At Lane End, we have a fenced woodland area for dogs (and people) to explore. There are easy paths to stroll down beneath the maturing trees, where you can let your dog roam free. The paths lead to a corner of the wood where we have let a pond develop. A couple of years ago we made a quiet place to sit here, to watch the dragonflies and birds flit about. The firepit is in this sheltered corner, ready for campfires and marshmallow toasting all year round.
The woodland is also a good place fror making a bivvy, and we have a brilliant one made by one of our favourite guests. Built last year, she made some improvements to it this year when she came back to stay with her family.
Now towering above our heads, the trees have grown from the tiny saplings we planted nearly 30 years ago. The wood is a haven for wildlife, including hedehogs, pheasants, and so many birds! We love to see the jay family, our lucky magpies, the growing woodpecker brood and all the wagtails, doves, goldfinches, greenfinches, practically every kind of tit, sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes, robins and wrens who have made their home here. Wrens are surprisingly bold little birds who make their presence known if you get near one of their various nests. We had one nesting in the gunnera near Pitch 8 and crikey, did he tell us about it. We didn’t know, but the male wren will build more than one nest and install a female in each of them (busy boy). He obviously loved his spot by the pond as much as we hear our human visitors do when they stay on Pitch 8.
A wood is full of life, no matter the season. We love the changes ours goes through, causing us to slow down and take notice. Spring brings snowdrops, primroses, daffodils, bluebells and the promise of Summer. With Summer, the woodland floor is covered with cow parsley, pink campion, speedwell and buttercups. You can see this now – it looks beautiful. It is wonderful to see the bees, hoverflies and all the other insects we don’t know the names of making their home here. Even the nettles have their place, attracting red admiral, small tortoiseshell, painted lady and comma butterflies – nettles are food for their caterpillars. There will be sloes and blackberries in Autumn and the changing leaves bring a backdrop of gold, orange, red and brown. Winter shows off the beautiful bones of the trees, and the fir and holly provide colour, shelter and food for the resident wildlife.
As we watch the woodland change and the seasons come and go, we are reminded how incredible nature is and feel very lucky to be part of it. We hope you enjoy our woodland as much as we do. Your dogs too (obviously).