A walk on the wild side


With all the hype the National Trust are putting out about getting back to
nature, come see the countryside etc… we decided to try out the new woodland
walk through the Tyntesfield Estate.


We put Brian our best man on the team to test out one of the new walks.


The report we got back made interesting reading. And with the backup of
photos, we thought we had better share this with our readers.Admittedly we have
no idea if the National Trust is handing out risk assessments prior to the
public starting their rambles. The estate is open to all and there are no
warning signs of hidden dangers.


In light of this lack of warning, we felt duty bound to highlight to those
considering a gentlre stroll some of the potential hazards.

We start with an easy meandering
walk along a wide track that takes the walker past the newly refurbished summer
house and the holiday cottage.

The walker then reaches a point where a gate can be seen in
the distance with a sign on, but nothing else. On approaching the gate, the
irate land owner informs us that the path turns off further back.

We retreated away from his rantings, and left him torturing what looked like
an effigy in National Trust attire. At one point we did think of returning to
him to explain he wasn’t entering into the spirit of the Tyntesfield experience,
but somewhere in my head a voice said leave alone.

Taking an unmarked trail into
the unknown, we proceeded until we reached a point where the track once again
split with no sign. We took a flying guess at this point and went left. This
path took us to a point with a tiny sign pointing right.




It was here we stopped to admire all the clearing work that had been done and
so tastefully piled up onto a fence that marks out the boundaries. This must
have been designed to give privacy to neighbouring land and soften the effects
of harsh wire.

We followed this lightly beaten track until we came to a sign that could have been
slightly misleading. At this point we turned right down a slope but equally we
could have gone straight on. We assumed the sign pointing back the way we came
was for the benefit of those coming from the way we shouldn’t have


By now the ground started to slope away and our pace soon quickened.
It was not until we passed down token effort steps that the real horror loomed
at us.The slight slopping gradient was like the beginning of a roller coaster
ride.The path started to descend so rapidly we never had time to tie a line and
put on a harness for what could have been a pleasurable abseil. Instead our pace
increased as we took in the bone jarring depth of steps.




This was only worsened by the introduction of double depth steps.The double
high steps are usually installed by people who have not got the basic skills in
construction management and cannot mathematically work out the going and rising.
No disgrace here, after all no one’s perfect.

Alternatively, the double
depth steps were obviously introduced to somehow dislocate any hip replacements
and jarr the most healthy of backs into submission. It is at this point I must
emphasise this is not a route for prams, buggies, persons with vertigo, or flat
bottomed shoes. It may be wise to stop and fix contact lenses with super glue
before descending.


By now gravity was pulling so hard my upper torso had surged well ahead of my
legs. It was after I lurched down the sixth double step totally out of control,
with my life now flashing before me, I hurled myself to one side and came to
rest under a tree. My ears finally popped and I thought what an ideal spot for a
first aid post with distress flares.


Helping each other up we made our way down the steps to a point where the
path splits – but again no signs.Being at a cross roads in the woods, we could
see the steps descending down and that’s the way I decided to go, advancing
forthwith the effects of detatched retinas.I was suddenly pounced on and held

This was in
fact to stop me from stepping onto a flight of steps that were incomplete,
missing and very dangerous. Should anyone make the mistake of stepping out, then
death could have been the outcome.



Clinging to a tree, and skidding down a severe slope I managed to reach the
remaining steps.Looking back up towards the unfinished section, it was easy to
see that the constructors of this path had run out of ideal of how to finish
them. Obviously problem solving is not on the person’s CV. When the steps
finally petered out, the ground slowly evened out to a gentle slope – please be
aware of being hit from behind by those that failed to see the missing steps.

The track took
us to a road with no direction signs or crash barriers for runaway prams or
pensioners. We thought to ask at the house in front but guessed they probably
get get pestered all the time. As we didn’t have to phone for an ambulance this
time, it may pay to wait until we try this path in the wet.Our overall
experience of this walk was marred by the lack of thought with the steps, and
the lack of signage for directions.The whole path could have been formed as a
slow snaking construction, from bottom to top. This would have given access to
those with difficulties, after all that’s what the National Trust is all about
isn’t it?

Magical mystery tour, danger and an abseil – the National
Trust brings Tyntesfied to a whole new generation of thrill


We feel this route may suit the more adventurous, and who knows, you may even
come across the odd missing manager, while finding your way out of the woods.The
pictures do not emphasise the gradient of this walk, but we have tried to be as
accurate as possible