A Nature Walk

When I was a lad at school (this is before the Beatles were invented) we used to go on nature walks from school along the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We picked wild flowers (imagine that) and brought them back to school to identify and draw.

At work I sometimes treat myself to a post prandial stroll through Strid Wood to see what’s going on. On Thursday it was get your boots on Spring.



Not very much in the way of colour (other than green) but then the ramsons are back!  Wild garlic, a delight to the palette and an intense green.  Here be green flowers.


This is dogs mercury.  The mercury bit gives a clue to its toxicity.  But it is about the first flower to bloom in these woods, and it blows for many months – in fact some of last year’s stalks are still standing with a few dishevelled leaves (mainly through the absence of any snow).

This isn’t wild garlic, Lords and Ladies methinks, not palatable, but also very green.



Look at this – wild strawberry leaves.


And these guys are here almost all the time, sometimes 20 foot up in the trees.



And then there’s moss.



Lots of it, climbing anything raised from the woodland litter.



Sometimes creating a landscape of its own, with sinister companions.

SAMSUNG CSCOk more sinister.

SAMSUNG CSCRather like trees.

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSCAnd they like trees.



No fear of man-made sawing horses either.



(These can be used as splitting breaks too.)

I been doing woodwork too. Planing ash.

SAMSUNG CSCTo make a test stool leg.



But really I’d like to do some painted work that would look like this.








But always at my back I hear / Time’s wingéd charriot hurrying near.

Spring is well under way now in Strid.

The bluebell leaves are everywhere, and where they’re not there is wild garlic:

Most people will see these two easily, but if you look more closely there is an abundance of other plants shooting up.

Wood anenomy, one of my favourite Spring flowers:

Dogs mercury, as it’s name suggest, poisonous and very thickly spread in Strid:

Even the wild strawberries are back:

Down by the River Wharfe the butterburrs are sprouting through. I think they look pretty alien, I assume they are of a very old genesis:

The dipper now is separate from its mate who is presumably nesting. You maybe able to make out the white spot of his breast feathers at the far side in the river, standing on a semi-submerged stone:


I’ve not just been idly snapping photos either. Yesterday I made this bowl (not quite finished yet):

And today I need to get more felled wood back to the woodpile and sheeted before, the plants are too tall, the birds nest, the wood starts to spoil … and people start making shelters & bridges with it or chucking it into the river. Cleared most of it now with the help of some asylum seekers from all the trouble spots in the world.

On with the work; load of logs to make, shift wood, get ready for the Knaresborough Castle medeval do on Saturday, edit bowl carving video (watch this space), chop, chop!