Last and First

As I’m writing, we are officially sailing through the first day of 2021 in the UK, so firstly a very Happy New Year to us all.

Yesteryear was probably – for a lot of people – a branch that we’d like to snap across our knee. Although our boundaries and freedom have changed drastically, a lot of us have also managed to spend more time with our families and friends outdoors, exploring local Nature spots and relishing time out in the wild.

On the last day of 2020, we went on a walk on the familiar Tarka Trail, starting from a place that we hadn’t been to before: Petrockstowe.

“The Tarka Trail, a 180 miles (290 km) circuit, runs from Meeth to Braunton and in this area follows the route of the former North Devon and Cornwall Junction Light Railway. The portion near Petrockstowe is generally flat. It comes within about a mile of the centre of the village, passing through the old Petrockstowe station. There are two nature reserves in the area, Meeth Quary and Ash Moor, both owned by the Devon Wildlife Trust. Meeth Quarry has wetland, open water and woodland habitats which support 18 species of national importance and six threatened wildlife habitats. Ash Moor, interlinked with Meeth Quarry, is on the Tarka Trail.” – Wikipedia

As we walked in pelting hail, we passed moss and fern-covered conifer plantations, black face sheep grazing in fields, gnarly oaks peeping out amongst the plantation woodlands (with many reaching across the fringes) and beeches lining up along the gurgling streams, their limbs creating a lovely arch. There were also patches where clear felling of conifers has taken place (possibly for conservation, as there were several bird of prey perches intentionally erected).

It was a cold New Year’s Eve, but the warmth in my heart from being around my favourite ancient beings made even my fingertips toasty; admittedly it could be because I was busy taking photos!

My wish is a new year filled with hope, love, happiness, gratitude and the constant appreciation of the natural environment around me. As for my professional aspirations on my journey with giants, I hope to continue learning about trees and grasping every opportunity I can to work with and understand them.

Lastly, have a great 2021 and whatever you do, believe in it!

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