Early October, we both had flu. On the second Saturday, sunlight glimpsed through leaden clouds after overnight rain. We agreed a short walk in the fresh air would do us good. After two weeks of inactivity I thought it judicious to put a bandage on my foot and wear proper walking boots before venturing up to Crow Nest Wood. Almost immediately on hitting the first steep part of the path, my bad foot gave way, with a sharp pain – not in my ankle but on the top part. I hobbled on to reach a low wall where I could squat to tighten the bandage. I was able to proceed, with care, but I rued the decision to wear the boots which I suspected had caused the problem. A little further up, we found a gap in the large garden hedges allowing us to admire trees across the valley displaying autumnal splendour.
At the corner we took the left-hand path, remembering this was usually the quickest route to the top of the wood. But the stony surface and wet leaves compounded by several days’ worth of overnight rain, made it arduous and extremely slippy at times. Soon, our noses were assaulted by the stink of sulfur from rotten trees. Disgusting-looking black fungi resembling tyres sprouted from one decayed trunk. Phil slid dangerously off the path to investigate. I had to laugh when he asked “How do I get back up now?” “That’s your problem!”
Elsewhere, fungi appeared in more appealing shades of ochre and white. Small caps topped slender stems sprouting among sodden leaves at the edge of the path. An ivory puffball had become covered in green mould – Fungi on fungi as it were.
Among the twisty trees on the top path, green faded slowly from leaves to be replaced by a spectrum of yellows and russets. We continued to the babbling brook and perched on a rock to listen to the gushing waterfall. In search of more we continued towards the old quarry. Here, large patches of deep, squelching mud at last made me glad I had my proper boots on. As predicted, a cascade plummeted down the cliff-face of the quarry creating new streams and yet more deep mud patches. We zig-zagged up and down small paths to avoid them and return to the main route.
Mushrooms grew from a felled birch. White flecked with black, they almost merged with the monochrome stripes of the tree trunk. We mused on the weirdness of the woodland where things appeared dead and alive at the same time. I wondered why it was not a popular spot for witches!
We continued to Wood Top, turned left down to the station and into town for lunchtime pies. I stopped to chat to an old schoolfriend on the way. Back home, I had to immediately take off my muddy boots and jeans…
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjkK19zVvfQti9AFrdpJtMBb7HQtVQ?e=aHYJeN