30 thoughts on “Hawes(Ossie)Woods c1975

  1. Last week I took a walk through the Ossies Wood starting at the signal box on Blakestone Lane. I have a dog now and I was surprised to be able to walk along the footpath runnning through the wood. At school we did cross country running in there. I used to cycle through there, and we even rode motorbikes along the path. At the bottom end near to Blackwells Farm I came to a halt because there is a big fence. Behind the fence is Harpers Golf course, who have done a great job of landscaping the whole farmland. Now that houses are being built on the old Redland Tiles site I wonder what will become of Hawes (Ossys) wood in say 10 years time. We could do with a nice wooded walkway with a stream running through it to get the public out of their cars and enjoying the countryside. I would think though that the houses will spread and the trees will disappear in time.
    From what I see when walking around Harpers Golf Course it looks like we will be seeing the Golf course extended near to the entrance on Blakestone Lane. It’s lovely to be able to walk from my home right round the Billingham Beck Valley. I hope the course is not going to stop the public right of way.

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  2. I had a nice walk round Blakeston lane on sunday. I see they are busy at the Redland Tiles
    old road putting the mains in for the housing estate. I then had a walk past what we called ‘Seggy wood’. I was really pleased to see a large hare in the field that I crossed towards The Wash. I had a sit down at what we called ‘Kennedys Point’ on the Billingham Beck where I watched a spotted woodpecker and a curlew. I noticed a lambs carcess in the field and wondered if the black panther or just a fox had been stripping the meat of the lamb. Walking towards Calf Fallow lane I still can’t believe how many houses are popping up around that part of the Billingham Beck valley. I watched a blue tit feeding its young in a nest box put up on a tree near one of the stables. Then I walked up Station Road and back to Roseworth along the busy Junction road.

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  3. Bob Harbrons comment stirred my memory cells, I remember camping with 1st Norton scouts about 1935. I had a lovely cricket bat which was given to me by C.T.Boyes, a Stockton 1st team batsman. One night round the camp fire some idiot used my cherished bat to poke the fire.

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  4. Ozzy Wood was where i saw my first cuckoo when i was a schoolboy.
    There used to be tree creepers and mallards down at the wetter end. I suppose the Caste Eden Walkways are what we have now, but its very rare to hear a cuckoo round here.
    The last one I heard was over near the Carlton area.
    Lets hope we get a bit more heat than in past years.
    I was in Wynyard Estate about three weeks ago and I saw a green woodpecker, a tree creeper,
    and a jay. It was covered in snow but it was nice looking at the Hall and the frozen lake.
    Sir John Hall is opening his rose gardens which should attract tourists to the area it was really nice to be able to visit a Deer Park .
    I wonder how the place will look in 10 years time with houses and factories popping up everywhere .

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  5. ‘Ozzie Wood ‘, what memories to ex scouts of Stockton and District as this was the local Camp-site and was looked forward to by local troops as to-days youngster would look forward to a visit to Disney World….

    During the 1930s it was pehaps the only holiday-break the lads would have, (a day at Redcar or Seaton with the family was the height of travel).
    1st Norton had its share of this site Sat to Friday, with tents and equipment Trek-Carted’
    (Turner ,Painter and Decorator two wheel single-shaft ladder barrow ) pulled by teams of scouts down Station Road Calf-Fallow to the camp site ,where earler groups had set out tent and cooking areas. Water was obtained from a spring to the south of the wood, eggs , milk and veg from Hawes farm to the N E of the plantation. One of the exercises was ‘speed running’ when teams were sent to Norton for bread and groceries ,each attempting to beat the others time. The woodland supplied material for all types of wood-craft , from shelters to bridge building , the only thing no tree was to be cut or damaged without owners permission , the scouts leaving their bridging and sheltering timbers scattered in the woodland after the exercise, ready for the next group. Beans, Bangers and Bacon, Corned-beef and Corn-Flakes seemed the most popular .
    Looking back it never seemed to have rained !!

