Do look up


Beech leaves in Cairn Wood (c) Duncan Hutt


Horse chestnut leaves (c) Duncan Hutt

It’s an odd thing that most of us live our lives at eye level and below.  We may look down to the ground in front of our feet or at the distant horizon but rarely, unless prompted by the sound of a bird or an aeroplane, do we look up.  In cities the tops of all but the most iconic buildings remain largely unseen; in the countryside it is the trees that suffer our neglect.  In Cairn Wood, in the countryside above Belfast Lough in County Down, the bright sunshine and fresh spring leaves combined to provide a spectacle directly above.  The light breeze added to the dynamics of the vista with leaves playing in the dappled shadows of those above, dropping in an out of semi darkness.

The woodland trees were not all Irish natives: horse chestnut, with its seven fingered leaves, is an introduction to this part of the world along with beech.  Beech has a ‘natural distribution’ which includes the south of England but further north it has been assisted by people (would it have made it on its own by now to the north of England and beyond?).  In Ireland it’s a bit more clear-cut as it’s not native here at all and with the Irish Sea in the way would never have become so on its own.  Horse chestnut is a south-east European species introduced to both Great Britain and Ireland.  Alongside these two species were a few English oak and the occasional rowan but it was the beech that dominated here in this woodland.


Beech and oak leaves meet in the canopy (c) Duncan Hutt


About thehutts

The Hutts from Northumberland
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3 Responses to Do look up

  1. The oak leaves have only emerged here in the last couple of weeks. Sunlight sparkling through young beech leaves is very special to me. Trees are part of the joy of life to me.

    • thehutts says:

      The oak was out before the ash here so we are in for a ‘soak’. Still beautiful today but my colleagues are desperately in need of rain for the thousands of trees that have just been planted. Sally

  2. thehutts says:

    Ash was well out before the oak this year (2017) and it has been incredibly dry. There must be some truth in the old saying. Sally

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