Saturday, 2 November 2013

To the woods

A lovely half term morning, too good to be missed.  Blue sky, dazzling sun, but rain forecast for the afternoon.  We went to explore our local community woodland.

It's on the edge of town, within walking distance of our house (in fact the town is small, and everything is within walking distance of our house, which I like).  On the way we passed the new allotments.  There was a campaign for quite a long time for the local authority to provide more allotments, as the waiting list for the main site was about seven or eight years long.  To their credit they did finally come up with this little site.


It's only one plot deep, with maybe a dozen plots in total.  It's at the edge of a field, so I don't know if there's scope to expand.  It was good to see it's been fenced now, because before there was a problem with dogs, who are regularly walked along here, running amok across the site.  The main difficulty I can see with  having a plot here is that there is no water.  I really don't know how they managed in the hot part of the summer.  One day on my plot I used an entire water butt of water.  I also have a feeling that sheds aren't allowed, which makes life a bit trickier too.  But it is good that new allotments have been created, and people are clearly putting in lots of work there.

Just past the allotments is the entrance to the woods.


There's a map available and a figure of eight trail, which is numbered all the way round.  Hunting for the next number entertained the little people, but it did mean that one or two of them were racing on ahead, while the eldest wanted to go slowly and look for birds.  At times I was in the middle unable to see any of them.

Early on there was a climb to the hilltop, and this lovely view.


Still quite green, but the trees are mostly turning to their autumn colours now.  Then it was back into the woodland.



There were still a few sloes clinging to the blackthorn bushes.



And in this glade there was a huge apple tree, with four trunks, that had littered the ground with little apples.  I tried one and it was good - sweet and really juicy.  Not quite tangy enough to be perfect, but certainly nice enough to eat.  No doubt some forest dwelling creatures are enjoying them when noisy boys aren't around.



The littlest boy is wearing the belt from his bathrobe tied round his head in the style of a ninja.  He went all round the out of town shopping centre like this as well earlier in the week, when we went looking for a few necessities (mainly trousers that fit constantly growing legs).  It intrigues me how he has always been  concerned with what he wears.  The others have usually been happy to put on whatever is available.  But he has his own ideas of how he will be dressing.  And some of those ideas are quite individual.  No blending in with the crowd for this little man.  A sharp hat, sunglasses with woolly gloves, a good bag, a superhero costume, he's done it all.  There is nothing he likes more than going through his stuff and putting together an outfit.  I think he'd dress up every day if he could.  He puts it all on and then literally skips down the road, exuding joy.  Utterly invincible.  There are many lessons I could learn from him I think.

Back in the woods we found this most amazing beech tree.



Underfoot it was deliciously crunchy from all the beech nut cases.  Most of the nuts were gone, squirrelled away no doubt.  Someone intrepid had put planks high up in the branches.  The start of a tree house maybe.


Trees like this take my breath away.  So vast and majestic.  I hope we're planting enough of them so that our great-grandchildren will be able to stand underneath them and marvel.

The textures of the woodland were beautiful, especially against that blue autumn sky.



Winter is next up, and I love it.  I didn't used to, but now that we live nearer to the countryside I've found that I really do.  There's something beautiful about the turning of the seasons.  The winter feels very cleansing.  A time for the slate to be wiped clean.  Life pared down to mere survival for wild creatures.  The search for food in the short daylight hours, then shelter against the long cold night.  The miracle of the tiniest bird surviving in a vast icy landscape.  And I find a country walk in the winter puts me in the very best of moods.  There's nothing like coming in to a cosy warm home afterwards either.  So winter, whenever you're ready, bring it on.



NB:  You may have to remind me of all this lyrical waxing about winter in a couple of months time, when I'm stood watching yet another football match in a subzero force ten gale with horizontal rain soaking through every layer and feet and hands so cold they hurt.  Yes, if you could remind me about all of the poetic stuff then, that would be good.  I can't vouch for what my reply will be.

31 comments:

  1. I have to agree with your disclaimer. I'm excited about it now, but I can't guarantee the same enthusiasm in February. This looks like a lovely walk. My kids would enjoy it too. We took a long walk together in our neighborhood this afternoon, which was very nice. We live in a semi-urban area so there wasn't a lot of nature to be observed but we did see colorful leaves, fallen fruit, pinecones, etc. Your little guy is a lot like my daughter. I don't know where she gets it from because I'm not like that at all. It can be a chore to get her ready in the mornings because she is so sure of herself and won't take any advice. I think these two would get along well.