    Re the name ‘Cuckoo Railway’ was often used during the 1920s,refered to the first cukoos heard in the woodland around the signal-boxes of Norton Junction
    This section was also known as ‘Fuzzy-Railway’ which dates back to George Fossick , who put the line and embankment from Norton Junction to Stockton Wharf in 1834

    *Pleased to note a cuckoo was heard in this section in 2010

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  6. I drove up the Redland tiles road the other day and it reminded me of walking, running or on the pushbike entering the muddy footpath through the trees.
    The water is still flowing in the beck and there is a small pond just below the house.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to see a pond created for the wildlife when the houses get built. Or is that just me dreaming….

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  7. Thanks Terry, I’ll look out for the pillbox next time I’m down Blakey Lane – do you remember that there was another pillbox protecting Norton West crossing, as you crossed the railway heading towards Thorpe it was situated in the field immediately after the turning into Redland Tiles. It was demolished in the late 1970’s – early 1980’s. Norton Junction must have been an important area to defend during WW2 as the junction was used by a massive amount of mineral traffic feeding the Industries of Teesside, also it was an alternative route if the main line through Darlington was damaged – strange then that from the late 1950’s I can only remember the two previously mentioned pillboxes around the junction, possibly other defences were of a less permanent nature or maybe some were removed during the building of Roseworth – hopefully some Picture Stockton contributors may have more information.

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  8. I used to go to Ozzie woods in the early 60s, everyone talked of the realy big newt in the pond. There was an old car dumped in the pond and I used to climb on it to look for the newt. I saw it one day, it was big. I lowered my net in and moved it slowly to the newt, I made a scoop for it and nearly got it, but it got away. I dont think it was ever caught. I was also fired at with an air gun walking through the woods.

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  9. Yes Dave, the concrete pillbox you refer to near the crossing is still there. You can clearly see it if you drive up(or down) Blakeston Lane . Not sure whether it is still accessible though. There are a few similar ones around near Thorpe Thewles.

    I never ventured back into Ozzy Wood after someone fired an air rifle at me – I have never run so fast in my life !!

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  10. The concrete pill box at Norton West was our den in the cold winters of the early 1960’s – as many train spotters will remember on a Sunday the line from Stockton to Ferryhill via Norton West was used as a diversionary route for the Main Line trains – this resulted in a procession of top link locos/passenger trains passing through Norton Junction & what better vantage point to witness these events than the roof of the concrete pillbox. Even better on a freezing cold day was sitting round the camp fire in the cosy interior of the pillbox while waiting for the next train to pass by.
    We would usually meet early on a Sunday morning at Norton West level crossing or on Foggy bridge, those with paper rounds usually turning up a little later. Once the group was assembled we would walk through the field alongside the track to the pillbox were the first job was to light a fire inside, usually with lumps of coal from the trackside or thrown from a passing engine by a friendly fireman. Food would be what could be found in the adjacent fields, usually swedes or potatoes, which would be cooked to a cinder in the heat of the fire – sometimes someone would bring a few slices of bread which would also end up being cooked to a cinder!!
    As seemed to be the norm in those days we stayed out all day except for a quick dash home for dinner, the dash home being taken during the ‘dead hour’ which was a time when very few diverted trains supposedly passed through the junction. Living near to Norton West allowed me to get back to the lineside fairly quickly which resulted in me witnessing two ‘dead hour workings’ that no one else saw or would believe, Brit 70009 ‘Alfred the Great’ on a New Years Day coast route southbound parcels & D223 ‘Lancastria’ on a northbound diverted parcels.
    How times have changed at the Junction – the site of the pillbox is now surrounded by housing and a Golf course, Ozzy wood & the farm fields have totally disappeared. I’ve passed through the Junction on a diverted train as recently as last month but was unable to see if the pillbox was still there, certainly there was no longer any train spotters stood on Foggy bridge or at Norton West crossing to witness the passing of a diverted train. Train spotting is now ridiculed as being the pastime of anoraks yet how different it was in the early 1960’s when most boys & their friends spent a great deal of their leisure time at the lineside.

