Until last year, I hadn't been to Stapleford Woods since I was a child.
I remember walking through it with my parents as a child, past mysterious signs saying "Station 7" and these massive flappy things for beating out fires - they don't have those any more - and then suddenly we stopped going. I never went again for years and years.
It never left my life however. In my teenage years it became the venue for illegal raves my friends went to, but I never did. I was always hoping to get a secret invite, it would mean I was one of the cool kids. I so nearly did once.
Nearly. But never.
More recently, it became notorious, and still is, for dodgy evening "adult" activites. I'd rather have the raves, to be honest.
More recently, I wanted to visit it for my nature activities, but always thought it was too far away to run to, and too dangerous to cycle to. Luckily, I found that it wasn't, and resumed visiting last year.
It's not that big a wood, but it has a lot of memories, and I intend to explore it much more seriously this year. Even found a little cycle track to ride on yesterday!
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 01.04.16