When you leave the rail track and follow the stony path downhill it takes you down past larch and spruce plantations, that have a wonderful scent of resin on a winter's day.
After heavy rain, all the way down you are never far from the sound of water cascading down from the hillside in the feeder streams that drain into the reservoir
...until you reach Backstone Bank wood, an ancient semi-natural woodland of oak, holly and birch that's now an SSSI.
The path through the woodland skirts the edge of the reservoir and is popular with birdwaters. There are sandpipers here in summer, geese and ducks on the reservoir and woodland birds that include redstarts and pied flycatchers. This, incidentally, is the point where we crossed paths with that magnificent pheasant that I mentioned in an earlier post.
At this time of year the brightest green is confined to the woodrushs - still flattened from the winter snow - and new growth of mosses.
The oaks are rooted in poor soil in a severe climate so growth is very slow. Near the end of the walk through the wood we came across this stump that had been cut, presumably to remove a tree that had blown down in the recent gales. We gave up counting the annual rings after we got to 100 but they are each notably narrow - testament to the short growing season.