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  11. I remember the concrete Pillbox that was over to the right of the Blakie signal box along side the tracks. A remnant of the war years. I recall one winter some ‘older’ kids had set up a fire inside using coal that had dropped from passing steam trains or perhaps ‘nicked’ from the signal box. Being very young, I and my mates, felt that we were special in being allowed to sit and chat with these old kids… a very strict age heirearchy in those days.

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  12. Ossy wood!! I must have spent nearly all of my early childhood playing in there. For kids from Roseworth it was a dream having Blakeston lane on the doorstep. We used to go on our bikes; Ozzy wood, Seggy wood or all the way to Devil’s Dip at the Thorpe Thewels end of the lane. We used to have great fun riding the main tracks in Ozzy wood. No Mountain Bikes back then, we had big cow-horn handlebars and just a back brake cos we all thought we were Speedway riders as we were big Teeside Tigers fans back in the day! I loved the pond, fantastic wildlife. I remember being really excited at finding Great Crested Newts; a protected species nowadays.

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  13. I Passed the entrance at Blakestone Lane where as a schoolboy Redland Tiles used to make tiles for roofing and employed a lot of foreign workers.
    We used to play in the woods around there and collected frogs and newts out of the pond at Redland tiles.
    Now it looks like houses are being built on the reclaimed land which held Blakestone Lane Car Boot Sale not so long ago.
    I wonder who will be buying them houses. More of our countryside disappearing.

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  14. I got a shock when I first saw people playing golf round the fields that were Ozzy woods when I was at school.
    Then we have the Blakestone Car Boot Sale on the site where the frogs and the newts and all the tiles used to be made.(Redland Tiles).

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  15. I too used to go fishing at Ozzies wood. I used to catch newts, frogs and sticklebacks. It was a great place to be and I have fond memories of the place. Alas, all gone now.

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  16. I have recently just read about the history of the railways at Junction Road at Blakestone Lane. What a busy place that must have been. I tried to get a bus to Thorpe Theweles last Sunday to have a drink with old friends and have learnt they have been taken off. I think its time they used these old railway lines to take the cars of the road at rush time and snow.

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  17. I used to collect frogs and newts at ossies wood, I used to pass through the woods on my way to the Billingham Beck which we Knew as the Wash. I caught my first Brown Trout out of a pool we new as Kennedies point, where we used to swim and pitch a tent and sleep overnight. That fish is responsible for my intrest in fishing to this day and I still have permission from the landowners to fish the beck. Lovely part of the Tees Valley on our doorstep that a lot of people ignore.

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  18. Did you ever see a pig fly? – Up Blakeston Lane past Ozzie Wood and up to the second wood, just before you get there on the right before the bend on the left. I saw it in the field a pig, jumping over furrows in the field; it had a yellow straw hat on tied under the chin with ribbon, a red cloak and four yellow boots on. I looked at Howard and he looked at me, then I did a runner down the road towards Blakeston Hall closely followed by Howard, when I stopped running he said what the, did you see it, yes, but what were you running for, it was only a little pig being chased by a farmer, what farmer all I saw was the pig. If you think for one minute I was going to tell anybody what I saw, all forgotten about. One day dad was reading out aloud an article in the gazette, young adults found naked dancing around a bonfire at the dead of night in….. It is believed they had been eating mushrooms they had found in the woods and were hallucinating, lump in throat and a big swallow. Roy.

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  19. Blackberry Picking. – Looking for brambles at the roadside and along beside the rail tracks, wasn’t this a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, not! Blackberry juice from finger tips to wrists and from ear to ear dripping off your chin, I hated them, but the others ate them so I wasn’t going to be left out was I. The bramble bushes at the side of the tracks were the size of bungalows and just for something different dad said follow me, under the bramble bushes, it was like being in a very small over grown wood and looking through the gaps you could see hundreds of big ripe brambles as big as your fist, well my fist I was only a little boy in short pants, never go blackberry picking in short pants it hurt. But I am frightened dad; well it was an eerie place, always remember son there is nothing in this country and these hedge rows that can hurt you, (him spending a long time in India) there were spiders webs in here the size of my mam’s net curtains, didn’t look good and I was still scared. My brother said dad look at the size of that, dad said where has our Roy gone, I knew where I was and it wasn’t with the rest of the family. Roy.

