Hob Hey in winter may look bleak and uninviting, but if you look closer, it’s bursting with life. The lack of leaves makes the birds much easier to spot and winter visitors such as the redwing will be munching on berries all day long. The woodland specialists, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and treecreeper will be dashing about looking for food, calling as they do. You’ll almost certainly spot Europe’s smallest bird, the goldcrest, low down among the branches. An evening visit could spot the wood’s resident badgers and foxes hunting for prey, looked down upon by tawny owls doing the same. There have also been signs of muntjac deer and even a sighting of a polecat!
As we get into late winter, green shoots start to appear. Amazingly, these will be of bluebells and wild garlic that, in a few months, will carpet the woodland floor once again.
We are all becoming aware of the vital role green spaces play in the health and wellbeing of people. Forest bathing, spending a quiet hour or so in woodland, relaxing and taking in the surroundings, has proven benefits such as reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. We are very lucky that Hob Hey Wood exists, helping visitors to relax and enjoy themselves whilst supporting an outstanding array of wildlife at the same time. It really is our jewel in the crown.
The wood does need help, however, and The Hob Hey Wood Friends Group was set up by Frodsham Town Council to do just this. If you’d like to get involved, and learn more about the wood, visit the Friends of Hob Hey Wood website.