Redcar Blog

Keeping it Local

New bridge in ancient woodland

Redcar & Cleveland Council has improved safety on a popular walk by erecting a magnificent new bridge across an East Cleveland woodland beck.

The new wooden footbridge crosses Hagg Beck, on the way from Moorsholm to Little Moorsholm, and also facilitates a circular walk from the former settlement. The old bridge had a habit of wobbling badly as walkers negotiated it, and I’d long lobbied for its replacement.

I can recommend either of the above walks because they both pass through Hagg Wood, a wonderful, ancient woodland, partly owned and managed by the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity with over 500,000 members and supporters. Their vision is to renew people’s love for woods and show the benefits trees can bring to our lives; even more so today, as forestry is increasingly acknowledged as a primary defence against global warming. The Trust has over 1,000 sites, covering 26,000 hectares, including a second Moorsholm location, Cow Close Wood, to the south east of the village.

From Moorsholm, Hagg Wood is entered via an old sandstone trod, commencing at the north end of the village. You descend steeply through thick woodland down to Hagg Beck. The main trees are oak, ash, hazel and cherry. The damp ground nourishes numerous varieties of moss and grass. After crossing the bridge over the beck, the way rises diagonally above its ravine, before ascending steeply to emerge on to undulating farmland.

Moorsholm resident and Trust volunteer, Graeme Aldous, who keeps an eye on their local woods said: “All the Trust’s woods are open for everyone to enjoy, but the dense undergrowth and steep bank down to Hagg Beck means that people are best sticking to the paths. Before it was renewed, I continued risking the bridge on my daily dog walks, but it was getting very alarming to cross.

“One day, my dog, Tia, who is extremely enthusiastic, hurtled across the bridge which bounced and swayed so much that I thought it would collapse beneath her. If a two-stone dog could have that effect, what were the dangers for a full-grown human? So, I was delighted when the council agreed to replace the bridge, especially as the new one is so strong and sturdy. What’s more, it will enhance everyone’s enjoyment of these wonderful ancient woodlands.”

By Cllr Steve Kay