Discovering a New Wood on a Beautiful Afternoon.
At the beginning of Lockdown we joined the Woodland Trust, something I had been meaning to do for some while and it seemed an appropriate moment. From all of the reading I have done, it seems that one of the best ways to help the climate emergency is to plant more trees and look after the 'wood wide web'. Both the trees themselves and their associated mycorrhyzal fungi are one vast carbon sink and we need to look after them. This wood wide web comprises millions of fungi and bacteria in a network surrounding the roots of trees, forming a vast interconnected web of organisms throughout woods. They swap nutrients between soil and the roots of trees and transmit chemical messages from one tree to another, from one end of a wood to the other. Scientists have mapped this web on a global scale, using a database of more than 28,000 tree species living in more than 70 countries.
Looking for a new location to walk I looked at local woods in the Woodland Trust information and came across Nettleton Wood. This is somewhere I had always known, but always thought was private so on Sunday afternoon we launched out to explore. The woodland trust section was purchased in 1981 at which time it consisted of half, open grassy heath and secondary oak and birch woodland. The open grassland is now a mixture of young birchwood and open space. The remainder is a natural secondary woodland of silver birch and oak, including a small remnant of the original oak planting from the 19th century interspersed with small woodland glades. Adjoining the Woodland Trust section is a Forestry Commission scots pine woodland with quite open stands of trees.
We followed the main path through the wood which went in a long curve from the scots pine section through the oak and birch woodland to the A46 at the far end. Walking through the open pine section was reminiscent of a cathedral while moving into the broad-leaved section we wandered into a sea of green: bight bracken green and the fresh acid-green of new birch and oak leaves. The sun shone through the wood making the colours sparkle; it was beautiful. It's a pity that I hadn't discovered this wood earlier when I was producing my body of work on walking in woods for my photography degree. As we wandered through I was already filing away ideas for future photography session: early misty mornings with perhaps deer peering through the bracken, rich autumn colours, close detail images and micro landscapes. It seemed an ideal wood on sandy, heathy terrain, for nightjars, I wonder......
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