When the winter weather gets a bit grim for too many days in a row it is good to look back and remember good days out.
We look forward to our woodland walks each autumn. This year we started early as we enjoyed a great day wandering the woodlands around Lake Vyrnwy in mid-Wales. We made this foray early because we had a specific reason for going. We were in search of cones and bits of bark to use on our “Homes for Wildlife” day up on our allotments later in October when we intended to make lots of extra insect shelters and a big insect hotel.
We chose to walk in a section of tall statuesque conifers all with tall straight trunks and dark green glossy needles clothing their stems.
It was a warm bright day so the woodland was pierced with sharp rays of sunshine, highlighting fungi amongst the ferns and brambles at the base of the trees and adding magic to the fresh new colours of autumn.
Fungi are the stars of the autumn woodland. We usually start looking out for them in September but with the seasons being a good four weeks behind this year we found our first here at Vyrnwy.
We stopped off in a clearing in the woods around the lake, a favourite place for our walks. A clear, fast-running mountain stream passes alongside and we always look to see what the floods from recent storms have brought down. A beautiful gnarled stump with delicate ferns on top sats close to our bank. A little further along a big branch pulled from a bankside tree was lodged in the middle of the stream caught in the overhanging branches of a tall tree.
We hadn’t been many yards wandering down the narrow path with its surface softened by pine needles, when we realised that fungi time was here! We looked forward to seeking out specimens along the way. They turned up mostly at the base of trees or growing on old rotting tree stumps.
With the fungi we found juicy Blackberries growing, their berries glowing in any shaft of light that found its way through the canopy.
As we moved further into the wood we found more and more fungi of varying oranges, yellows and browns.
Tree trunks themselves had areas of colour upon them, algae, mosses, lichen and seeping resins.
Little did we know that we had the biggest surprise of all awaiting for us as we walked around the next corner. But that story is in my next post, “Our First Woodland Walk for Autumn – Part Two”.