The Well in the Wood
Two housing estates now occupy where once grew
Ryland Wood. The name is preserved in one of the estates,
‘Ryland Wood’ which is situated on the site of Ryland Wood
Upper, while the ‘Old Forest’ houses stand in Ryland Wood Lower,
or, ‘the Lower Wood’ as it was known.
Near the entrance to the upper wood was the
quarry from which stones were procured for road mending, and a
mechanical stone-breaker stood there for many years. Another
housing estate was erected at the quarry land.
Walking up by the right-hand side of the quarry,
one proceeded among a little pathway, along which were fraughan-bushes,
until one reached ‘the well in the wood’ where one could get a
drink of ice-cold water. It was a favourite place for young
people to have a picnic. Picking fraughans was also a favourite
On the roadside below the upper wood was a large
boulder in the ditch known as ‘the Grey Stone’, a landmark for
those walking ‘the wood road’. The stone is still
although the ditch
has been removed.
Another favourite walk was through the lower wood
which was entered by a gate opposite the quarry gate. Walking
along the pathway, one came to a small stream which had its
source in the well in the upper wood. Coming to another gate,
one could proceed down ‘Fry’s Lane’, so named after the Church
of Ireland minister who lived in the Rectory, Rev. William
Robert Baker Fry (1901-194-). Older generations knew it as
‘Archdale’s Lane’ — so pronounced, named from Canon Fry’s
predecessor, Rev. John Charles Archdall, (1836-1897). From Fry’s
Lane one emerged on to Ryland Road.
Blasting was carried out regularly in the quarry,
and during that operation children were kept indoors in case of
flying boulders. The sound of the blasting could easily be heard
in the town. Explosives were kept in a strongly-constructed
concrete little house in Ryland Wood near the quarry.