Despite, or perhaps because of, being very busy at the moment with my Environment Wales role, writing my mid term report and helping groups with their important management grant applications, the glorious warm autumn sunshine today was quite irresistible and I had to go for a lunch time walk. I lost my usual walking partner when she went to part time hours a month or so ago but I am discovering a new joy in walking alone. You pick your own route, you go at your own pace, you can wade through mud if you wish and you notice more of what is around you as you are not concentrating on chewing the fat.
It certainly was a wonderful warm day and in the shelter of the bog wood, although the wind was loud in the trees on the nearby ridge, there was total stillness. This place is particulary special at this time of year, very damp and very green. Wrens skittered from mossy bank to thorny thicket as I tramped along and, despite a heavy frost only 2 days ago, there was much life to be seen. Always resembling something out of a fairy story the dead boughs and moss covered stumps were transformed with a variety of impossibly picturesque fungi.
Once out on the mill pond I was astonished to find it alive with dragonflies, three species I think, although with one being rather shy, dragonflies often having dimorphic males and females, and not having the jizz myself I could only swear to two. So there were lots of common chasers and the wonderful blue and green of one or two hawkers who were being mobbed unmercifully by the chasers. The shy ones were smaller and plainer, being a beige colour, and were keen to fly off into the surrounding trees as I approached. The chasers had no such qualms and were more than happy to pose for me as they soaked up the sun and enjoyed their lives with no concept of how short they will be with winter coming.
I noticed one tree that was a perfect example of ‘how you tell which way is north,’ as described in all good adventure books. One side is completely covered in moss, the north, and the other completely free of encrustation. Looking around many other trees were totally encased in green so I would not rely on this too often.
Once into the deer park I soon spotted bigger things to admire as the deer were all around. The stags were making an almost unbelievable noise, somewhere between a very vocal pig and someone scraping a digger bucket over rock. The noise carries well and I expected to encounter the stag at any moment but only caught a distant glimpse.
More toadstools and some very beautiful ancient trees being allowed to decay as nature intended made every step of the way a pleasure.
I found a couple of places with beef steak fungi on the trees, anyone who tells you these are good to eat has a highly developed sense of humour in my view they taste of very little and have the texture of boiled slime. They are very impressive to see on the trees though.
And so back to my little office with its view of a wall and juggling bids. I am however now fully refreshed and know that behind that wall there is a very special place where deer roam and dragonflies defend their territories and people can get brief a and magical encounter with nature.