Local historian Jack Whitehead, shared with us his memories of Coldfall Wood when growing up on the Coldfall Estate when it was first built in the 1920s.
Here are some lovely comments sent to us via our website – thank you!
If you would like to share your memories, we would love to hear from you.
I’m pleased to tell you that I, my husband and dog paid a visit to Coldfall Woods last week and all enjoyed our visit.
I was amazed that although it must be almost 45 years since I last regularly walked around in the woods that I remembered almost every part of the area, as if it were yesterday. The only things that had changed – apart from the height of the trees which now appear enormous! – were the bridges and walkway that have been erected, and the birdlife as I honestly cannot ever remember seeing crow’s in the woods and definately no parakeets back in the day. Lovers lawn appeared much less open than years ago, but lovers lane was less overgrown, as I remember it, however as stipulated on the information posters it would appear that some woodland management will be carried out to re-establish it back to its former state.
The only ‘blot on the landscape’ for me – and I appreciate that in this modern age things have to be this way for security reasons – was the perimeter fencing around Coldfall Primary School, as in the days of my childhood there was a rustic wood fence which ran the whole length of the school land and included a wooden gate which on the occasion of very hot days would allow us as a group of schoolchildren to have the occasional lesson with our teacher in one of the gladed area’s within the woods. Its just a shame that the choice of barrier had to be concrete and the awful blue railings. At least that is the only area affected as the original railings and the main gate with the ‘Coldfall Woods’ sign look much more attractive and inviting.
We also thought all the information posters were very helpful and were a great testament to all the hard work and enthusiasm that the band of willing helpers must put in to keep the area so natural and unspoilt. It was also amazing to see how many other people were around in the woods when we visited – considering it was a weekday morning – I honestly don’t think in all the years I regularly spent time there I ever encountered as many people in the same period of time. Again it must be a sound testimony that others find the experience a safe and enjoyable one, as in this day and age we all need quiet and pleasant spaces to relax and ensure inner peace.
We certainly will be back to visit again in the future. Well done to the avid team who keep the woods looking so good.
Dear Friends of Coldfall Wood,
What an absolute delight it was to discover your wonderful website and valuable organisation, dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of a unique and valuable piece of woodland that was for many years a significant part of my childhood. My maternal Grandfather, Edward Hipwell ‘Ned’ was head keeper of the wood for a number of decades from the 1940’s to the 1970’s and for all that time lived with my grandmother in ‘The Lodge’ deep down in the woods below Creighton Avenue.
I spent many a weekend running wild in the woods, as children were able to do in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was always a mystery to me, even as a child, how a dusty busy capital city such as London could offer such a tranquil and rural oasis, where, even outside of the wood, the pavements were pink and the people so polite.
I have many memories of my frequent visits not least of which was the incredibly steep path that led from the black gates fronting Creighton Avenue vertically down to the house and I recall opening the gate at the bottom and bravely riding the scooter at breakneck speed down the vast approach, through the gate, across the rear of the house and the greenhouse and out the other side, through the security gate and into the wood, beyond the public toilet block, finally coming to rest alongside a stream. I used to have timed races with my cousin to see which of us was faster.
Often, at dusk, I’d accompany my Grandfather with a large bunch of keys and help ring the bell and then lock up the Woods for the night. My overriding memory was the smell of the damp wood that mercilessly percolated The Lodge such that everything smelt and felt damp in their little house. Condensation would pour down the satin walls of the kitchen as my Grandmother prepared the Sunday roast, and I was often tearful of the suffering of both my Grandparents in that cold damp abode which affected their severe arthritis as they advanced in age, but at the same time it was, for them, a piece of Ireland from whence they came and for us a happy home filled with love and laughter and a lot of Irish music and dancing.
There were occasions when, as children, we’d be invited by the owner of the neighbouring property, one elderly but erudite ‘Mr Spring’, to visit his garden and be introduced to his wonderful flowers and trees and we’d hunt for the wildlife which had made a home in his garden. Yet it was those playful afternoons of utter freedom, left alone in Coldfall Wood to investigate nature, as a child ought to be able to do that stays with me forever. Climbing trees was a favourite pastime of mine, as was floating paper boats on the fast-flowing stream. Memories…
Coldfall Wood was a significant part of my early life and I am delighted to see it is well preserved and much improved.
Mrs Frances Wilshere