Monday, March 11, 2013

Signs of Life

Signs of life - moss sending up tentacles from the leaf litter in Fox Wood

A few days ago I returned to Fox Wood. It was a long journey to get there and I had to pass through six different countries - seven if you count Cornwall as its own land, and plenty do. 


On the way I almost froze - indeed the car and the trailer, which was carrying half of our worldly possessions, got caught in a blizzard in Germany and I had to spend the night shivering in the back. Luckily I had brought a nice warm duvet , some blankets, and a few drams of Irish whiskey. It wasn't so bad.

When I finally got to Cornwall it was warmer - spring was on the way. Some trees had burst into blossom and many fields, including those surrounding Fox Wood, were yellow with early season daffodils.


Fox Wood itself was wet and misty. When I got there I felt like I was intruding and a group or rabbits bounded away at our approach (I was with my friend Kate), showing their white tails as they scattered.


I investigated the forest further. On my last visit I hadn't been to all corners of the land, but this time I did, finding a few gnarled, ent-like oaks. They seemed to me like guardians of the wood. I look forward to getting to know them a bit better.

Signs of new life were everywhere. Most of the trees were coming into bud, whereas others had been green all winter.

I walked around the land, chatting with Kate, who seemed to be able to identify far more of the plants than me! Bluebells were pushing their way up through the earth beneath our feet, although I didn't take any pictures yet - that will have to wait for when spring really arrives. I have a feeling it is going to be pretty spectacular given the number that were poking their green leaves up through the forest floor.


I discovered a rusting old barbed-wire fence running through the wood. What was the purpose of that?



Everywhere was damp and spongy and dripping with promise. A woodpecker suddenly fluttered away from of us, its brown wings beating, although it was too quick for my camera.


I looked at the field where I am to plant the food forest and build some kind of dwelling. It looked pretty big - bigger than the last time I looked at it. Perhaps it had grown during my absence?


There is an interesting way in and out of the field, a very common feature in Britain's stony places - the rock stile.


All too soon it was time to leave. I had planned to camp out in Fox Wood, but fate had other plans - a rotten cold had got to me and I didn't want to make it any worse by sleeping in this damp, soggy, misty place. Not this time.


Instead I retreated to Penzance and popped into the Turk's Head, a 700-year-old pub, for a pint of Doom Bar ale and a Cornish pasty. It wasn't bad at all.