Friday, 4 November 2016

Catching up

Apologies for the radio silence - I've been here, there and everywhere for the last few weeks!

Just before I headed off on holiday, I squeezed in a beautifully-tranquil visit to Langley Woods NNR. I encountered nobody on my loop through the ancient sweet chestnut and small-leaved lime woodland. All the more chestnuts for me - with pockets and rucksack laden, I continued on, marvelling at the beginning of autumn colours, several species of fungi erupting from the ground, and the distant sounds of rutting fallow deer.

It definitely seemed that autumn followed me on my travels north to Scotland via the Peak and Lake Districts. Thankfully, the traditional rain did not - very lucky! I do love a view, and of course there were many stunning ones to take in, but time away from my patch does make me appreciate it even more. As Scotland is largely coniferous woodland (at least in the areas I visited), I did miss the colours back down south. Luckily, my return journey revealed they were very much in evidence still.

And then, the day after returning via a mammoth drive back from Dumfries, I found myself in Bentley Wood once more. We had originally intended to visit the New Forest, but road closure forced a detour. The colours, berries and fungi were distracting, and we would have got lost if it wasn't for encountering a kindly local resident. Every time I go there I am amazed at how enormous the site is, and how much variety there is - plenty to explore!

Now, as I look out into my garden, the walnut and plum are in the middle of shedding their amber leaves, with the apply not far behind, the leaves forming mirror images of the tree on the ground. Soon they will be bare and the inevitable feeling of digging in and riding out winter will be upon us. No wonder the original pagan festival hijacked by Christmas happens now!

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