Dear Readers, Cherry Tree Wood is much more of a park than Coldfall Wood, although it was once part of the same extensive forest, used by the Bishop of London as his hunting ground. So, although it has many things that Coldfall does not – toilets, tennis courts, a children’s playground, even a cafe – there are the same magnificent oaks and hornbeams. And, for a few weeks every year, the sun is just about rising through the trees at 8 a.m. when we go for our walk, so I thought I’d share a few photographs with you. This is something of a dangerous occupation as the park is also frequented by cyclists, joggers and, this morning, a chap on an e-scooter. Gosh these things are dangerous – fast and completely silent. At least a cycle has a bell.
I had never noticed this very twisty hawthorn before – when the leaves drop off the underlying structure of a tree is revealed. I suspect this one must have been cut back a few times when it was a mere sapling and has since gone its own way, much as many of the trees have.
I loved this little field maple (do tell me if it’s not, I have constant trouble with my maples). The leaves look too small to be sycamore to me. There’s something about the way that it shines yellow in the shade of the bigger trees that is very appealing, it almost seems to shimmer.
Looking back across the field, you can see the sun just starting to warm up the oaks and hornbeams. The field is completely waterlogged, but I like the reflections. Sometimes there are hopeful seagulls trying to swim in the puddles, but not today.
And when you enter the fragment of wood, the tree trunks seem to be dancing, much as they do in Coldfall – the hornbeams were probably coppiced a few times, but were then left to grow into trees. They look very sinuous to me, like snakes as they’re charmed.
Look at this little tree tying itself into a knot.
Just as spring during lockdown felt very special, as I slowed down and paid attention, so there is something particularly wistful rising in me as I look at the trees. Was there ever anything more beautiful? So many colours are interwoven to make that copper/orange/chestnut/golden medley.
And as we are about to leave, I look back and catch this little oak in its moment of glory, lit up by the morning sun. My heart rate seems to go down in the presence of big trees – it’s as if I somehow fall into sync with their slower pace of life. Trees seem to invoke serenity. It’s a great way to start the day, with a little dose of calmness, before all the mad rush of work starts.