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    1. I think they would! I do wonder what he'll be like when he's a fashion conscious teenager though...

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  2. It is beautiful - just think what those old trees have been witness to!

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    1. You're right. I love to imagine people back through the ages who have passed beneath their branches.

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  3. What a beautiful day out in the woods, lovely to catch some blue sky & no rain.

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    1. It was wonderful. I'm glad we made the most of the nice weather.

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  4. A most enjoyable autumnal post and photos.
    Working an allotment with no water or shed must be a real challenge. It's as though the council isn't really interested and just provided the land. I hope that the plotholders do make a go of it and succeed. Flighty xx

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    1. You're right, it's far from idea. I'm very impressed with the people who are growing there.

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  5. I find it very hard to get enthusiastic over winter, from now on really, now that the leaves have got all soggy and messy. I shall hibernate!

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    1. That's part of the charm of it I think!

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  6. I could love winter if I didn't have to go anywhere for the duration, ever. Incidentally, it sounds like you might be raising the next Gok Wan... :oD

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    1. Agh! I hadn't thought of it like that, but I think you may be right.

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  7. What a lovely place for a walk. I love Winter too :)

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  8. What a glorious walk. Saturday morning saw me avoiding the rain in Ikea so I think you had the better deal. I like what you said about winter. I find November a glum, damp month but all the posts I'm reading lately - like yours - are changing my mind and I'm really enjoying this time of year.

    Those allotments - no sheds?? Surely the whole point of an allotment is the shed! My whole allotment fantasy revolves around my pretty shed with my deck chair and cup of tea in an enamel cup while bunting flaps in the breeze... (I know, I know...) x

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    1. I have a deckchair! I'm thinking I need an enamel cup now. And definitely some bunting. You would do it in style I think.

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  9. The perfect day for a walk in the woods, such gorgeous blue skies. My allotment site is similar to the one you passed. The plots are one deep and only half a dozen plots on the site. We don't have mains water either, you just learn to catch what rainwater you can and use it economically. Plants don't tend to need as much water as some people think, they become much stronger by putting roots further down in the soil to seek out moisture. Saying that, we've been known to carry bottles of water to the allotment with us from home in times of need.

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    1. I was interested to hear of your experience working on an allotment like this. It is true that we don't often go for long without rain! Your site sounds fascinating - quite tiny. It's lovely that they've made a site in a smaller area I think.

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  10. My no 2 went through a phase of wanting to wear his wetsuit everywhere... you should have seen the looks I got!

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    1. I'm laughing - that's a unique look indeed. Mine has been known to wear his swimming goggles on occasion. They'd make a good pair.

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  11. Brilliant post :) We have a similar wood here and you're reminded me that it's weeks since I set foot there. That must be remedied while it's still autumn. But do you know, I like that wood best in winter, when I can see it's bones. Or in midsummer, in the rain.

    Your little lad sounds like he will go far :)

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    1. I love the winter countryside too. So clean and pared down. I like to go to Westonbirt Arboretum in early summer when everything is incredibly green and new. I imagine it would be magical in the rain.

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  12. Such a beautiful walk! I love that you're so close to this amazing scenery. I bet the boys love exploring there. The autumn colors are breathtaking, and I really loved reading your descriptions of everything. That is wonderful your littlest boy loves to dress up. Seeing children find things that bring them so much joy is infectious:) Hope you have a lovely day!

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    1. Thanks Kari. They did enjoy exploring, especially as it is all fairly new to us at the moment.

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  13. There is nothing like a walk through the woods in the autumn, it was lovely to enjoy this walk with you.
    Sarah x

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  14. A beautiful post CJ. And as you know I love a bot of lyrical waxing!! Wax away. I love Autumn into Winter, and your words and photographs have captured it perfectly.
    As for your little man - God bless the spirit of the individual!!

    Leannne xx

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    1. He is one on his own! So far he has absolutely no problem in standing out in a crowd. I'm more of a blend in at the back kind of person.

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  15. Oh I do love and miss, England! Beautiful photos, CJ!

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  16. What a lovely place, I can see a lot of fun going on in your gorgeous photos!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, I appreciate your comments x

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