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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Spring comes to Badock's Wood

One of the things I've really enjoyed this spring is walking in nearby Badock's Wood.  Since my late winter walk there in mid-February, I've been back several times and watched the trees and mud turn green and the stream of stones that was the Trym fill into something almost deserving the name river. 

This is what it looked like in early March. I was there trying to persuade our collie, Cwtch, that it's nice splashing in water, but she wasn't having it. It was only when she was chasing crows that she'd get even a toe wet. 

Here and there were hints of a change of season...

wood anemone

... but the predominant colour was mud. 

Above the gorge, I explored the badgers' sett ...

... and found an impressive display of jelly ear fungi.

It was a bit more cheerful up there, with early-flowering cherry plum putting on an impressive show of blossom and a promise of spring to come.

And then, a few days later, we had more snow, and continuing low temperatures that seemed to stall everything for several weeks. It was early April before the blackthorn at the edges of the woodland above the Trym took centre stage. 

Down by a rather more fulsome Trym there were many more wood anemones on show, plus one or two early bluebells ...

... and a distinct smell of garlic, courtesy of the ramson leaves sprouting through the soil. 

Also in the wood I spotted some rather elderly looking - well, I think they're Velvet Shanks ...

... and the trees rang with squabbling jackdaws and crows.

Best of all, on the edge of what was, pre-Covid, a playing field but now appears unused, except by dogs and their walkers, a bumble bee on a dandelion. Getting there. 

It would be a stretch to call Badock's Wood a bluebell wood - its specialist subject is garlic - but by the end of April, there were as many in flower as anyone who knows the place has a right to expect. 

By the round barrow it was looking lush at last and there were intimations of cow parsley ... 

... which, less than a fortnight later, looks like this:

There are one or two hawthorns out now too ... 

... fallen petals from horse chestnut blossom ... 

... an an early elderflower blossom ... 

... and even some Chicken of the Woods fungus, but the (literal) stars of the show are the ramsons: 

Badock's Wood has sustained me for years, especially during my divorce when I didn't know how I was going to keep myself or my children going. And there are reminders there of what's been lost, but each year all that new growth and renewal recharges the spirit, reminds me to keep passing the open windows.  

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