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January Walking – To The Trees Edition #14

Part I – Tree Dreaming
Part II – January Walks

Walks this month have been cocooned in the full range of weather, along with the snow, this week was the firs time I sensed Spring in the air with some mild sunny days, and saw it visible in the trees and on the ground. Snowdrops, daffodils and primroses are popping up, hazel catkins are released en masse and I even spotted some early leaves. The next season coming over the distant horizon.

We had a good storm or two, and were touched by a layer of snow this month, which hung around for a day or two, and provided some welcome respite with many taking the opportunity to get out on the slopes, or into the fields to make a snowman. Mine is pictured below!

Everything changes in the snow, the lanes become padded in white, one side of each tree had been crusted with a thin  layer of snow, while the other side remained with bare black trunk, giving the trees an almost embossed appearance in the morning sunlight. I went out for a walk around 8am and as I passed the Wiggly Oak, I was so struck by the beauty that I decided to host a Live snowy tree walk, the video is posted below.

This month, I also took a short trip over to Walton Hill, towards the South of Glastonbury. There I walked in the woods in search of nothing in particular, but finding a hoard of nature’s treasures, including a fine spread of velvet shank and an old rotten branch encrusted with the beginnings of some fine turkey tail mushroom, pictured below.

Velvet Shank growing from Ash – Walton Hill

Turkey Tail Mushroom

At the far end of the first section of woods, before the path turns towards the road, there exists what appears to be an old boundary line. Now lined by a new looking fence, the remaining giant specimens of ash and field maple grow with many trunks, as if having been drastically coppiced, as you can see in the following images. This example of an ash stool is one of the best I have found for highlighting the regenerative power of this tree.

Each of its 5 trunks winds upwards and holds a considerable girth, where the trunks meet in the centre they fuse to form crevices and valleys which lead down into tiny cupped lakes with mossy banks. The stool itself is considerable, and all the branches seem to arise from the same fluted base and fuse together where their surfaces press upon each other, they are also all of a similar size and girth, suggesting that it is part of the same tree that was felled or cut about, only to reshoot.

I would like to imagine that or it was previously a  proud maiden ash that fell or was coppiced, and in perfect ash character, started all over again, releasing new branches with ease from epicormic buds in the stump to create a mighty multi-limbed ash monster, reaching forever up towards the sun.

The jury is out!


This newsletter is made up of 2 articles:

Part I – Tree Dreaming
Part II – January Walks


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Matt Witt

Author Matt Witt

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