BSG PHOTO TOUR OF THORNE MOORS PART 2 WOODPECKER CORNER TO WILL PITS VIA ELMHIRST AND PONY BRIDGE
hold cursor over photo for info. This tour leads on from Part 1, from Woodpecker Corner area. Of course there are many routes to the same areas, this is just one of the many possible routes from Woodpecker Corner.
This set of photos covers the southern, but not south most part of this massive reserve. Thorne Moors alone (without Hatfield Moors) is 1918ha or to put it in perspective about 2 miles by 3 miles!
From the Public Footpath on Grange Road (see Photo Tour 1) go to the entrance bridge and Natural England welcome sign. Go straight on and at the first junction turn right along the edge of the moors.
You will have gone around the base of the colliery spoil mounds and will now be heading towards Woodpecker Corner.
After a while you will be directly opposite the end of Jones Cable PRoW (visible across field) this is another access point which comes around the field and base of pit tip from the opposite direction. It is no closer for parking at the other end though (Wilkinson's Avenue).
Woodpecker Corner is the small remnants of a much larger wood (Bluebell) of Oak and Lime with some Beech.
The large Oak trees are good for Woodpecker and Tree Creepers. Siskin and Brambling are regular in winter.
It is possible to walk through the wood parellel to Thorne Waste Drain to an easy to cross server drain. Alternatively after looking around the wood go back to the main mown entrance path and continue on it up the short slope, you are now on Collis's Tram, follow this.
If you take the first option this brings you to Elmhirst pump and wood.
At the pump you can look back at Woodpecker Corner the way you came.
You can also look the other way (SE) along Thorne Waste Drain towards Limberlost.
However on this tour we are tacking the track into the moor Elmhirst Tram to the gate.
This junction at the gate has a path going off to Elmhirst Wood with its single large Pine in dense Rhodo and birch. The other direction beyond the gate is the way you have come.
Heading striaght on from the gate on this Tour we pass other junctions, the next being with a path that leads to the inner end of Collis's Tram (on left).
Looking down that junction towards Collis's Tram. This area can be good for Nightjars. We continue straight on still, however.
Casson's Gardens can be seen on the horizon as a taller birch woodland infested with Rhodo.
The next junction is with Angle Drain, if you go along here it brings you onto Middle Moor Tram about halfway along. But we continue straight on on this tour, you do not turn off since leaving the Elmhirst pump.
There is another junction at Elmhirst/Limberlost peatstack going to Limberlost on the Moors extreme S edge.
This is the overgrown Elmhirst/Limberlost peatstack which we pass still going straight on.
The final junction with Elmhirst Tram is Middle Moor Tram, following MMT would take you near the centre of the Moors where the metal viewing platform.
We continue straight on as the path now becomes known as Pony Bridge Tram, views over Middle Moor to our left can be had.
Opposite Pony Bridge Wood the area to the left (N) of the tram is now known as Pony Bridge Marsh.
There is a path off Pony Bridge Tram along the W edge of Pony Bridge Wood called Lonesome Pine track but it is often overgrown, this takes you to the S edge of the moor and you can then go either way.
We continue straight on still, now with Pony Bridge Wood on our right (or left in photos looking back).
The wood is flooded and full of birch and willow, most of it is not accessible.
There are hybrid willows known as Basford Willows here and at Will Pits.
There is a junction to a path that heads N into Pony Bridge Marsh called Bluethroat Tram. Here Bluethroats bred for the first time in England.
Bluethroat Tram looking W,this tram is flooded and very treacherous, do not attempt if not prepared to get wet!
From same tram looking E.
Returning to Pony Bridge Tram we continue straight ahead to the junction at its end with Swinefleet Warping Drain.
This left turn will take us N along Swinefleet Warping Drain to Will Pits Scrape.
From this track views of Crowle Moor can be had.
When you reach the bailey bridge that leads onto Crowle Moor, Natural England's shed is visible further along Swinefleet Warping Drain path.
The bailey bridge and S end of Crowle Moor.
As we walk towards the NE shed along Swinefleet Warping Drain (still) we start to pass a large expaanse of open water called Will Pits Scrape.
This scrape used to be cover with part of Will Pits wood but was destroyed by peat extraction, this area of the wood used to be good for Nightingales.
Will Pits Scrape has many ducks (Mallard, Teal aand Tufted) and Greylag and sometimes Canada Geese. It is the best place on the Moors for Goosander and Ruddy Duck.
Just before NE shed is a path back W called Mervyn's Tram, which takes you along the side of Will Pits Scrape to Middle Moor Tram.
We continue along Swinefleet Warping Drain past NE shed onto the limestone road of Will Pits.
Between the Scrape and the wood is an open area of moor and marsh, favoured by Black-headed Gulls, Marsh Harriers and Hobby. This area can be viewed by taking a narrow track from the limestone road along the side of the wood and around its edge. You will end up back on the limestone road at the other side of its T junction.
In this final picture of the same area Will Pits wood is visible on the right. See the next Photo Tour (3) to see you options from here.