Beech Skeletons…..


This morning I was woken to a gloriously sunny Spring Sunday.  We were up early, we being Buster and me.  We thought that in the current times of tension and concern an early start would allow us to have a walk through our woodlands, without having to worry to much about meeting others.

Early Spring in the woods is also one of my favourite times.  It is now that the tall mature Beech Trees really do show off their form so well.  Bare skeletons holding a multitude of branches all waiting for the new buds to burst.  It is also a time when the returning songbirds are at their most vocal and this morning they were performing a magnificent chorus.  I also had to remind myself that just two weeks ago these woods would still have been dark at this early hour, it is amazing just how quickly the daylight hours change….and this time next week we will have moved to British Summer Time and have advanced the clocks by one hour.

It was also a strange experience having the Woods and the Park very much to ourselves.  Something I guess we will all have to get used to before I fear it gets worse…


 Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

22nd March

(C) David Oakes 2020







Winter is not my favourite season of the year….but even so it does have some high spots.

For me a walk through a Beech Wood in winter is rather magical….it is all those skeletons.  Some tall and straight, some rather bent, no matter which, a winter skeleton takes some beating….. even wind damage takes on a different look. It does help when last years leaves still grace the woodland floor, somehow the wind seems unable to do more that make minor adjustments to leaf mosaic.  The whole wood-scape takes on a new persona


29th January

(C) David Oakes 2019


Derwent Gold……


Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

A walk round the Upper Derwent Valley and the surrounding moors is always rewarding and at this time of the year the tall Beech Trees display there full golden glow making it extra special.

The Upper Derwent valley was selected over 100 years ago as a prime location to construct a network of Reservoirs.  It is a series of three separate reservoirs that cascade water down through the valley.  Fed by the River Derwent and the many stream that drain water from the surrounding peat moors, it is a perfect water catchment area.


The views are always great but this October there is a very big difference. The view above over Ladybower Reservoir should be of an expanse of water…but it has been dry for so long this summer that grass is now growing on the reservoir floor.


This feeder channel, from one reservoir to another is usually quite a dramatic river… today just a trickle with little or no flow.

Derwent Reservoir is starting to refill but still very low and will take a good deal of rain over the moors to make a significant difference…water usually laps right up to the trees.


But we were there for a walk through those trees… is a walk made much easier than many.  When the construction work was under way old track ways that edged the valley had to be made wider to allow access…the legacy is for the most part broad dry tracks, tracks shared by cyclists and walkers.

And what a treat on a sunny October day, a rich golden glow to lift anyone’s spirits…



Dusk has started to come early, earlier each day, next week we loose an hour of the afternoon’s light as we have to return to GMT.

Returning home we were reminded of how short the days were becoming as the last of the sun caught the moors at Stanage…


It was another ‘Bonus’ day for October and at last one full of autumnal colours.

Now in the UK we need to remember to put our clocks back by one hour TONIGHT!

Winter is on the way

27th October

(C) David Oakes 2018

Nice to be Home……especialy when the sun shines


After our trip away, which we did enjoy immensely despite some very inclement weather, it was equally nice to be back home. With the sun shining it was an even bigger bonus for this mornings walk round the lake and through the woods.
What did surprise me was that nothing much had changed. Heavy rain and winds had not encouraged the woodland to adopt its autumn clothes….in fact the leaves of this Beech tree still have that bright fresh green look about them….
True …there are some more obvious signs that the seasons are changing, the canopy is thinner and  the fresh leaf fall colour the woodland floor….

I do wonder if the recent rains, after our long hot dry summer, have ‘re-set’ the leaves that had not dried and shrivelled through lack of moisture, giving the remaining leaves a new lease on life. We are again enjoying above average October temperatures but it can only be a short reprieve, no doubt a strong wind or a heavy frost could sneak up on us and change the scene dramatically. Till then we can enjoy, lets say, an autumn with a difference…

18th October
(C) David Oakes 2014