What better way of celebrating the continuance of public access to forestry land than to take a walk in the woods on a Sunday afternoon in February?
This was an opportunity to visit Stockhill Wood near Wells on the Mendip Hills, run by the Forestry Commission which so nearly lost the right to run it before this week.
The trees are so beautiful and the air so fresh and clean. It is good for the soul to be reminded of the power of nature and that even in the winter there is growth and greenness.
Last year's burdock mimic flowers in form if not in colour.
The coniferous trees make wonderful silhouettes against the grey skies.
A herb robert is already growing vigorously in the shelter of a moss-bedecked fallen tree trunk.
Paths curve away into the wood, choices to be made about directions to be taken.
The grass and the green of the trees glows against the grey browns of the paths and tree trunks and branches.
Other paths are mere tracks between the trees, the paths less often taken...
Dried stems that once bore seedheads mark the spot for the coming summer's growth.
Dried leaves clinging on to branches create a delicate tracery of lace work against the sky.
A different scale: moss, leaves and fungus flourish on the dead wood left to decay on the ground
Catkins remind that spring is on its way.
Moss is growing on the ends of logs piled up beside our path.
Clearly these stones have not rolled for a long time, dressed as they are in their mossy coats.
Stone and tree: the moss does not discriminate.
Ferns are already growing from this mossy stump.
Thistles are pushing through the autumnal carpet of shed leaves in search of the light.
Another tree is adorned, bedecked in catkins like strings of prayer flags for the new year.
A tussocky green mounded clearing appears
and affords views of the little lake across the invisible road.
The trees show glimpses of the terrain beyond their boundary, a hilltop moorland sort of place where once lead miners used to work.
It looks bleak at this time of year, but we are sheltered in amongst the trees.
The glorious trees, reaching for the heavens, reminding us to look up as well as around.