Tremendous Tree Trunks

16th century barn, still in use, rabbits in foreground

On Sunday we had a really nice walk at Abinger Roughs. It was the first time we’ve walked there and there’s a pleasant, well signposted walk through mixed broadleaf woodland, ending at a 16th century barn that is still in use by a local shepherd. The Beatrix Potteresqueness of the scene was complete by a large family of rabbits lounging around in the sun, taking no notice of us at all.

There are some really interesting trees in the wood, in particular a three hundred year old beech tree which has developed a vast, knarled trunk. It isn’t unusually tall, but the trunk is very thick, with branches the size of mature trees reaching out like spider’s legs from the twisted central body.

We saw a large hoof fungus on a dead tree – Fomes fomentarius. It was too high up to get a good look at, but it’s visible on the photo below. Also known as tinder fungus, it was one of the items found with the 5,000 year old mummy; Ötzi the ice-man. He had with him pieces of fungus, threaded on leather thongs, of tinder fungus and also of birch polyphore. The tinder fungus was used for lighting fires, while the birch polyphore has antibacterial properties which he probably used medicinally.

I was struck by the variety of colours and textures of tree bark as we were walking around, so I thought I’d capture some of them.



7 thoughts on “Tremendous Tree Trunks

    • Thanks Marie, yes it’s the same. It’s a very adaptable tree; it can be bright and bushy in a hedgerow or gnarled and twisted and bent by the winds in an exposed position. It often gets that wonderful spiral effect – the only other tree that often does that is sweet chestnut, on a much larger scale.

  1. Few photographers realize that the colors and textures of tree bark are very interesting to see in close-up photography, delivering fascinating paintings.

  2. Great shots! You still amaze me with your knowledge of all things in the natural world (or were the trees sign-posted!!!).

    • Thank you! No they weren’t signposted (honest guv 🙂 ); they’re the easy to identify ones… maybe I should do some blog posts about tree identification? Most of our broadleaved woodlands in Surrey are made up predominantly of 5 or so trees; oak, ash, beech, hazel, hawthorn. Lots silver birch too, especially on heathland, along with scots pine, yew, whitebeam and alder. I’ve probably missed loads there!

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