There’s a special shift in the temperature as we race into November after this long hot Indian Summer. So on a still glassy Monday morning, when others are at work or school, I have the privilege (due to a teacher’s training day) to find myself alone with my girl on the edge of woodland, overlooking a salt marsh as the tide comes in with the smell of seaweed and mushrooms thick in the air.
Walking through the woods there are fungi everywhere (and of course there always are – their networks busily forging ahead underground and out of sight until they make their autumnal display). We spot lichens, identify and collect leaves and ponder what birds we’re hearing and seeing, and my daughter asks which would be my favourite habitat if I had to live off the land. Walking along the Erme it’s easy for me – estuary, with woods either side. Trees and fresh water are my thing – shelter, food, warmth, cooking, boats, spears.
Where would we be without trees?
As they lose their leaves and step into the dark rainsoaked colours of winter, we look for the mushrooms we’ve ‘planted’ in some beech logs, pile the car boot high with logs for our woodburner back home, and thank our lucky stars that these beasts of the South West continue to furnish us so generously with the material we need to make life not just comfortable but extremely beautiful too.
And that’s not even getting onto the air we breathe.
Go on, hug a tree. You know you want to.
The Flete Estate Office,
Haye Farm, Holbeton,
Telephone: 01752 830234