Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Walk in the Woods

As the weather seemed finally to have taken a spring-like turn, I went for a wander in Spearywell Wood, near Mottisfont, on Friday.  I would have described it as "peaceful", had my ears not been assaulted periodically by the hysterical snarling of chainsaws.  It's not just the birds, dog-walkers and photographers who get busy in the woods in Spring.

I wonder if the tree in that last photograph thought it had won some kind of prize, when it was awarded the red dot?  Yesss!  You could almost hear the other trees calling out a warning, "Run, Jimmy, run!"  For some reason it reminded me of my favourite Tom Gauld cartoon:

© Tom Gauld

At this time of year the strength of the sunlight has increased significantly, but the day is still relatively short-lived, so by the time I headed back to the car the late-afternoon shadows were raking through the trees in dramatically gothic fashion.

It gets a bit spooky, after a bit, tramping through the woods at dusk alone, with chainsaw-wielding maniacs round every corner.  Unfortunately, this puts me into the sort of nervous, ironically-theatrical mood where I start cackling with laughter to myself, which probably accounted for the expression on the faces of the dog-walking couple I met on the way back to the carpark.  Sorry about that, guys.

Carpark noticeboard sprite


Zouk Delors said...

The tree that's been red-dotted looks like it's been earmarked for felling because it's been ringed (rung?) and will die and fall later anyway. Squirrels do this (ring trees, not red-dot them), possibly to thin out the forest to create their preferred environment [he speculated]. Either that or it's about to come under air-to-ground missile attack from a drone with buggy software.

Thanks for The Hills, btw.

Mike C. said...


Yes, it's the forester's cheaper, analogue equivalent of the sniper's laser sight, settling on the forehead of the intended victim...

Tom Gauld is brilliant -- such an economic yet expressive style.


Martin Hodges said...

Hey, you were in our neck of the, er, well...woods! Last year, some dog-walkers were assaulted by a woman in Spearywell. Don't worry though, there was no mention of her carrying a chainsaw.

Struan said...

A current fad in Swedish woodland conservation is to create standing dead wood by ring-barking trees which would previously have been thinned out and removed.

The trees die, and then act as homes for woodpeckers, beetles, hornets and various symbiotic fungi. Standing snags are populated differently from fallen trunks, so ideally you have a mix of both.

There are some beetles which in Sweden are only found in a single old tree. The nearest ones with suitable areas of dead wood are too far away.

There is the *slight* problem of the snags falling onto passing wolly-hatted nature lovers, but the beetles take priority.

Mike C. said...


Next I'm over, I'll let you know -- bring an axe!


Mike C. said...


You may be right -- foresters watch "Wallander" and "The Killing", too -- plenty of Scandinavian woodland management tips in there, though the quantity of bodies left lying around in the woods seems excessive to me (beetles, again, I suppose...).