Early in January we went to our favourite woodland for a wander – Attingham Park. It was extremely cold so we wrapped up well and started our walk with a takeaway coffee in hands. I have been reading a book about about Shinrin Yoku so it seemed a good time to put it into practice. It is the art of walking in woodland or forests and immersing yourself in its character using all your senses.
As we walked the pathway taking us to the entrance buildings and courtyard we passed shrubs displaying berries and frosted twigs.
As we began our walk there were quite a few other walkers many taking dogs for a walk, but as we got a little further from the entrance it quietened right down. This allowed us to get much more from the walk.
We were surprised to see willow sculptures decorating an area beneath beech, sweet chestnut and oak trees, depicting insects commonly found here. The floor was deep in leaves from these trees, the carpet of leaves home to many insects and invertebrates. Hence it was a lively area scattered with blackbirds and song thrushes busily tossing leaves about in search of food. They were joined by a few robins, redwings and mistle thrush. While watching them at work a sparrow hawk shot through the boughs and landed above the boundary fence, rested awhile and then quietly flew off over the meadows.
The management policy here is to leave dead trees standing for the benefit of wildlife but as they fall they are left down for the same reason, creating great habitats for a mixture of wildlife.
Droplets of melted frost hung delicately from fine twigs but at ground level frost still covered fallen leaves. The strange pattern on the tree trunk in the last photo in this block was a real mystery to us. We could think of no explanation for it.
We will leave the first part of my post about our cold woodland walk at Attingham Park, as we reached this beautiful 5-bar wooden gate which gave atmospheric views over the River Tern and the neighbouring wet grassland. In the next part we will move on from the gate and onto the woodland walk proper.