Thursday, July 31, 2014

A walk on the wild side

Thetford forest was established just after the war to provide timber for England. The huge tracts of pine forest provide sustainable timber and are also a haven for wildlife.

This Sunday I had the pleasure of walking round a part I’d not visited before – Lynford arboretum. The pine woods were cool on such a hot day, and the goldcrests continually called from the treetops. Evident as they were audibly, visibly they were hidden.

Our woodland walk took us past a lake and the lilies were abundant – providing the most perfect backdrop for some swans and their cygnets.  Butterflies abounded too and on one buddleia we saw four species: speckled wood, peacock, red admiral and comma. They were joined by a multitude of smaller bugs too, including hoverflies.

Everyone we met along the way smiled and shared a ‘good morning’ or a smile. A young mother with three children and two dogs sat entertaining her youngest in a pram whilst two older boys played in the stream – good old fashioned outdoor fun. 

The shade of the trees played patterns with the sunshine on the path, and the lush green grass hummed with life. In one small patch we stopped to look at we could see damsel flies, moths, butterflies and delightful yellow-backed beetles.

Eventually our walk took us to the arboretum and a magnificent avenue of sequoia. We could still hear the birds but they remained obscure. We saw dragonflies aplenty, and as we walked beneath a beech tree we heard a cracking sound. We stood still beneath the tree and then heard the clatter of empty beechnut shells tumbling down through the branches and onto the floor (and sometimes onto us). It took a while, but we eventually spotted the squirrel who was so engaged in eating that he thought nothing of littering the floor below.

As we wandered into the arboretum we saw many trees and hunted for labels which confused us more than they informed. Between the arboretum and the woods were beautiful meadows – wildflowers scattered amongst the long grass with the random beauty that only nature can plan.

The forest is famous for its hawfinches, crossbills and many other less common birds. Though we didn’t see any of these, it was nonetheless the most delightful walk.

All photos (C) Carolyn Sheppard

If you liked this blog post, why not check out:

Ramsey Canyon, USA
A morning out birding

"Nature. Cheaper than therapy." Anon

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