Waking up in Autumn : 2. Walking in Woodland

Photo by Debbie Walker

As mentioned in my previous post, Waking up in Autumn No.1, I feel that I have awoken to the new season with my eyes wide open and my senses ready to absorb. In my last post, I wrote about being drawn to the beauty of cobwebs as they glistened in the late season sun. Today, I went for a woodland walk, and what a treat for the senses.

We arrived at the Woodland Park and parked our car, setting off with our Cocker Spaniel and a small back pack filled with provisions for our planned rest break. We took a brief look at the map and agreed a direction, before entering the forest. As we entered, I was in awe of the height of the trees greeting us; so tall, slim and standing close together, like a very tall crowd of friends awaiting to welcome our arrival.

As we followed the easy pathway our dog’s tail wagged and her nose sniffed at all the scents she was picking up. I, on the other hand, took in the stunning array of colours in front and around us. Still so many versions of green to be seen, but also some beautiful golden colours just breaking through. Leaves which looked as though an artist had crept in at night and painted them with such vibrant oranges and yellows that they almost appeared, at times, to light up the darkness of the woodland. I marveled how in one leaf the colours merged like a watercolour; a blend of yellow to orange to a shade darker which will turn red in a week or so.

Other leaves were under foot and I enjoyed the childish action of kicking them to watch them fly. As I did so, I saw that conkers had began to fall. Horse Chestnuts, may be a more familiar name to you. The small prickly outer shells broken open either by their fall, or perhaps by the many squirrels living in the forest, searching and storing for winter. The patterns made by the open shells caught my eye; nature can be so beautiful when we take a moment to look.

As we neared the edge of the woodland, we came to an opening leading down to the river. Our dog, even though she is sadly now blind, pulled to go and swim. Yes, she doesn’t allow her lack of vision to stop her – we held tight to her harness as she stepped into the shallow water’s edge and enjoyed playing for a while. As we stood with her I once again allowed myself the time to look around us and take in the beauty of the scene before me. The water glistened as the sun caught it, leaves waved from their branches, encouraged by the gentle breeze that was beginning to form. I turned around and was met with the most beautiful surprise; a small natural waterfall. The dark green ferns making a perfect frame for what I could see would be a stunning photo, in my mind’s eye. I did go ahead and took some with my phone camera, but couldn’t do it full justice.

We walked and walked, back into the forest, going deeper, discovering the dark depths of this incredible place. The atmosphere felt different as the sun light faded and was replaced by the denser trees and undergrowth, the deeper greens of a lush damp forest. I noticed the change in vegetation, saw interesting fungi growing on the ground and on some of the trees. At one point we were even walking through bogs deep enough to cover my shoes, caused by the heavy rain we’ve recently had. I must say, our dog loved that part – the muddier the better as far as she’s concerned! We continued our walk until we were led away from the centre and once again back into the lighter, brighter and warmer edges of the forest. There we found a comfortable place in a pretty opening to sit and enjoy our little picnic, surrounded once again by the majestic tall trees with their colourful leaves, in this enchanting forest, on this most beautiful Autumn day.

all photos by Debbie Walker

As some of you may have noticed whilst reading on this site, I have my own blog also where I write about my journey making changes to my lifestyle throughout the year. This woodland walk was a day that I describe from an exercise and weight loss point of view in my journal, if you are interested in reading that too, simply click here

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