Tuesday, 3 May 2016
I was walking through a local wood on Saturday afternoon when I spotted something strange. It looked almost like an immense pair of antlers emerging from the forest floor. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a yew-tree which had somehow been split in half where its twin trunks emerged from a common root. So precise was the split that each half looked the mirror-image of the other, right down to the half-disc of roots torn from the ground. It's one of the stranger things I've ever encountered in the natural world. It looked as if the tree had been hewn in half by a gigantic sword stroke.
I suppose lightning is the obvious candidate, but there is no evidence of scorching anywhere on the bark. A number of trees have blown over in this particular stretch of woodland, so it would seem the twin trunks had simply finally become too much of a burden for their short supporting bole, and been wrenched apart in a winter storm. That they would fall away quite so symmetrically is a curiosity, though.
Among the more impressive of the other arboreal casualties since my last visit was this venerable and massive old beech:
That is one hell of a log, and a salutary reminder why it is never wise to shelter under a tree during a storm. Though I suppose feuding giants can't absolutely be ruled out as a cause, in which event I'm not sure what you can do to stay out of harm's way, other than run for it.