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November 2009

Autumn in Millstones Wood

A beech (Fagus sylvatica) in Millstones Wood. Big in real life, small in this photo.

You hear a lot of people saying how autumn is their favourite season; how nice the leaves look when they’re red and orange and gold. Well, my favourite season is summer. Autumn always feels sort of sad to me. All the good weather, all those hot summer days… those precious few months when all of the countryside is really alive… they’re history once autumn rolls round. Autumn, when all the while winter looms on the horizon. It’s depressing to think how far away spring waits.

I might have just made my outlook sound entirely bleak, but it isn’t really. A heavy snowfall will redeem a whole winter, and autumn does have a certain melancholic charm. And of course I understand the yearly cycle and appreciate its inevitability. But I can’t dream of a better fantasy than one perfect, eternal summer.

Photos taken on Saturday the 31st of October.

A large part of the wood is dominated by beech. Beech leaves decompose a lot more slowly than those of many of the other broadleaved species in Britain. That might be the main reason why the floors of beechwoods have relatively little vegetation compared with other flavours of woodland.

The sky was overcast so the light in the wood wasn’t very good. An old post has some photos that I took on a wander in nicer weather in October 2008 if you’re into that kind of thing.

Is it a beech tree? Is it a space tentacle?

A lovely beech.

A mushroom growing in a patch of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). I reckon it belongs to the same species as the mushrooms in the previous post, but that doesn’t help matters seeing how I dinnae know what bloody species they are.

Eurolarch (Larix decidua): the best non-native, naturalised, deciduous conifer going.

A beech leaf glows orange beneath a wee pool in the crook of a bough-trunk juncture.

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The forty-first edition of the Festival of the Trees is over at Blog do Árvores Vivas. Go read!

Posted in Gone for a walk


Feel like a tourist out in the country
Once this whole world was all countryside.

- from Glass, by Julian Casablancas (Phrazes for the Young)

Posted in Quotes

A late autumn’s afternoon wander (Part 1)

These rubbery-looking mushrooms were growing out of a dead part of the split oak on Whitwell Moor. The split oak is an English oak (Quercus robur).

Photos taken yesterday.

Lichen growing on a nearby oak that is still managing to hold on to its leaves.

The wee mushroom here was growing from a dead branch overhead. Unusual place for a stalked mushroom, I thought.

A lovely turquoise lichen with bonus pinky-red bits. The dark green crust growing all around the big lichen is lichen too.

These tiny orange brackets were growing out of a dead branch on the ground beneath the oak. Their undersides look sort of bristly.

Tiny mushrooms growing under the big tree that is the mother of the treeblog Set C birches.

These two bigger shrooms were growing close by…

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As usual when I put up photos of mushrooms, I’ll tell you I’m pants at identifying mushrooms and then ask for your help.

I’m pants at identifying mushrooms. Help me.

Posted in Gone for a walk

A late autumn’s afternoon wander (Part 2)

Autumnal larch (Larix decidua) needles.

Photos taken on Sunday the 15th of November.

To Whitwell Moor…

Could this be… a golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)? Y-yes?

Mycological bird-bath.

These are immature amethyst deceivers (Laccaria amethystea). I know they are because I overhead some people in the woods say they were .

A Malus fruit – perhaps a small crab apple? Aah, Millstones Wood – you and your mysterious Maluses!

The Lonely Oak, looking all apocalyptic and stuff. Yeah, but not really. It’s a fake. A fraud. A Photoshop phoney. The sky just wasn’t red at all.

Posted in Gone for a walk

Tree O'Clock - world record attempt

Between 11am and 12 noon on Saturday December the 5th BBC Breathing Places is attempting to break the world record for the most trees planted in one hour. Tree O’Clock, as the attempt is known, is part of the UK’s National Tree Week, which this year runs from the 25th of November to the 6th of December.

To take part in Tree O’Clock you just have to follow four steps: 1) Get a tree – 2) Plant a tree – 3) Take a photo as proof – 4) Email your photo to the BBC.

There are over a thousand free tree give-away schemes planned for garden centres and Forestry Commission visitor centres across the country in the run-up to the record attempt. All the information you need to participate can be found on the Tree O’Clock page here.

The record currently stands at 653,143. Go Plant!

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The submissions deadline for December’s Festival of the Trees looms – send yours in to Dave Bonta at Via Negativa. All the details are here.

Posted in Miscellany

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