I’m finding it hard to believe it’s only February. The day is so warm that I can venture out in merely a T-shirt and thin jacket; this part of England seeming to have bypassed winter altogether and gone straight into spring. Flowers bloom in the rain-dampened earth – crocuses, snow drops - the usual signifiers that the weather is warming. As I walk beneath the canopy of old oaks, their branches stretching up and out towards the pale blue sky, I see the remnants of last week’s storms. Some of the trees have fallen completely, a tangle of roots now dehydrated and dying. Branches and other debris is scattered across the path too, causing my journey to zigzag as I dodge the miniature wooden mountains.
Despite my semi-treacherous choice of route, I enjoy this way the most. Above me an angry squirrel yells hoarsely at a magpie which blinks uninterested in the rodent’s screams. A Great Tit perched on a thin stick sings loudly, drowning out most of the other noise