Crisp, summer, early morning in the woodland with the mist and Sun finding their way through the branches and trunks to the bilberry bushes and mosses alight with dew.
I moved silently, I felt like I was still dreaming, I moved slowly and the Red Stag stood up strong, flexed and watched me. Still. Everything was still… I watched him.
Carried on the wind the frantic call of a nest squeezed full of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and the bubbling and tinkling of the river. It’s so low for this time of year.
I wish I could see the Otter that keeps leaving a trail on the stones.
A rustle.. and a darting.. a bank vole, found out.
The corvids call.
I smell moss, deep and musky, I’m intoxicated. A blend of sandalwood, freshly cut tree leaves and soil. Soil.
The dew has made the lichen come alive again, dripping off the branches of the Oak like jade jewels. I thought they would go to dust they had been so dry, for so long. Oh, it’s dry for this time of year.
Like liquid the fox poured over the stone bank between the legs of the elephant Beech.
Then I saw an Oak bleed.
I saw it bleeding from a wound in it’s trunk. Black slime oozing out of the heart of the Oak, pouring, staining, down the trunk.
An Oak was bleeding. An Oak. And another! I see another Oak bleeding!
I’d heard that Oaks were dying. I’d heard we’re in a high risk area. I’d heard that thousands of trees in my area had been felled. Thousands.
And these Oaks are bleeding, are these Oaks dying? I’d heard that Oaks were under attack from a black slime oozing out of their hearts, pouring, staining, down their trunks.
Are these Oaks dying?
Red Stag bolted through the campion & bluebells to the coppice.
The corvids call.
I ran and sent a photograph, phoned and searched. Desperate. Frantic, I must save those trees, I must save those trees!
It took no time at all to be told if the Oaks were dying. If my family, these beautiful Oaks would have to come down.
An answer from my public forester, ‘ah, no, not this time… all part of the diverse ecology of the woodland…’
I wont forget the images my mind created of the British Isles without her Oak. Without her back bone. The loss of a home, so part of me, so full of everything I find vital in my life…
I vow; I must do everything in my power to save those trees. I WILL save those trees.
Everything you need to know about Phytophthora Ramorum:
The Forest Research branch of the Forestry Commission is our first defence in the fight to stop ramorum spreading and taking hold in our Oaks and other species, including Bilberry. They’re also tasked with protecting us from all other tree health threats.
- Forestry Commission have been hit with a huge 25% cuts.
- DEFRA are yet to publish what cuts there will be to Forest Research.
- DEFRA are yet to finish publishing their cuts to our woods.
- Forestry Commission – set up to fail.
- Forestry Panel – set up to fail?
Respond to the Forestry panel, set up to decide the future of our woodlands and forests: