On a perfect spring evening on Wednesday, I joined other members of the Friends of Skerningham Community Wood for a walk around the site.
More than 12,000 trees have been planted, including oak, ash, birch, willow and hazel. The woodland also provides a home for the rare black poplar, which has been grown from cuttings by pupils in Darlington. This adds to another 9.5 hectares planted three years ago by the neighbouring landowner. The woodland covers the old quarry site and farmland in an arc with the Skerne forming the northern boundary.
Half-way round our walk, we stopped at the newly-constructed Amphitheatre - nothing very Roman, but simply a lovely place to watch performances in the summer, and for the most part to stop and have a picnic.
The views at various points are glorious - the hills to the north are called "The Welsh Mountains" locally, David Lyonette told us, and he should know, having played there as a child.
You can access the woodland from Glebe Road to the west and Barmpton Lane to the east (the old quarry entrance). Read more about the Tees Forest initiative, which maintains the woodland here.
Alternatively, if you would like to be a part of the team that helps develop this wonderful resource, you could becaome a Friend of the Skerningham Community Forest - drop me a line if you would, and I'll pass your details onto the co-ordinator.