New England, USA

New England, USA

I walked into the New Hampshire woods with all their redolent decay. Walking into the deciduous forests in the White Mountains near North Conway was like entering a cathedral where light poured through the leaves, resembling vaults of stained glass. I left the trail, wading in grasses and ferns, to a thinning where the bright morning had illuminated a spinney of startling yellow aspen and fiery maple. A cluster of rounded boulders were flecked with fallen leaves as if carefully pasted to the surface, reminding me of the plane trees of rainy Paris in October whose fallen leaves adorn the pavements like unseen works of nature art. I reached down and picked up a single leaf from the litter. Its map-like patterning of slow gradations of emerald through dusky salmon into soft jasmine and deep rosy red, dry and brittle at the serrated edges, soft and supple within – as if it were telling me of its life story. Through the branches, chandeliers of hanging colours drew me towards a hidden pond. A breathtaking quietness on the water open to the sky. The pond entirely mirrored the woodland palette. In the marshy tangle of the margins, a green-winged teal circled, busily picking the surface. Across the water on the far side, a tiny cabin and a rowing boat gave me to imagine as if Henry David Thoreau might have gazed out from here, watching the world accelerate around him, enraptured in the healing world of the quiet woods.

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New book: KINDER SCOUT – The People's Mountain

Words by Ed Douglas | Photography by John Beatty Read More →

Fungi Hunting in Winter Woods

Woodlands in Britain are quiet in winter. In the Peak District where I live we are surrounded by mixed woods. Sycamore, beech, larch and birch flank many of our valley sides. After prolonged rain when the dank trees are dripping on to soggy leaf mould it is a great time to go hunting for a few common fungi species.  Read More →