Tuesday 14 April 2020

Lockdown Day 22 - Walking the bluebell woods - part 1

After a morning of sowing some courgette and pepper seeds, some beans and re-potting some existing peppers into bigger pots, as well as the usual watering, I felt I needed a walk in the afternoon.
So, today our government authorised (or should I perhaps call it State Sponsored?) walk was up into a local woodland known as Catterton Rash.

 Much of the floor of the woodland is covered in bluebells and at this time of year is absolutely lovely to see!

 I am not an expert by any means on fungi but I love the range of different ones that you can find.

This is some kind of bracket fungus growing on a silver birch tree (possibly Fomes fomentarius??)

The woodland is very peaceful, being quite far from a road and only open fields around it. Somewhere in the woods was a green woodpecker. Having visited these woods for over fifteen years now, this was the first time I have heard one in there, it was a shame we couldn't see it.

Also, there must have been some brush clearance or work since last time we went as I have never come across this ditch before or the boggy marsh beyond. Though at the moment many trees are just coming into bud and so the woods aren't as dense as they will be in the summer.

At the moment, it is vital that we all take the chance to step away from the scrolling news, the social media alerts and chimes, and take the time to relish the quietness of the forest, of the open fields, even parks and woodlands in towns and cities where traffic noise is but a shadow of the normal drone. Obviously keeping to the social distancing and exercise rules set by the Government! I am very glad that I don't live in a city nowadays, although have done whilst at university, and have such beautiful spaces within a few minutes walk or cycle of where I live. You don't need to go racing across the country to stand in a line with hundreds of others to see a rare bird, you don't need to spend thousands on the latest camera or bike to enjoy the nature around us. Indeed for many people just seeing hares race across a field, lapwings sky dancing, hearing a skylark song or the sudden, yet fleeting, glimpse of a deer between gaps in a woodland is a special experience and one that they don't usually get in their concrete filled urban sprawl. Even within cities there are the edge-lands and the corners of parks where birds, insects and mammals get on with their lives unnoticed by the headphone wearing joggers, the sunbathers, and the phone attached teenagers. We were once eating lunch under a tree in Museum Gardens, York and had a wood mouse potter around our feet! An abandoned building plot full of buddleia can be a magnet for butterflies, an unusual moth can appear on your doorstep, pipistrelle bats flit around the rooftops in the twilight of late summer evenings. The webs of dozens of spiders glistening on a garden hedge on a cold morning or rabbits eating their way through the manicured grass of a business park when everyone has gone home.

Nature is all around us, and we need to keep it that way.

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