Walking in the Forest

Autumn half term would not be complete without a walk in the New Forest. The weather has been good for the fungi, which were many and varied. The tiny dots on the gills are flies.

Today, we had a steady light rain, but that added to the atmosphere. The forest fragrance changes and the light level highlights different aspects. Maybe we look down more and notice what is at our feet.

Especially the smallest treasures that we might miss if we were looking up mesmerised by the light filtering through the leaves above our heads. We spotted no wildlife, which felt unusual.  Away from the forest, we saw deer and even a fox. In the forest nothing. Last year, we walked with deer.

We did see sheep, cows, ponies and pigs let loose in the forest. It is the Commoners right to graze their livestock in the Forest. I couldn’t help wondering how much a challenge it might be to round up your flock or herd, when they are dotted around the Forest. Not that they are able to wander everywhere. Fences and cattle grids keep them off the busiest roads and inevitably section up the Forest.

We were puzzled and intrigued by one dead tree. It was potmarked by the insects burrowing inside its trunk. Larger holes, further up the trunk, where woodpeckers had searched out a tasty morsel.

Unlike any of the surrounding trees, something has attacked the bottom of the trunk. All the way around the trunk. Its lower than the marks left by a deer picking the bark off a tree. The closest wild beaver is several hundred miles away in Scotland.

So what made this damage? The only thought we had was that maybe an animal scratching out the burrowing insects. Anyone seen this before?

School back tomorrow. There have been a few grumpy words before bedtime. They tell me that they need longer. Hmm. Me too. Me too.

8 thoughts on “Walking in the Forest

  • Sunday 30 October, 2011 at 11:37 pm
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    Beautiful fungi,we have had our 1st snowfall which has killed all our fungi.: 🙁 🙁

    • Monday 31 October, 2011 at 10:50 am
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      Snow time already! We’re enjoying the leaves turning and its still quite warm. What a difference. 🙂

  • Monday 31 October, 2011 at 12:18 am
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    I do love mushrooms! I’d say that looks like beaver…perhaps they’re starting to migrate south due to climate change? 😆

    • Monday 31 October, 2011 at 10:52 am
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      We all thought beaver and then realised that it was very unlikely. No expert, but I’m not convinced that where we were was a beaver’s dream location. Also its a long way for short legs. 😀 I would love to know.

  • Monday 31 October, 2011 at 9:14 pm
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    The deer have probably disappeared deep into the forest for rutting season now. We often go to see them in the new Forest and often at Boldrewood, but their sightings are less once we get to October.

    That tree is interesting. I’ll show the picture to my hubby later and see if he might have any clues – works for a mammal charity and knows many experts in the field. There was talk a few years ago about re-introducing Beavers to the New Forest, but I don’t think it has happened yet. Failing that you could always email the picture to Autumnwatch and see if they can help?

  • Monday 31 October, 2011 at 11:00 pm
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    I’ve enjoyed taking a walk with you in the forest. So many interesting things to see, including the tree that has been affected by either disease or animal/insect attack. I’d be very interested in finding out what happened to it.
    Anne xx

  • Tuesday 1 November, 2011 at 11:57 am
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    Popped back to say that dh thinks the tree is more to do with it rotting and being scratched at by animals seeking insects. Too big a tree for British beavers and not near water by the looks of the photo so not beavers sadly.

    Sadly no beaver here yet, still mostly in Scotland although some were released into the Cotswold Wildlife Park – not quite in the wild but a step closer.

  • Tuesday 1 November, 2011 at 8:00 pm
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    Oh us too Cheryl….wish it was the other way around and we had more holidays than school! 😀

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