My new found interest in trees goes back many decades ... as a boy it was climbing in them and making dens from fallen wood. Today I want to plant them, see them grow through the seasons and identify them on dog walks. I had might as well be learning a new language; I am learning a new language.
Slowly but surely I am becoming familiar with leaf shape and size, trunk colour and texture and the tree's silhouette. Some I like to think I know: oak and chestnut, for example, only to discover there are two types of each. Ditto maple. As for the generic term 'fir tree' ... here of course there are many different varieties (few native to england).
This learning journey came about due to another staycation and a desire to do more that 'take in the view' so I joined the Woodland Trust and have ticket off most of their woods in Sussex (east and west) since September - despite a few weeks hiatus with a horrible cold. I know have a handful of my favourite woods not too far from Lewes. I have visited several three or more times: William's Wood, Warninglid; Moat Wood, East Hoathly; Lake Wood, Uckfield; Kiln Wood, Blackboys and Brede High Wood north of Hastings & Rye.
Late summer has turned into autumn with winter nudging in from the north. I am getting used to the changing scenery and smells, though sadly in this part of the world two things remain constant: traffic noise and planes coming into or leaving London airports, mostly Gatwick but I suspect some of from Heathrow. I wonder sometimes if I ought to put in earphones.
I have reached that stage in the learning process where I have read a few books and started my own observations. This kind of thing, as well as taking photographs, and measuring the girth of tree trunks ought to be starting to help. I use Waze to get there, AllTrails around the woods, PictureThis for the fauna and flora and The Woodland Trust Management Plan for that wood for the detail. Early days, as I said, these plans indicate that there are many trees, and as much variety in the undergrowth on on the forest floor - but am I yet disentangle this.
Teaching trees and woodland management might be the next step. I take an interest in the activities of Lewes Urban Arboretum.
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