We arrived at Attingham Park, the closest National Trust property to home, for a coffee and wander in the woods, to discover a sign announcing that a new woodland walk was now open. We had to try it out even though it was a miserable looking day. But once in the wood it didn’t matter what the weather was up to as the sky was hidden by the towering trees. The local bird life however didn’t appreciate the weather for they were virtually absent and almost silent, bar Wood Pigeons flying over the tree tops and small flocks of tits moving rapidly through the branches. The one ornithological treat was being surprised by a Treecreeper that swooped down onto the bottom of the tree trunk alongside us and scuttled its way upwards. It seemed totally unaware of our presence.
Lovely rustic seats gave frequent and welcome resting places. The seats were made from logs and slabs of wood felled from the park. The path was soft and relaxing to walk on being surfaced with pine needles or just deep woodland debris. Our footsteps were thus quiet and did not disturb the woodland peace.
A carpet of leaves underfoot and tall trunks on all sides called us onwards deeper into the Attingham Park woods. Logs and branches of all sizes were left in piles to attract and give shelter to insects, including the Lesser Stag Beetle which frequent the understory.
As the colours were so muted under the greyness of the cloud cover, the most striking feature of our walk was the textures found in live and dead wood. Mosses and lichens carpeted stumps and felled trunks with silvers and greens, and the spent dried leaves had settled onto rough textured bark.
This orange oak leaf rested on a fallen tree, its orange matching perfectly the spots of the Coral Spot fungus. Amazing juxtaposition!