This morning I drove through thick fog for an atmospheric early morning stroll back in time, to one of the great medieval forests.
De-la-mere – ‘forest of the lakes’ – is all that remains of the Great Forests of Mara and Mondrem, medieval forests that once extended over 60 square miles of the county of Cheshire, from the river Mersey in the north to Nantwich in the south. Though not entirely covered with woodland this area would have been populated by red deer, fallow and roe deer as well as wild boar and wolves, well into the 14th century. A fox once stepped out onto the path, took one look at my approaching shelties, did a double take, then shot back into the undergrowth.
Little of the ancient woodland survives and Delamere is managed nowadays by the Forestry Commission. Delamere contains a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees. Today, I concentrated my walk around the central feature of these wetlands – Blakemere Moss.
Blakemere Moss was drained in 1815 and a failed attempt to repopulate the area with oak and scots pine was abandoned in favour of restoring the area back to its natural state by clearing the area, re-flooding it and creating a natural wetland environment.
Blakemere Moss originated from two glacial kettle holes – that is, during the receding Ice Ages parts of the glacier broke away and became buried by glacial outwash, creating this distinctive environment.