West Stormont Woodland Group

West Stormont
Woodland Group

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC051682

Join us today to bring Taymount Wood and Five Mile Wood into community ownership

“Last Leaves Falling” by Margaret Lear

I pause on my way through the woods, quietening my breathing, keeping as still as I can. There is no sound, there is no wind. There should be no movement. Yet within the vascular systems of the broadleaved trees that bound the track, small enzyme changes are at work, invisible changes that lead to letting go, abscission, leaf-fall.
West Stormont Woodland Group

And down they come, silent, slow, like snowflakes in a still winter’s night. There is no flurry, no sound of wind through dry foliage, just the falling. Just the peace. Some trees are bare already. Birches are among the first to blaze golden and lose their leaves. Oaks keep hold of theirs till the last, but then they are usually the last to open in spring. Mature trees abscise before young ones. Young trees, and trees that have been pruned, will produce what’s known as juvenile growth, one feature of which being that the processes of leaf-fall are delayed. That’s why beech trees are so popular for hedges, the dry, crackly leaves slipping from gold to brown and staying in place till spring.

In the deep centre of Taymount Wood, a young beech tree shines out like a beacon. They coat the ground, these last leaves, glossy with last night’s rain and the condensing sweat of the mist that loiters in the motionless, tangled branches. Small sweeps of the already fallen lie around sedges and rushes, in hidden puddles and ditches. What else do they conceal?

A small brown toad lurks unmoving as the day, camouflaged among old birch leaves at the path edge. Then he moves, lopes distractedly into the grass, and is visible.

I like the emergence into visibility of the toad, and I enjoy the wood revealing its secrets as the leaves fall. The bizarre jutting side-branch of a fir tree, and the even more inexplicable branch that has fallen over it like a necktie, and somehow grown into an A shape. The filigree, waterfalling twigs of bare birch trees. The holes in trunks and large branches, the red squirrel’s aerial expressway from tree to tree. When leaves fall, I see that some trees are still richly clothed, decked in lichens and mosses so profusely you can’t see the wood, and decorated with the jewels of fruit and fungi. Food, forage and habitat here for small creatures that depend on the woods through the winter.

By the King’s Myre, the stillness of the day is magnified by the strange open vastness of this stretch of water. Reeds and trees and overhanging trees are reflected; birds are absent or silent. In the boats drawn up to the jetty, the leaves lie in rain that’s collected there, the sky bounces back, grey, metallic, motionless. There are no wafting clouds; it is all cloud, all greyness. And more leaves unhook themselves from life, drift down soberly against the small frictions of the early winter air.

On twigs and branches, wherever a leaf falls, a small tight bud, wrapped unnoticed in its winter coat, remains and waits.



Previous Articles

Community Monthly Update – November 2023

We are really thrilled to let you know that Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has approved WSWG’s Revised Wildwood Proposal and Business Plan for Taymount Wood. This is the first big goal achieved in our Community Asset Transfer Process to bring Taymount and Five Mile Woods into community ownership!

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Community Monthly Update – October 2023

A highlight for the WSWG Project this month has been the timely teaming up of a group of employees from Aviva in Perth with some unexpectedly lovely autumn weather for a day of corporate volunteering. On 2 October, five enthusiastic Aviva colleagues spent the day with WSWG in the middle of Taymount Wood on a range of interesting and very useful tasks, quite a contrast to their usual office based working environment.

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Community Monthly Update – September 2023

Given the distinctly seasonal change in the weather of late, we thought we would bring our Word of the Month up to the top of our September update. Psithurism: (Noun) The sound of wind in the trees and rustling of leaves, from “psithuros”, the Greek word for whispering. Enjoy your woods this autumn!

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Community Monthly Update – August 2023

This month we really want to share with you a wonderful event we had – the joint woodland picnic on 22 July with Tayside Woodland Partnerships (TWP). We pitched our gazebos in a lovely grassy glade in Taymount Wood and set out a delicious picnic spread courtesy of Alison’s Kitchen in Blairgowrie – quiches, sausage rolls and cakes galore – on portable tables kindly lent to us by Stanley Village Hall. More food and home-baking was brought by the picnickers themselves. Despite weather forecasts to the contrary, it was a beautiful day with not a drop of rain or drizzle. After lots of great chat and good food, we heard a little about each of our organisations’ respective projects and then took a walk up the main track to King’s Myre Loch.

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Community Monthly Update – July 2023

First up this month is for us to say a big thank you to a lovely group of young people from Ochil Tower School in Auchterarder who had come on a mini-bus trip to visit Taymount Wood on 21 June … and just did a litter-pick whilst they were there!! What a great example of being good citizens – enjoying the environment and taking care of it together.

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Community Monthly Update – June 2023

We want to start with a big thank you to all WSWG volunteers who helped in the Wildflower and Mining Bee Rescue Mission this spring. Many times more wildflowers have come through along the various stretches of raked verge than would have been the case had they remained swamped by gorse mulch and, as seen in the photo here, mining bees have successfully emerged where the track surfaces were cleared to help them out too. And of course the cleared sections of track make for more comfortable going again for walkers and dogs. Lots more areas still need attention, and we will keep doing what we can when we can, but thank you again to everyone who helped make a difference for nature this spring.

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