An Autumn Walk in Coldfall Wood

Cyclamen hederifolium in Coldfall Wood

Dear Readers, it has been so relentlessly wet for the past few days that I haven’t had the heart to brave the great outdoors. But today it dawned bright and cold, and so off we ran to the woods to see what had been going on. We were a little later than usual and so there were lots of dog walkers and children heading off to school, and you’d almost think things were back to normal were it not for the way most people are still instinctively leaping to one side to put six feet of distance between them and the next person.

Still, I was touched by the way someone had corralled the cyclamen into an enclosure to protect them. These are Cyclamen hederifolium as far as I can see, which is a wild native species, though these plants look rather more like the domesticated variety. Technically, people are not supposed to plant anything in a nature reserve, but I’m loathe to suggest that these particular plants be dug up when someone obviously has taken such care to protect them. I would say that as they naturalise the ‘fence’ will need to be moved out though.

Elsewhere, the woods are just starting to turn gold and orange. Everything feels poised on the cusp, ready to tumble into winter.

Hornbeam turning orange
Oak turning to copper

Along the path next to the allotments there is a burst of holly berries. They are so red that it’s startling. How can the birds possibly miss them? They even look delicious to me

And then it’s out on to the Fields, and I fall in love with the brambles all over again. Some of them are still in flower (and I’m sure that any late queen bumblebees will be delighted), but it’s the red of their foliage that is so striking. There is a legend that when St Michael cast the devil out of heaven, he landed in a bramble bush, which must have been most uncomfortable. So, he cursed it, and ever since the fruit is supposed to turn bitter after 29th September, St. Michael’s Day.

Bramble in flower

And look! The Japanese Knotweed is still in flower, though as far as pollination goes this isn’t an issue – in the UK all the plants are from one single female clone. Unfortunately, as we know, one single bit of rhizome results in a whole new plant. Still, at least the bees like it.

I got a little bit of a surprise when I heard this bird singing from the top of a shrub. I rather think it’s a dunnock, though the light isn’t very good. Who’d have thought that this shy, shrinking-violet of a bird would be advertising itself so vigorously at this time of year? Maybe, like so many plants and animals, it’s confused.

And then, with my eyes primed to see red, I noticed this street cherry tree on the way home. It has been horribly pruned at some point, and looks rather like a naiad trying to pull her way out of the trunk, but the colour! What a joy this time of year can be.

3 thoughts on “An Autumn Walk in Coldfall Wood

  1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    I’ve been seeing similar autumn colours during my walks around the Derbyshire Peak District, but also surprised how much green there still is. It certainly feels like winter is not far away though! (It’s been snowing already back home).


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