Saturday, 15 February 2014

A wet February walk in Excelsior Woods

A break in the rain and it was off to nearby woods for a sloshy stroll around to see how they have fared with all this bad weather. A few photographs will give a feel for it.
I was thinking that there weren't that many flowers around when - duh - I realised that I was surrounded by hazel flowers - catkins. These are the male flowers. The female flowers are not so prominent and look like buds on the plant stems. If you look closely, you can just about make out some of the red styles that emerge at the top of the buds.
Water coming from new places. This cascade was not there the last time I came this way. It was formed by water draining from a nearby mine adit.
The pile of stones on the right might not look that significant but they are the remains of the old deer park boundary. First documented in 1215, by 1272 Kerrybullock Deer Park was owned by the Earl of Cornwall, and in 1337 passed into the Duchy of Cornwall. The Park continued until 1542, when it was “disparked” in the reign of Henry VIII. It is thought that it was not so much a hunting place but rather a nursery where deer were raised and subsequently moved to the grounds surrounding Restormel Castle at Lostwithiel (about 30 miles away) for sport.
Something else that doesn't look significant - but is.  The just-about-discernable hole-in-the-ground is, in fact, a wheel pit that at one time housed a 40 foot diameter water wheel. It was powered by water that would have been fed in from the top via a series of launders (wooden shutes), leats and reservoirs. There are few remains of any of these now as the undergrowth has taken over but it's fun scrabbling around looking for traces.
Stoke Climsland Parish Church in the distance with a fallen tree in the foreground. And there was a blue sky - but it didn't last that long before more rain came down.
The only fungus I came across was this one: the Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor, previously known as Coriolus versicolor). It's a very common bract fungus and gets its name because some think its multi-colour looks like, mmmm, a turkeytail. Versicolor means many coloured. Its thin, white wavy margin is quite distinctive.
When it is able, the Turkeytail can be almost circular in form. When they are like this, their form can be really appreciated.
There were lots of fallen trees in the woods. Caused, I think, not so much by the winds but by the fact that the rains have meant that they are effectively rooted in mud rather than soil. In these conditions, it doesn't take much for some of them to topple over.
A few red berries add a splash of colour against the vivid green moss. I was going to do something arty-farty with these in Photoshop but fell at the first hurdle. I really must brush up on my masking skills.


Spot said...

Deri, Do you have a reference for the name Excelsior? dkp

DNP said...