Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Woodland Walk in Autumn

Thursday was a dry day. There has been no rain here for several weeks and temperatures are high for late November. I joined two village friends for a walk , new to them, around the ancient beechwoods . I have photographed this walk before, but every time it is different. The trees change with the seasons, the New Forest foals grow up, fungi and berries come and go.

Here is the hill on my header phototograph, with the two tall beech trees almost free of their autumn leaves. We followed the path and turned into the holly wood, where ponies were chewing on the bark of mature holly trees.

The Old Man of the Woods was still there, in his sentry post overlooking the stream.

Along the path, we crossed a stretch of moorland, where heather and bracken had dried to a rusty gold.

Into the beechwoods....

....where the older trees had shed their leaves but the understorey of holly thrived, dark green.

A bracket fungus on a rotting beech stump.

Some of the beeches and oaks in this wood are many hundreds of years old. When they die and eventually fall, their wood is left to rot. The tree becomes a habitat for invertebrates and a feasting ground for insect eating birds.

Little B, my companions` miniature Yorkshire Terrier, came with us on our walk. We were walking for two hours and he did not tire once. In fact he covered twice the ground that we did! The leaf carpeted woodland was a paradise of smells for a small dog and the occasional squirrel chase was the most exciting way to play. The photo is blurry because he would NOT keep still!

Crossing the stream that drains the peaty moorland.

Back towards the holly wood........

The light was low all day, but pinpricks of yellow gorse and scarlet holly berries brightened dull colours of autumn.

We crossed a carpet of crunching leaves....

....and climbed the hill, out onto the homeward track again.


Toffeeapple said...

Another lovely walk. Do the Holly trees suffer as a result of their bark being chewed off by the ponies?

Dartford Warbler said...

Hi Toffeeapple. The holly trees do get badly scarred by the chewing of the ponies, but they often survive with strange shapes where the tree heals itself.

Kath said...

Fab photos. I was interested to read about the little Yorkie, my friend had 2. They were plucky little chaps who went camping and hiking over the Yorkshire dales. Not the little lap dogs a lot of people suppose.

Callie said...

Thank you for taking me on a lovely walk. Lucky me! Such a beautiful place and I enjoyed your commentary on the walk.

Morning's Minion said...

"The light was low all day"---I've been especially noticing the quality of November light this year--the sun, when visible, traces such a low path across the sky. In Wyoming the vistas were so wide and high that even in winter one felt enveloped in light. Here we live in the folds of endless hills and hollows with no distant views and the light is caught and held seemingly close.
A familiar walk has much to recommend it when there is a love of place and a noticing eye.

Mum said...

I love going for walks with you. Such a lot to see.
Love from Mum

Crafty Green Poet said...

lookslike a lovely walk. The horses are beautiful and always nice to see dead wood left to rot, such a valuable habitat as you say

Greentwinsmummy said...

Oh WD I read and looked at the pictures with tears in my eyes, I have such longing to visit the New Forest sigh. I miss it with a physical ache sometimes.
Thankyou for sharing such lovely photos x x x