Down in the beech woods, trees that have grown for hundreds of years are reaching the end of life. Others are thriving still, but have formed strange shapes as scars, or as side branches twined into sculpture beneath the bark.
By the downhill path is a beech, where the figure of a man hugs the trunk and seems caught in a spell, growing into the living tree.
A rhino- like beast watches over the woodland.
In the crumbling base of a great branch, severed by age and the storms, a benign old face, like the Old Man of the Woods, peers down over a forest stream.
Ponies have chewed the bark of a younger tree, patterning and damaging.
The wounded tree will form scars and survive malformed, mapped by strange lumps and lines.
Old, dead trees might stand for years as rotting stumps. This one has marked the turning of the path for as long as we have walked here. Suddenly, this summer, it has fallen to the ground.
An ancient neighbour grows bracket fungi in its rotten core........
....while another dead tree is peppered with the holes of drilling woodpeckers. Inside its rotting hollows, insects thrive and will feed the woodland birds for years before the stump finally falls.
Out of the woods, where the air smelled damp and tinged with rotting wood, we walked away onto the hills where heather bloomed purple and fresh after the morning rain.