Another Winter Woodland Walk – Searching for Lichen and Mosses

One of the reasons we visited Attingham Park for a wander in the woodland was to search for lichen and mosses as I had recently read books on the subjects which made me want to experience them for myself.

This walk proved an excellent place to do just that. Early on into our walk we came across a huge specimen tree covered not in mosses or lichen but in our native Ivy, Hedera helix, a brilliant shelter, food source and breeding place for all sorts of wildlife. Not long after we found a tree coated near its base in moss. But it also displayed covering by an orange-brown lichen above the moss.

Birds sometimes hunt underneath lichen to feed on the insects and invertebrates found there. The pieces they have broken off in the process gave us a chance to have a closer look. The left hand photo shows a verdigris coloured species whereas the second photo is of a beautiful bluish coloured specimen accompanied by an even tinier green lichen or perhaps moss.

The photo below shows mosses and lichen growing on the rotting stump of a felled tree.

Early on in our walk we came across two neighbouring trees which between them were home to all these lichen and mosses below. It showed the huge variety of their colours, textures and shapes. Looking close up at a tree trunk can give so many surprises.

Looking down by our feet there were just as many lichen and mosses to be seen and enjoying growing on fallen boughs and rotting tree stumps.

While scrutinising tree trunks for lichen and moss growing on them it was inevitable that we would also spot some winter fungi too. The black fungi were growing on Sycamore leaves and we believe they relate to a fungal disease seen on most Sycamore trees by the end of the growing season.

As we left the Deer Park section of our walk we crossed over the River Tern via a stone built bridge and noticed the hand of Mother Nature had used lichen to create beautiful patterns over its complete surface.

By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

2 replies on “Another Winter Woodland Walk – Searching for Lichen and Mosses”

While the rains have made for muddy walks they have beautifully coloured the woods with pumped up fungi, lichen, and moss to an extent I hardly remember seeing before. It is actually great walking weather if you wrap up and enjoy the squelching. Suns shining now – I’m out !

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