After being cooped up at work all week, leaving and arriving home in the dark, I'm usually desperate for fresh air by the weekend. Last Sunday we decided to go for a walk in the local woods. Chickpea is really not the fresh air and mud type but she does love trees so it wasn't too hard to persuade her.
Despite it being only a mile or so from our house, I was probably school age the last time I visited and I'm really not sure why. Maybe it's because you tend to forget about places close to home or think they can't be as interesting as those further away? I don't know. But, anyway, off we set to explore.
There's a well-marked path through the woods following the meanderings of the brook along the valley. In lots of places, other streams flowed down the slopes into the brook.
The sides of the valley are quite steep in places, with the exposed roots of trees clinging onto the sides.
We amused ourselves looking out for patterns in nature.
The twists and spirals of this log reminded me of strands of yarn.
Some patterns were more obviously man-made. We were curious as to why there were a few steps up to a large log. I'd spotted some fungus I wanted to photograph but it was only as I got closer that I realised someone had carved creatures into the wood.
My favourite was the ladybird who looks like she's about to take a bite from the fungus.
The fungus growing on this log seemed to create a face. Well, I thought so but Chickpea wasn't convinced. What do you think? To me, a mystical woodland creature was waking and pushing its way out of the earth... Well, we were getting tired and hungry by this point!
The woods seemed so bare at first glance but there was so much to discover. It looks deserted in this photo but we passed lots of other people enjoying the air and walking dogs. We were particularly struck by how many nodded and said 'good morning' - it was really lovely, 'just like it must have been in the old days' said Chickpea.
We're looking forward to going back through the year to see how it changes, especially as I discovered that it's one of our increasingly rare scraps of ancient woodland. Hopefully the birds will be more obliging next time too and come down from their perches at the tips of the tallest branches. x