February in an Essex Wood

By Sally Pudney on 11th February 2016

I was very fortunate to have chosen today to make my February visit to the wood, for my ’12 Months in an Essex Wood’ project: the weather was perfect – cold and a bit frosty first thing, but no wind, and bright sunshine with a blue sky and a few wispy clouds. Perfect!

My Land Rover, (‘Liberty Bell X’) said it was only 4C when I parked by the old church, but it didn’t feel cold. The leaf litter in the wood was edged with frost, though . . .

Hillhouse wood February 4. . . but on the sides of the track going down to the wood there were thick clumps of snowdrops, and in the churchyard the daffodils were out!

Hillhouse wood February 1

I took the right hand path and walked down through the coppiced hazels which were thick with catkins, and the ground beneath was covered with brilliant green bluebell leaves shooting up.

Hillhouse wood February 2

Hillhouse wood February 3

The blue tits were chasing each other through the lower branches, and there was a lot of bird song – robin, blackbird, great tit, jackdaw, crow, pheasant. Distant gun shot. Occasional light aircraft overhead. It was very peaceful and I didn’t see a soul.

I made a detailed drawing of an old deeply fissured oak tree, and another drawing of a tree with pale bark lit by the sun, and the path winding through the bracken beyond – which I think will be the subject of my big painting for February. I also picked up oak and sweet chestnut leaves, and some heavily lichened small branches.

Hillhouse wood February 7

February treasure from the wood



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