Woodhouse Ridge

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I’ve grown to love the Ridge over the last few years. It’s a deceptively big place. On the face of it just a narrow strip of wood between the tightly packed terraces of Woodhouse and Meanwood Road in the valley bottom, it’s criss-crossed with paths, each of which has a slightly different character. I’ve seen a pair of jays here, an owl once, endless squirrels, and because of that maybe, it’s a foxes paradise. Lucy Newlyn’s poem Bandstand is here next to the remains of the old Victorian bandstand. At one end you’re almost at Sheepscar, easy distance to the town centre. At the other you can slip across Grove Lane in Headingley and stay on foot paths out to Golden Acre Park. I’ve walked dogs here in frosty Winter, dug Hannah’s allotment in Spring, recorded birds at dawn in Summer, walked back one dark night in a storm from Wheatfields hospice at Halloween. It’s always the same and it’s never the same. When I read The Wisdom of Wilderness, the book Quaker psychiatrist Gerald May wrote just before he died, I was convinced by his argument that we all need a bit of wilderness to keep us sane. This is the nearest I get to it in my daily life. Terry

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