Mid October….and Autumn Knocks on the Door.


OK…it looks a little like autumn but in the woodland there are still much that is still green.


Beech are the trees that have changed into autumnal colours the most.  Sweet Chestnut, whilst dropping its nuts, is still green.  Like the harvest in the farmers fields, the nuts this year are very small, best left for the squirrels and Jays.  Green or Golden the colour does little to hide their bold skeletons reaching for the last rays of a mid October sun.



Hide and Seek…

We knew that the Red Deer Stags were ‘rutting’, so it was a case of finding them.  They gave us plenty of clues with their constant noisy Bolving.  But as we headed one direction, unseen they headed elsewhere. Eventually we  did find a retreating Stag…….   maybe he was just exhausted after his Rutting but more likely he was sulking having lost his harem.

_DSC9064_00054qqq  It is a hard life being a Stag….

Life is difficult for all of us at the moment, so……

Please Remember ….

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

15th October

(C) David Oakes 2020

Early Start…..


It was already warm,  the forecast is for another scorcher.  So it was an early start for a “cool” walk in the woods.  Rather good to be out before many other folk arrive to disturb the solitude and quiet….quiet that is apart from the birds who were all in full song.

The other noticeable change from last week is that the sun is already much lower in the sky and also on  this clear morning, showing a hint of  a yellow glow.  Yep, like it or not we are heading towards autumn.  Right now the woodlands are rather green and lush and still have that early summer scent.  Great to be out .




Long dark shadows.  Glades that glow bright and just the barest hint if a breeze

The perfect start to any day.

25c at the moment and set to rise,  so best head home and find the shade

Please Remember ….

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

8th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Goodbye July…….


Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

Sunshine but also shadows, often dark and damp……  well that has been, for the most part, the weather this July.  August tomorrow and we move that little bit nearer to autumn.  Yet, here under the Chestnuts leafy canopy, last autumns fallen leaves still abound….. true they do add some extra colour to the woodland glades.

But less of this talk of autumn, lets hope August is this years summer month.

Please Remember ….

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

31st July

(C) David Oakes 2020



A Very Dull start, some sunshine and lots of bird song


The forecast was for a misty start (again).  That mist seemed to morph into low grey cloud, never threatening rain but not promising  much if any sunshine.

By the time we arrived at lakeside the sun was trying to show itself.  So the occasional bright burst and a misty horizon was to be the way of it for the morning…



So, OK not the brightest of days.  Not though disappointing.

The woodland was dark, but the bird sound was fantastic.   We have all ,I am pretty sure,  have heard of the dawn chorus.   Well at 11.30am that chorus was still adding its charms to the woods.

So here is a short clip, I hope the sound is acceptable and please excuse my rather grabbed attempt to record the woods this morning.

 I hope that give you a taste of the woodland sounds.  I really must start to take video shooting seriously and may be invest in an external microphone for the camera.


Well I made an attempt to capture the bird song…. now I need to capture the woodland scent.  Even the ferns have a magical aroma.

All alone with just the birds and Buster for company.  Dull it maybe, but at least it isn’t raining,  all in all not bad to be out and about.    At this moment in our history I take it as a privilege.

Please Remember ….

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

17th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

” There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods” ….. Lord Byron


” There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods”….. not my words, but exactly my sentiment on a weekend when the weather started so well.  Cold, windy but lots of sunshine, true there was a good deal of clouds about but the high wind kept them scudding along.

So there was no excuses and nothing better than heading out to enjoy a woodland walk. The location is South Derbyshire and the woods are part of a very ancient woodland.


Long term followers will recognise that I have long had an affection for woodland and the trees across the seasons…the older the trees and the wilder the weather the better.  But today despite the winds the woods are rather calm and benign, autumns leaves dry and golden and the few paths that do exist carpeted in shades of brown and gold.  Add long shadows from a low sun and its a perfect day to be here…

 This is a mixed woodland but predominantly tall Beech with their clinging claw like roots, spreading Chestnuts with there broad canopies but also and my favourite of all the many ancient Oak trees….. Oak trees with gnarled and broad trunks that have stood for centuries some indeed over 1000 years.

One Oak in particular has been named “The Old Man of Calke” for over 1000 years it has withstood storms and avoided the axeman.  Its shape is dramatic, short and stumpy with more delicate branches reaching up like tentacles, clawing the sky.  At this time of the year the Oak is bare, all the better the admire the many lumps and bumps that time and weather have helped create….but with luck it will navigate this winter and in Spring will once again produce a head of green leaves, adding yet another year to the many it has already seen.   No visit to these woods would be complete with out ensuring we pay our respects to the Old Man….

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

Lord Byron.

Footnote:- in the interest of transparency let me explain that was Saturday….we woke to a Sunday where normal wet weather had returned….. I guess that made Saturday all the more special 🙂

3rd February

(C) David Oakes 2020