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

Soggy Saturday in October

The turn of the season is felt, not so much as a drop in temperature or the way the need for warm socks and waterproofs creeps up on you, but in the way the woods smell different. Decaying leaves, leaves still on the trees but for whom decay is imminent: the smell, for me, of being 11 years old and at a new school, where our introduction to Biology was the invitation to compile a Biology Scrapbook over the course of a year.

So, diligently, I collected those leaves on the point of rotting, pressed them between tissues in encyclopedia volumes, and learned, when I next opened the books to mount them, the subtle distinction between the smell of sycamore, poplar, beech and oak leaves in autumn.

Today, Five Mile Wood smells again of the Biology scrapbook. Weaving in and out of the olfactory hamper of autumn comes the odour of wet grass, heavily trodden, and the varied aromas of dozens of species of fungi, above and below ground, seen and unseen. It is raining, softly but insistently, the rain bringing its own subtle influence on how each smell is perceived, like a wash applied over a freshly executed painting, that changes its whole nature. Beech leaves, nowhere near inclined to fall, glisten with rain. Waves of ripples from falling raindrops diffract and blur in pools and ditches. I am challenged to keep the rain from running down my neck, challenged by the chill in the air, challenged by the distraction of mushrooms and lack of time that cut this walk a wee bit short.

I won’t bore you with more gratuitous gloating about the basket of edible mushrooms I took home to dry or make into fungus and ale pies, nor with more photos of the ones I can identify! But today, the woods presented me with the gift of an unknown species. Actually, the woods do that every time I go foraging, for there are many, many mushrooms I cannot differentiate. But as I know they’re not on the “edible and good” list which is tattooed into my brain, I indolently dismiss them as “small brown jobs”. Which they usually are.

Today’s find was a real unknown unknown, to quote Donald Rumsfeld. Bright orange-red globes popping up through the grassy banks between the path and the ditch; I first mistook them for discarded tomatoes. But they were fungi, no question, and when I cut one open to help identify it, it was hollow, with pale-coloured ribbing inside. I had never seen anything like it, but as it was so distinctive, I expected identification to be straightforward.

So far, I have not found this species in any of my books, and have drawn a blank from the social media mushroom groups from whom I begged enlightenment. Someone said they’d once seen something similar, but yellow, only got distracted by all the edible ceps nearby. Easily done! I have contacted the Tayside & Fife Fungi Group, and wait in hope. I will find out…. Perhaps someone reading this will have the name, and be laughing at my ignorance?



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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