Monday, February 21, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

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.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

On Chestnut Farm

This afternoon I drove to Cheddar - not to buy cheese, nor to see caves or a gorge. The occasion was the first meeting of a Stained Glass workshop, being taught by Richard Pelham of Glastonbury Stained Glass . There were twelve of us, so my fears that the class might not be adequately subscribed were not realised, and I spent a very happy few hours revisiting the pleasures and frustrations of cutting glass (it being nearly a decade since I last practiced this activity). Practice is definitely required, but how enjoyable it was! Richard is a very good teacher who demonstrates and explains the processes very clearly. The company was also excellent, and the surroundings delightful. As I was leaving, I noticed this piece of recycled metal art and a bit of interesting fig topiary across the courtyard,
Posted by Picasa