Woodland Nature Walks
Woodland nature walks are a great way to explore and learn more about trees, shrubs and woodland ecosystems in general, such as woodland plants, fungi, insects, animals and birds.
There are many different types of woodland – new growth forest, old growth forest, native, non-native, mixed, wild, managed, deciduous, coniferous, temperate and tropical, small copses and extensive forests… each with their own special adaptations, features, flora, fauna and ecosystems.
Notice the different woodland trees
There are also many more things to enjoy than just ‘trees’. Remember, even trees are made of many smaller elements and parts, each of which is waiting to be enjoyed and discovered in their own way.
There are many types of tree bark, tree seeds, wild nuts, fruits, berries and cones, catkins, blossom and other tree flowers, while within and around the trees vines, ferns, mosses and lichens and bracket fungi can be found.
In the branches, birds and bats roost, nest, sing and flutter, while moths, butterflies, beetles and all sorts or other insects feed, burrow, hide, nest and skuttle.
Beneath the roots, more insects can be found while larger animals like foxes and badgers, dig down and use the tree as shelter for their burrows, sets and dens.
Pay attention to the many woodland plants
On the forest floor can be found wild flowers, grasses, mosses and ferns.
From delicate anemones to towering foxgloves and from climbing roses to showy bluebells, while hardferns, bracken and drypsteris provide cover for a myriad species of wildlife.
Alongside streams and boggy places, reeds and rushes provide shelter for dragonflies, mayflies and other creatures, while buttercups, daisies and campion flowers growing beside the paths are alive with butterflies and bees.
Look for couchgrass, wood melick, and hairy brome in aunny spots and glades, providing a source of seeds for goldfinches, wrens and other woodland birds.
Spot shy (and not-so-shy) woodland birds and animals
Birds of all shapes and sizes can be found in the undergrowth, creeping up the tree trunks and flitting through or above the canopy. Birds like wood pigeons, jays, cuckoos, coal tits, blue tits and robins.
Listen for for drill of green or spotted woodpeckers searching for grubs beneath the tree bark, or watch for the rustle of leaves as blackbirds and thrushes dart and creep through the undergrowth.
Mice, voles and squirrels can be seen scurrying across the path of leaping through the trees, while fallow deer or red deer can be spotted grazing if you are quiet.
Pay really close attention and you might also spot the signs of fox scat, badger dens or rabbit burrows – telltale signs of other woodland inhabitants.
As you walk through the woods, remember to pay attention to all the layers and to keep your senses aware to sights and sounds in all of those layers – the sky above, the canopy, the tree trunks, the understory, the undergrowth and down at ground or below ground levels.
Tread quietly and carefully to give yourself a chance at spotting wildlife and try not to stray from paths and disturb their habitats or vegetation.You might be suprised at what is around you!
So why not try a woodland nature walk and share some of the treasures you find in the comments below. I love hearing about them x
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