The weather is beginning to cool off (even after that little heat wave a few weeks ago) and our woodland is beginning to undergo its yearly transformation. It’s a beautiful time of year to go for a wander and as a child I used to love kicking piles of golden leaves into the air (sorry Mr Hedgehog!) and watch them cascade down around me. As a grown-up I do not do such reckless things anymore but there are certain magical places on the reserve where it seems to snow leaves. Little sheltered spots where the leaves just seem to almost float as they dance around you eventually resting gently upon the earth.
One particular tree that looks especially good at this time of year is the European beech (Fagus sylvatica) however they are not actually native to this part of the country. Over time the humble beech tree has reached northern England and Scotland by means of human intervention; planted over the centuries for aesthetic and practical uses. As a conservation ranger working in Scotland, I shouldn’t like beech trees but they just seem to brighten dreary days at this time of year and for that reason I think they’re pretty awesome! As part of the woodland management regime on the reserve we look to take out over time the beech trees that are of little landscape and conservation value. Often they are left as standing deadwood which is excellent for all kinds of wildlife and where they are brought to the ground they are left lying in-situ. It is very important to consider the designed landscape when thinking of doing any work to any of our trees. The Falls of Clyde is not just an excellent site for biodiversity but also has its historical merits. At one time the Falls were visited as part of a petit tour of Scotland, Wales and England. The Falls would be the final stop on the tour and was seen as one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places to visit.
Next week I will be leading a guided walk on Wednesday 19th October at 2pm-4pm. I will be talking about basic tree identification of our most common native and non-native species and I will be explaining some of the myths and legends associated with them. Booking is essential and you can call or email the visitor centre for further information.
Telephone: 01555 665 262
Laura – Falls of Clyde Ranger