Walking through the ancient woodlands of the Wye Valley on the Welsh Borders. I was enjoying the towering beeches and the oaks, the natural regeneration of other species underneath them. The peregrines calling as they flew over head, the alarm calls of the smaller birds as they stirred and listening to the tawny owls settle back down for the day.
I’d already noticed how daytime came so much earlier to the clearing by the cliffs and how different days must feel in the open and in the woodlands. I’d sat peacefully on a yew stump above a cave mouth looking down at a rock spiral remembering the one in Sarum and wondering if it was as old, and the numberous people that must have walked it over it’s time.
Getting itchy feet again I walked towards the light hoping to catch a look at the fallow deer I’d seen by torchlight a few days ago. I came to a fenced off field with sheep grazing the grass and interspersed with soft rush. Such a contrast to the closed woodland canopy I was standing in.
From here I could see the woods continuing after their break on the next hilltop, and remembered once again how much of an impact we’ve had on this little island of ours. How we would have initially lived in woodlands with glades and clearings and how different everything must have felt. I turn and I look back into the woods, now it feels dark.
There is a sense of comfort in the enclosure, as I feel a gentle breeze on my faces and skin but can hear a much stronger one in the canopy. But there is also a smaller sense of unease, it seems dark here now, and my vision is severely limited by the multitude of tree trunks I cannot see through.
I before return though the woods I walk slowly around the stone spiral, taking each step into the centre carefully and enjoy watching as the avenues of visibility into the woods change as my position changes. Wondering once again, how many others footsteps I’m following in.
I quietly make my way back through the woods to my van for breakfast. Enjoying the slower pace of the woods filtering into my consciousness before I truly start the day.
© Pippin and Gile - Lizzy Maskey