Thursday, 19 August 2010
Hirst Wood, near Shipley in Yorkshire, stands on an area of terminal moraine laid down by a glacier in the last ice age. The River Aire curves round its western edge and is closely followed by the Leeds Liverpool canal across the northern boundary. Although Hirst Wood consists predominantly of oak trees, you can also find silver birch, pussy willow and a central hanger of the trees in this photograph, which are beech.
I love all trees, but I think beech are amongst my favourite, with their tall, smooth grey-barked trunks and the graceful spread of the canopy high overhead. In autumn they turn a beautiful golden brown and carpet the woodland floor with their leaves; perfect for kicking up on a cold October morning. It is the thickness of this leaf cover, preventing the growth of much undertree foliage, which gives beech woods such an open feel. They always give me a sense of peacefulness and space; like a natural cathedral.
My mum used to make brooches out of beads arranged inside the open casings of the 3-sided beech nut. I remember that she would sometimes sell them when the Ladies group she belonged to organised coffee mornings or stalls as fundraisers. They were quite popular. The casings, I discover, are called cupules, while the nuts, I already knew, are beechmast.
I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow colour school - Green, for the colour of the translucent leaves.