This is a bit of the forest that is a favourite with my family; we come here in all weathers and love it regardless of what the sky is doing. The river that runs through it meanders between steep banks where tall trees grow; in places it sighs over the gravel a few inches deep, in others you can lose a welly in it. In the summer months it potters along quite content humming softly to itself; after rain like we got at the weekend it fairly roars between the banks.
The boys designed a game they call "river walking" here: it involves hopping from bank to bank, running across fallen tree trunks over the water and climbing roots to reach the top of the banks between meanders.There are lots of beautiful trees in this part of the forest- I never get tired of looking at them and being among them. This is a place of Water and Wood in equal measure for me.
Wherever you go in a forest you can always find interesting trees. I particularly love this one- you can stand in the middle of the four trunks and if you rest an ear on one and somebody taps a branch coming off it you can hear it knocking inside the tree.
Teddy loves walks by the river because of the interesting smells and places to go exploring. He used to most definitely NOT be a water dog, but the river has
taught him to be less afraid and now he leaps over or plunges through
it much more confidently.
There's an ancient crossing-place half-way down the river where the banks fall away and the river becomes shallow over pebbles. I'm not sure how well it came out in the photo but it's a peaceful spot:
I also love all the unusual fungi, moss, lichens, ferns and other plants that grow from and near the trees beside the river...
Best of all for me in this part of the forest is the wild bee's nest I discovered at the end of last summer. It's inside this fallen tree and I found it quite by accident.
The bees were all very dear and put up with me checking on them at regular intervals until they all fell asleep late last autumn. They're pretty much still tucked up snugly inside the deepest layers of wax, but the odd one or two were buzzing about on Sunday. The smell up close to the nest is beautiful, a rich honey aroma. Clever bees!
By the way, if any of you are interested in helping the bees (who are facing a big threat right now), this organisation is worth a look: http://bumblebeeconservation.org/
I'll leave you with a picture of the King Tree. There is almost always one King Tree in a wood and although they are not necessarily the biggest, there is something about them that marks them out from other trees. Try looking for one the next time you're out in woodland.