It has been a busy few months, but recently ‘the Green & the Wild’ has been calling… so here I am, ready to write about the beautifully fading green and welcomed wildlife of Autumn and Winter in the UK.
I awoke this past Sunday to a lovely, crisp, blue-skied morning – the ideal day for a ramble outdoors. Hoping for a day like this, my partner Ed and I had bought some picnic food and planned to drive to Sherwood Forest after having seen the magical ‘Major Oak’ tree on television a few weeks before. I was amazed that I had not heard of ‘Britain’s Favourite Tree’ before, and living only a 90 minute drive away, Ed was equally as amazed that I had never visited it as a child, as he had done several times.
After a simple, pleasant drive, we arrived at Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre car park, where we paid our £3 parking fee (very reasonable we thought) and headed for the map to get our bearings. There were three different marked routes through the forest to pick from, each of varying length, so we opted for the two hour walk… but first the Major Oak! A five minute stroll took us straight to the 800+ year old Oak, which like a wise old man full of stories and memories, stood, resting on several stilts. I spent a good while studying it’s branches, golden leaves and aged bark, picturing the hundreds of years of change that had taken place to it and the surrounding forest – my own imagined time lapse.
“Due to its national importance, conservation measures to the tree have been carried out continually since 1908” which is very important as despite it’s age and hollow core, the Major Oak still supports a variety of insects and creatures. Jackdaws nest there, Winter Moth Caterpillars take nutrients from the leaves and in turn provide food for Blue Tits and their chicks. In Autumn, Squirrels forage for the tree’s precious acorns, but not only them – rangers also collect and plant the acorns “so even though the Major might be nearing the end of its life, its descendants live on” – how lovely is that!?
The two hour walk that followed was just as wonderful and awe-inspiring. It was a pleasure spending time amongst so many veteran trees and walking across nature’s different carpets, from dark-leaf mud to freshly fallen yellow paths, all glittered with the delicate warmth and light of autumnal sunbeams.
Find out more about Sherwood Forest and the Major Oak here.