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Trees or Woods?


We made it to this magical place just up the road. In my dreams, in a perfect world, I would step out my back gate into something like this. Alas, it is not to be but I can still access it most days I want.

It looks like some sort of fairy glen which isn’t, to be honest far from the truth. I am pretty sure when I was a bairn, we did call this place The Fairy Glen. After grant funding paths and upgrades, I expect its title was changed too. Or maybe its name was always unofficial. There are so many Fairy Glens or Woods dotted around, I suppose a more distinct one was required.

It is an amazing place though. Today the sun was reluctant to come out. Therefore the bluebells although plentiful didn’t dazzle so much. However, the wild garlic as you can see was very impressive. Given my post was on bluebells last week I thought I should give our wee pungent flowers the chance to shine and in this case smell.

That is the one drawback of walking here at this time of the year. All that fresh air and exercise makes you hungry. Normally, a light lunch or piece of fruit would do. However, after smelling wild garlic all the way around the only thing I wanted was a large curry. Thankfully, the drive-back eroded some of that craving.

Birds were singing, their songs echoed above us. The white of the garlic interspersed the bright blue of the bluebells. Tiny white flowers waved in the breeze, whilst glimpses of pink and purple could be seen mixing in the undergrowth. Yellow whin blasted your eye with its brilliance.

The tree canopy wasn’t fully out which allowed all this amazing and abundant undergrowth to flourish. Diversity was obvious all around us when walking. Trees of many varieties, some in bloom some with their leaves creeping out allowed for space and light within the woods. It is such a healthy environment for all of nature including our wellbeing and souls.

Can you imagine if we had places like this planted all over Scotland? Think of the good these ‘lungs’ of our planet would do, not only to our wildlife but ourselves; our own mental and physical health.

Properly planted, trees and woods add to and enhance the planet and us. They take out carbon and nitrogen dioxide from the air. They filter particular matter out. In other words, they are the ‘goodies’ of the planet.

The government wants more trees planted to offset all the damage we humans have done to our planet. However, they are talking mostly about commercial forestry. What will that do except probably allow landowners to access money to buy a crop that will generate even more money? Later, as they harvest the ‘crop’ it will release water vapours that will once more help to raise the temperature. It will, in fact, knock out some of the good the trees have done.

Commercial forests often feel dark and foreboding. Perhaps because they do not sustain the variety of life that a more natural wood does. They do not leave us, humans, with the same fantastic feeling of being alive and in tune with nature. Don’t get me wrong, there is a need for commercially grown trees but they are not what the nation and the planet need on a colossal scale right now.

What we do need, especially after such a trying time for most people, is the longer-term view. The planting and developing of natural areas that are alive with wildlife and plants. Much talk is made rightly of the rain forests, yet we possess northern equivalents we could copy.

Why should we expect other countries to stop deforestation when we are contemplating doing just that in a few years? We need to plant woods that will stay for generations, which help heal ourselves, the wildlife and the planet, something permanent, for everything.

We need to stop considering how much money it will make a person or an organisation and consider how much wellbeing, diversity and purification it has created. In short, we need to look again at how we measure our values and what is deemed successful.

Thank goodness for the woods we have that support so many different trees and wildlife. And of course to organisations such as Trees for Life which appear to live up to their name. I sincerely hope, you all have access to a natural wood on your doorsteps.

Happy walking.

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