Woodland changes a landscape, shortening horizons and softening vistas. Its verdant summer growth casts a shade of deep green, the air beneath the canopy still and heavy with the sound of a thousand buzzing insect wings. Come autumn and the liquid greens are drained, as trees draw back nutrients and seal off their leaves. The colour palette shifts to dry browns and golden yellows before these autumnal hues slip from the trees to make a crisp carpet ripe for crunching footsteps.
Now, in winter, the wood opens itself to the elements, the network of branches and twigs stark against brooding sky. The trees linger in a state of limbo until the first warming days of spring, when tight buds burst forth to release the new season’s growth.
Woodland is part of me. Having grown up within its tender folds I welcome its comforting embrace and I feel exposed when I find myself in a landscape without some patch of woodland cover. For others, perhaps those who have grown up not knowing the childhood pleasures of a woodland playground, a wood may seem threatening, its deep shadows the haunt of unnamed creatures conjured from folk tales handed down. There is nothing to fear from our woodlands though. There are no creatures of menace but, instead, a rich biodiversity of animal and plant life, from the spring flush of colour that appears before the canopy closes through to the birds whose songs resonate at dawn. Being in a wood focuses your attention and returns rich rewards.