Monday, 26 September 2016

The Ovington Ramblers: Brett's Wood and Thursford Wood

Today we visited two very different woods close to each other off the A148 Fakenham to Holt Road. Both have small off road parking places.

Beefstead fungus in Thursford Wood
First we went to Brett's Wood, the larger of the two and one of NWT newest reserves. A former conifer plantation, the area is being restored to woodland. It is a very peaceful place and the pathways are wide and easy to walk. You can see areas that have been opened up to enable light to the woodland floor, which is encouraging new growth of plants and saplings. A large and exciting work in progress.

In complete contrast and just along the road is Thursford Wood, one of the last remaining ancient wood pastures in Norfolk. Hundreds of years ago the pasture was grazed by cattle with a few trees that were pollarded at two metres from the ground, so the new growth couldn't be reached by the animals. You can easily spot the ancient oaks and still see where they were pollarded, although this practice ceased around 1800.  Some of these trees are thought to be 500 years old!
Ancient oak

Lichen like tiny flakes of snow
Autumn is my favourite time of year and at the moment Thursford Wood is a feast for the senses.  Woods have their own distinctive smell and during autumn it is more pungent as you feel the damp rich loam beneath your feet. The sight of the ancient oaks, gnarled and magnificent, spark the imagination of times long gone and seeing many fungi in all shapes and colours was an added bonus. The sound of birds singing, no longer to attract a mate, but – it seemed – just for the joy of it, altogether made this a magical and memorable walk for us all.

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