This was enough for S and I to take ourselves to Hayley Wood on Sunday. It's a reserve in the flatlands of Cambridgeshire:52 hectares of ancient woodland managed by the local wildlife trust. It is also a site of Special Scientific Interest renowned for its oxlips.
We've pretty much consistently missed them over the last several years and were determined that this year we'd get there early enough in the season while the trees were still skeletal. When nothing much was showing any signs of being alive. The wood can seem a bit desolate in winter but we were determined to catch it at its best. We wanted to see and marvel at these rarities.
We searched for green sprouts. There weren't many. Just some hints of Dog's Mercury
and a few Bluebell leaves. We were sure we must be too early.
But then there were few likely leaves, and then some plants in bud, and finally.....
The birds were in fine spring voice and there was a total absence of traffic noise. The unaccustomed sensation of sunshine on my face and forearms felt like unadulterated luxury.
|there were even a few shy wood anemones|