and browns reaching out in front of me. I close my eyes for a moment and feel the sun on my face and breath in the sweet smells of the wild flowers. I hear nothing apart from birds and insects over the gentle rhythm of the long grass dancing in the wind.
These woods are home to a rich array of colourful butterflies and insects, as well as some not so nice evening mosquitoes with a taste for runners. And hidden throughout the woods are carved wooden statues that I use as markers to show me the way back to the park. As I run along the winding paths, I am often startled with the rustling of bushes and wonder what small creature could be in there, but I can’t stop to look. Pages Wood never fails to amaze me with its’ breadth of life.
It’s on these paths where I have made so many new friends, so they hold a special place in my heart. As a club, we encourage each other to push ourselves, whether that’s running faster or covering more distance, we take time to celebrate in our success when finally making it all the way round without stopping. And strangers who walk their dogs become friendly faces to say hello to over time. We have all grown together into one community and as the protectors of this special place.
Pages Wood is a place where our community comes together to get away from life, to train for our next race or to recover from our previous one. It’s a place where our little community collectively pursues goals, to celebrate our triumphs and to run with friends. It’s a special place for all of our club because it’s a place we always call home.
Harold Wood Running Club
Landscape Character Area