A winter wander around our local woodland patch within the grounds of the National Trust’s Attingham Park got off to a strange start. Expecting the cold weather to have restricted visitors to a few hardy souls, we arrived to see the main car park full, all overflow parking fields full and lots of extra parking also filling up rapidly.
We had arrived just after the start of their first Christmas related event – The Frost Fair. Bad planning! However the woodlands were quiet, the only sounds following us around were the songs of small and squeaky birds, Coal Tits, Treecreepers and Goldcrests.
The event we searched out was the art exhibition of the works of Mother Nature. She was her usual brilliant imaginative self.
Her woodcarving looked freshly made and full of texture and colour.
This piece looks to be based on the shapes of a crab’s claw.
Drawings on the cut trunks of a diseased Ash tree reminded me of cave paintings.
This triangular land art installation shows Mother Nature working in a more geometric way.
As the woodland path took us deeper in amongst the trees we appreciated the quietness of our footfalls, the quietness of the soft deep pine needle duvet. When it is quiet the subtleties of bird songs and calls are more easily enjoyed. We stood feet away from a Goldcrest feeding on insects he had searched out from the conifer needles with thin probing beak. He suddenly fell to the floor as if dead, or mimicking the gentleness of a falling leaf. He dropped into the fern and bramble undergrowth and stayed there out of sight. Was he feigning death to fool a predator or pretending to be a falling leaf with the same purpose in mind? As we stood silently in awe of what we had witnessed he reappeared vertically up into the branch he had fallen out of. One of those magical moments that two observers of the natural world will never forget! Any idea what he may have been up to?
Nature playing with light fascinated us as the sun dropped lower in the thin blue sky lighting up the understory with golds and oranges.
Water, be it a stream, ditch, river or pool, affords nature the chance of playing with mirrors to create illusions and mysteries.
On the land shadows are drawn long and dark. The long tall tree shadow stretches out across the pastureland. My own shadow tried to get in the picture until I managed to persuade it to move into the shadow of one of the tree trunks.
The shadow of the precariously leaning seat crossed our path as we approached the gap in the tall wall that would take us into the productive gardens.
The climbing, curling tendrils of this vine glow pink and red in the sunlight, forming a natural frame for the filigree skeletons of trees.
We greatly enjoyed our visit to the open air gallery.