Back to the woods

Danni heads back to Staveley Woodlands, after a sixth-month absence, takes in a deep breath of the warming, woodland scents and is inspired once again by this wonderful wildlife habitat
Image of Staveley woodlands © Danni Chalmers

A misty morning in Craggy Wood © Danni Chalmers

Coming back to Staveley Woodlands after missing the last six months, I thought I would be thinking of the summers fun events and conservation days we had missed out on, but I walked to the top of Craggy and stopped, breathed in the scent of the warming woodland floor and reminded myself of the beautiful views and the wonderful wildlife that is here in Staveley. This is the best time of year to pick up where we left off, with our appreciation of the woods and all they have to offer. With the woodlands changing colour and autumn's harvest upon us, it’s a great time to get out there and enjoy working in the woods again.

Fabulous fungi
It's that amazing time of year again when Staveley Woodlands blooms with a variety of fungi. There are so many different species to be found on the trees and log piles and in the leaf litter and damp ground surrounding the trees. There is a brilliant variety of colours too, from the purple hue of the amethyst deceivers, the deep green of the green elf cups, and the spectacular red of the fly agaric. I have found a striking “scaly” fungus this week too, the shaggy scalycap which is one I have not seen before (see photos below). 

Tree growing
Join our ever-growing group of backyard tree growers and grow your own trees to plant in Staveley Woodlands.  This year has been fabulously bountiful, with nuts and berries. Please do collect some from the local area (making sure to leave plenty for the wildlife), pot them up and keep them safe until our planting days next year. If you want the Staveley Woodlands guide on growing locally-sourced trees, detailing how to take things you collect from berry to sapling, please drop me an email and I’ll send it to you. I have been busy at home setting up my own mini Staveley Woodlands nursery, looking after saplings we have grown since last year, as well as starting many more.  It’s very rewarding knowing that these trees will be growing for years to come, becoming part of the Lake District landscape.

A big thank you
While we are on the topic of trees, I would like to take a second to thank our wonderful local volunteers who have kept the Staveley tree nursery trees alive since April. It has taken lots of watering and weeding to get them through the last few months and they are all thriving well.

Busy badgers and super-fast weasels
While walking the woodlands last week, I found lots of signs of badger activity so will be putting out the wildlife camera again to try and catch our bumbling black and white friends in action. Hopefully next month I will be able to update you with some photos of them. While putting up a wall gap in Craggy last week, I also spotted a wonderful little weasel, who was sprinting around the log piles. You can watch a short clip of the weasel on our Facebook page (scroll to 22 October), Unfortunately it didn’t stay still long enough to get a good photo. Spotting signs of all this wonderful wildlife can be a really fun activity, Why not see if you can find any interesting footprints when you’re walking in the woods and share them with us? 

Sadly for now, any events in the woods are on hold until we can safely have groups together again, but keep an eye on the volunteering page of our website to find out when they might resume.