by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
One of the many reasons that woodland is my favorite natural environment is because it is ever-changing and there is always something new to see, experience and enjoy.
The changes can be subtle like the shoots of new flowers, the forming of new buds, the appearance of fragrant blossom or a sudden burst of short-lived fungi, or they can be dramatic like the transformation caused by mist or snow or a storm.
Whatever time of year woodland is either full of life or the signs of life to come. It is also a world cut off from the endless hustle and bustle of modern society.
It is as though, by entering a wood you have passed through a portal into another world. It is just endlessly fascinating.
And trees like oak, yew and elder are so entwined with our history and our folklore and what makes us what we are that we have a special spiritual connection with woods that we do not have with any other environment.
Most importantly though to me a woodland is a source of materials for making products and one that provides, when properly managed, this resource, those materials, for ever.
A walk in the woods or days working in the woodlands also leads to new finds from which to craft this or that. There is a sapling that either now, or in years to come, will make for a great walking stick; there are the branches that need to be removed from a tree that render another load of “branch hooks”, and so much more.
You will never find me happier than when walking or working in woodland. And my greatest passion is to manage our woods in one way or the other and management many of our woods today need more than anything.
The biggest “problem” I encounter when walking through some woodland is that my mind is always active seeing the management problems or better the lack of management in those woods and I am always thinking as to how those woods could be made productive again and to benefit wildlife and man.