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After a week of heavy rain and cabin fever I woke to beautiful blue skies and sunshine. So to make the most of the lovely weather we went for a walk in my favourite woods. The walk is along part of Offa’s Dyke in the Wye Valley. With the sun glinting through the trees, the beautiful autumn colours and lovely fresh air, it’s on days like this I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country.

Autumn trees

These are ancient woods which have been growing here since the last iceage. They are full of broadleaved trees such as ash, oak, beech and birch. We discovered the walk and the woods about 3 years ago and walk here often, now. We follow the changing seasons and how this affects the woods. In spring the woodland floor is lit up by a carpet of wood anemone, their white flowers like stars twinkling in the undergrowth.

Starry wood anemones

This is followed by the pungent aroma of wild garlic and the most amazing display of bluebells I have seen.

Glorious bluebells

As spring moves into summer and the canopy of leaves unfurls the woods become a tranquil place to escape the heat of the sun. Then autumn arrives and the woods once again light up this time with oranges and yellows as the leaves turn colour.

Autumn leaves

Even in winter these woods are magical. We spent one winter’s day following the tracks of animals, left in the snow. With no leaves on the trees you can see down into the valley below and the river Wye.

Wildlife love this habitat. We spotted a woodpecker and a treecreeper today and there were numerous other birds flying around and tweeting in the background. My identification skills are unfortunately somewhat lacking. On other occasions we have seen the resident fallow deer, signs of badgers and a large flock of one of my favourite birds, the long-tailed tit.

The rich leaf litter, decomposing wood and ancient trees makes this a great place to spot fungi.

These woods mean a lot to me. A place that is good for the soul, that lifts my spirits and puts a spring in my step. A wonderful woodland walk – the best things in life really are free.

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