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  20. Hello Roy Parkin – Did you have a sister and live in Renvylle Avenue just at the bottom of Rockall Avenue? Look forward to your reply.

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  21. Going up to Ossie wood for the day to have picnic with a slice of jam and bread each and a bottle of Spanish water between us, all in a brown paper carrier bag (no ozone nasty plastic bags then) and if it rained before you got there and the carrier bag disintegrated the jam sandwich was eaten there and then and the bottle of Spanish water was carried to be consumed later. No smashing of bottles then or throwing in to the pond, bottles then were a sauce of obtaining sweets, take the glass bottle back to the shop and get sweets in return. I think Lowcox still do this.(give a deposit back, not sweets) A lot to be said for returning glass bottles for a refund. Roy.

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  22. I think half of Roseworth Estate used Ossie Woods as a playground. When you entered behind the signal box along the top track, if you looked down to the left through the trees you often saw the odd Redland Tile truck go by on the road below. It always made me feel that we were trespassing and would be chased out by the drivers. The highlight of the woods was after you had gone a third to halfway in, travelling down and across to the left and to Ossie Pond. From what I remember the pond on the nearside had a barbed wire fence along it. I remember this because some nasty individuals used to hang frogs upside down by their back legs on the barbed wire. There was a footpath right round the pond. On the right hand side about a third of the way along there was a flat piece of land sticking out into the lake, it seemed at its shallowest here. When you went to the far side, the top left hand corner and was out of site from your first sighting of the lake. The top end always seemed the deepest and most dangerous to me. Having said that, it didn”t stop us running over the ice when the pond was frozen. At times you could hear the ice creaking. We must have been mad. I used to go down the woods with Eddie Lee and Steve Martin from Raglan Close. I too when going to the boot sale along Blakestone Lane looked for the pond. The track into the boot sale is that used by the Redland Tile Trucks. The concrete standing must have been Redland Tiles land and straight on was where the pond must have been. It has all been levelled off and the trees have gone. Its a pity because it was a great place for wildlife.

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    • Are you Paul Moody’s brother I’m Frank Corking I went to RSM school and played football for them. I worked on the farm at the end of ozzey woods and then Redlands Tiles and then Peacock Haulage also roamed the woods all my youth, even the bad times were good as they say.

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  23. In the late 1970s it was possible to see an occassional both concrete and wood sleeper of the narrow-gauge railway laying in the undergrowth and a the rusted frame of a wagon. I belive they were either horse drawn or man pushed out of the wood onto the main-line and were first used during the building of the the “Billingham -Bottom” embankment in the 1830s. Could I also congratulate Lesley Booth for her excellent series of memories on this current days web

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  24. I think people are getting the wrong idea of which is Hawes Wood. This belonged to the Farm owned by John Hawes. From the front of the Farm you crossed the field which was banked and entered the Wood. Some 300 yards through the Wood was a fence which was the boundary to the grounds of Redland Tiles. A lot of years later when I had a family of my own I took this walk with my children and noticed that a lot of the trees were missing and it was more or less graizing land.

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  25. This photograph of the woods was taken around 1975 & shows the trackbed of a long dismantled railway which ran into the woods from the Norton end – as Dave Moody remembers you could access the wood from Junction road by crossing the railway line at Norton East box & following a track down the field & over a small brick arched bridge – at this point you could turn right & follow a track & stream across fields/meadows eventually leading to Norton Castle & Norton Station level crossing. If you turned left after crossing the arched bridge you entered the wood & were faced with the scene in the photograph – the track eventually led to an area behind the large pond inside Ozzie woods. The (narrow gauge) railway was presumably used for removal of sand/clay from the quarry in the wood to the interchange sidings with the standard gauge lines at Norton Junction – it ran out of the wood & through a cutting in the field now covered by the first two holes of Harpers golf course – the small bridge mentioned earlier still survived the last time I attempted to play golf & was being used by the golfers as access between holes

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