Church Way Wood
During the 80-90's I would walk daily through Church Way Woods with my beautiful Newfoundland dog. With the changing seasons I would often encounter something new: a pile of feathers on an old tree stump; indicating a 'plucking post' for a bird of prey, or a brightly coloured toadstool, fungus or flower. There was always something new that had not grown in a particular spot the year before and each walk was like a new adventure.
My 'woodland' artwork is a mixed media: watercolour/gouache painting. I decided to portray the fauna and flora of the wood including as many of my lovely memories as possible. Over a long period of time I sketched the numerous plants, insects and animals seen. The focal point is 'Sitting Tree', where we spent many blissful and happy hours just sitting, watching and listening to the woods and its inhabitants. From this special place I was able to observe at close quarters, deer, hares, voles, stoats, birds, wood mice and shrews.
Buzzards would often circle high above the treetops calling to one another and occasionally would settle in the branches close by. One day I heard a rustling from above and realised that there were two young fluffy tawny owls peering down at me through the foliage; they wobbled about as they tried to balance precariously on the large branch directly above my head. Robins, long tailed tits, gold crests, nuthatches and many more all lived in, or passed through the woods in search of food. The only time I knew it to be silent was when a sparrowhawk arrived. Everything in the woods would be instantly and eerily silent - not a sound could be heard. Only when this handsome bird of prey had flown away, would the woods come back to life.
All ancient woodlands are precious. Woodlands are crucial to sustaining life on our planet and are also an invaluable environmental and ecological resource. Woodlands enrich our lives in many ways and are home to so many species. It is imperative we protect and conserve our remaining native woodlands.