31 March 2017
Our very own woods...
So something hugely exciting happened recently... Mark bought a woods! Yep, purchased actual land with trees on. (and therefore I like to think of it as mine too! haha). It's been an ambition for Mark since he was young so we are both super excited.
The woods is completely private land belonging to Mark, no right of access, or right of way.
Last weekend was our very first weekend spent in the woods since it was all finalised, and the weather was absolutely glorious.
The woods itself is in Cumbria and is 6.5 acres. It is right on the border of the Lake District National Park too. It has an access road, little car parking areas and some obvious paths. It is ancient woodland and has a mix of many different trees, Oak, Ash, Hazel, and others I am sure I will learn about...
Almost the entire woodland floor was covered in wild garlic when we visited, the smell was amazing! It looked like a lawn, wild garlic for as far as the eye could see. We picked a load and Mark even made soup and garlic bread from it!
I was delighted to see SO many wild primroses too. Such a beautiful little flower, my mum's very favourite and one of mine too. You don't often see many about these days so was lovely to see so many here in the woods. I guess when you come across un-spoilt ancient land where not many people go you get some wonderful surprises. Makes me wonder just HOW many interesting species of plants, flowers, insects and animals are in our woods.
Some areas of the woods are hilly and banked, some are flat, some are marshy and muddy. It's a mix of everything and it is so exciting to wander round and explore all the different areas. I even got to nick- naming some parts, so far I have Primrose Bank, Otter Corner, Picnic Spot, The Clearing, The Ravine.
As you can probably tell I enjoyed myself taking photos. I was snapping everything and anything. I have since ordered a little macro lens for my iPhone as I was getting frustrated at not being able to capture the detail I was after... I will report back on that one.
There are not just plants and flowers in the woods but all sorts of mushrooms and fungi too, what are these black things? They are really hard and crispy when you poke them!
The woods hasn't really been 'managed' for a long time and there are many huge trees. There are also a lot of trees which have fallen down, been blown down and some have been cut down by the company selling the woods too. Mark asked for this massive ash to be left. We are going to make some seats and benches with the logs.
The plans for the woods are basically just to play in it. Mark wants to do everything... camp, hunt and fish (I won't be partaking in those two) species logging and tracking, planting and chopping trees, biking, fixing paths, swimming in our river, BBQs, inviting our friends to stay, surveying all the trees... just everything really that you can think of doing in a woods.
Have I mentioned the view yet? The main clearing in the woods is quite banked and high up, so when you look out you get the most fantastic view of the lakeland fells beyond. In a few months time I am sure the view will be obscured by all the leaves, but tat this time of year it is pretty special.
Ew! I couldn't resist snapping this, a bit gross yeah but another interesting woods thing. I think this is tree sap, it might also have some sort of fungi growth on it too, ew!
Little brown mushrooms, anyone fancy checking if they are poisinous, any volunteers... lol!
Check out that view, snowwy capped mountains in the background.
Not too many mini beats at this time of year, but we spotted this little guy hiding in amongst the wild garlic. Looks like he has been chomping on a bramble bush, or chomping on the smaller insects who have been chomping on the bramble bush!
Other likely animals in the woods are deer, we saw a hoof print and the area is well known for deer. Also the woods is a red squirrel area and people have seen them here, not us yet though sadly. But Mark has had enquiries from a red squirrel protection group who want to research his woods which sounds exciting.
There is a large fallen oak tree stump and obvious Badger holes too, it would be super interesting to set up some night cams and see whats lurking there.
The lookout tree!
Lots of the trees are covered in moss and ivy, super pretty.
Oh yeah, another little tiny thing about our woods, it er has THE prettiest RIVER flowing through it! A river of our very own! what???! This is one of the hugely exciting parts for me. The border of the land is the river, so Mark owns the riverbank on our side and half the river across. The other side of this river the Lake District National Park starts, how fab is that!
Because of the river some bits are er, rather muddy as I found out when the woods tried to steal one of my boots! Oh but the delightful squuuueeeeelch when we pulled me out...
It's ok I will just have a paddle in our VERY OWN RIVER! yep!
At one point across the river which I have nick-named Otter Corner there is a very obvious otter home. It is in a little section where a beck meets the main river and there are large holes in the bank. It would be super lovely to spot some Otters here.
Another big section of the woods is a hazel coppice (check me out with my woodland lingo and everything!) So basically lots of perfect trees for sticks. They grow really tall and straight. We cut a bunch of them to use as canes for our allotment, plan is to build a frame to grow our beans up.
We are using the woods and allotment side by side. So we can get wood from the woods for the allotment. We are also starting off a few trees in the allotment that can eventually be transferred to the wood.
I love these curly new ferns. Wish I had a macro lens...
A little further down the river bank is THE most perfect swimming spot. We are probably going to swim all the way along our river in the summer! But this little area is the perfect deep pool. I cannot wait for those balmy long, hot summer evenings (or that 1 we get bi-annually in Cumbria!lol!)
Mark got a new camping kettle as a present when he purchased his woods so we had to test it out on our first visit.
We enjoyed hot cups of coffee from the new kettle, heated with bracken and twigs from the woodland floor. All enjoyed in our perfect clearing, looking out across the lake district fells, sitting on logs on the sunniest, warmest day of the year so far in our VERY OWN woods. I'm not sure how we better this?
There will be many more woods blog posts to come, so stay tuned....