The changing clocks always knocks me off kilter slightly but I took advantage of the lighter morning by embracing autumn in the woods.
I was met early on my walk by a couple of ponies who were really "on their toes" puffing and blowing with steam rising off their sweaty coats, there is only one thing that gets them so het-up and sure enough, as I turned the corner a few commoners were rounding up ponies on horseback.
Not to get in the way, I turned down the inclosure track and the heady pine resin aroma released on the damp, grey air pulled me into the woods. Conifer woodlands seem so organised and upright in its height and straight lines but the copper coloured bracken softened the edges and fungi decorated the grassy verge of this gravel track and deepened my wanderings, not just in my steps but in my mind.
Turning a corner the woodland quickly turns deciduous and more wild. Colours glow from the changing leaves and the aroma changes from resin to musty. Ancient trees are starting to show off their shapes and forms with every falling leaf and with the shift of season comes a shift of yearning.
The pull of the ancient woodland is too strong for me to resist and I soon find myself off track and standing under the wonder of a mighty beech tree. She is fiercely strong and beautiful, with great character and wisdom as she permits me to step closer within her roots system. The rain starts to fall, but I continue to look up without a drop on my face under the shelter of her boughs. I stood in her presence for a moment while we listened to the rain together, as it fed her roots and my soul.
Just as I was thanking my old friend and heading out from under her canopy something caught my eye amongst the trees, for a moment I stood and held my breath as a fox sniffed and foraged the forest floor. I went unnoticed and waited until she was well out of sight before continuing my walk. The autumn leaves enhance the browse line and the woodland carpet is so pleasing to the eye. I picked up a stray fir cone and carried it with me on my meander.
For a while the sun broke through the trees and I stood and admired the array of fungi on a fallen log with the sun on my face, but I felt I wasn't alone....
.. I was right, I turned and a large fallow buck stopped to acknowledge me as he sauntered across the track. Knowing I was getting closer to the bustling carpark I breathed in and admired every offering of the autumnal woodland who was happy to share its gifts.
The footpath was now becoming more "peopley" but I think I was the only one who noticed the goshawk fly overhead.
Just as I felt I had seen all of autumn's offerings, I opened the gate out of the inclosure to be faced with squealing, grunting, antics and bundling of the pannage pigs. What a way to "reset my kilter!"
This short walks offers so much if you want to join me next Sunday take a look at the events page to find more details.