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My wood – part two ~ by Matt Marples

 My wood - part two

The second instalment to "my wood" has, like Spring,  this year - sprung rather too soon. I’ve been away for most of the last week starting work on a new area of woodland in Norfolk that I hope to be able to bring to market in the early summer. So after nearly a week of absence , I hurried across the field as the light rose on Saturday morning accompanied by Stig who seemed even happier than me, tail wagging frantically in the bitter frost.

Despite some savagely cold dawns, a couple of weeks of unseasonably warm weather has transformed the woodland.  It has been more of a boom than a Spring bloom this year. My hornbeam is in leaf, the hawthorn is in blossom, the bluebells are now nearly eight inches long and have started to throw up the occasional flower. The primroses are in full flush, I have a few violets but the really special surprise is the wood anemones that have suddenly appeared. Each year they are a lovely surprise, unlike the bluebells - who carpet the woodland in green before the big event and whose progress I seem to monitor. The wood anemone blooms into life ; its delicate flower really is the herald that 'Spring has sprung' and summer is on its way.

The ash trees and oaks will soon fill in the canopy and offer dappled shade. I have already set aside a place in my head for a hammock for this summer, and hope to be able to slope off for a quiet afternoon siesta. I’m a huge fan of hammocks both for having a crafty hours rest; I also have a Hennessy hammock tent if I need to stay overnight in a wood. This fantastic piece of kit can be set up in a minute and not only provides a weather proof place to sleep but also is totally bug proof and being suspended means you not only avoid having a root in the small of your back but you escape any crawling insects. If you’re e looking for a simple solo sleeping solution I couldn’t recommend it strongly enough.

As I’ve said before these are the months to sit back and enjoy your woodland. It’s too late to plant trees unless they are already well established and you can water them regularly. All felling and stacking of wood should have been done and your time in your wood should be about enjoyment.

Nesting birds will be busy. All species of deer will now be heavily pregnant, even the roe who have delayed implantation are now well on their way. Foxes and badgers will have taken to their dens and the cycle of rebirth has begun again.

Each day my wife has seen a big dog fox ambling through the wood, scrubbing up grubs. At this time of year, they seem to get quite stupid and seem at a loss without the vixens that are generally tucked up underground. As long as he stays off the lambing fields on the marsh, he will be fine.

This really is a time to enjoy your woodland. A time to sit contemplate and decide if this year is one for a project. Perhaps some thinning in December or planting November. But till then just a place to put your feet up in, and escape from the world that seems to get more busy by the day.

Kind regards,
Matt Marples.
East Anglia Manager.

Posted in: Flora & Fauna, Woodland Activities ~ On: 12 April, 2012

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