Stayed local today with a walk around Lasgarn wood near Abersychan. This woodland is where I cut my naturalist teeth as a youngster, so was refreshing to revisit this morning. Sadly a couple of wych elm that I look forward to seeing in flower each spring are now dead, but on the positive side they are supporting a healthy population of velvet shank (Flammulina velutipes) fungi. Elsewhere flushed a woodcock from close to a now scrubbed over midden pit, a legacy of a long gone farmstead.
The smooth bark of beech trees lend themselves well to penknife name carvings. This, I seem to remember, was commoner in days of my youth when carrying a penknife was part of the toolkit of all aspiring boy scouts, alongside the ever ready Observers Book of Birds. I suppose some purists would view this activity as vandalism, but clearly it has done the tree little harm and to me this is symbol of a time when local people used the woodlands for more than just riding your motorbike through. In this respect these tree initials are as much part of our cultural heritage as a miners lamp or spoil tip.