Return to Dog Hill Wood
Last week I paid a return visit to Dog Hill Wood with my camera for another chapter in my recording of the woods throughout the changing seasons (see Part 1 – Dog Hill Wood, Ledbury).
Now that spring is in full swing, the woods are carpeted in bluebells. They are, of course, quite beautiful, and while they’re impossible to miss because they’re everywhere, they make it entirely possible to miss the other flowers that are also in bloom. I saw wood anemones, yellow dead nettle, red campion and white campion, geraniums, marsh marigolds, primroses, euphorbia and many others. The ferns were also growing, frozen in their elegant unfurling.
I went earlier in the day this time on a partly cloudy day, so occasionally the sun would poke through and scatter the forest floor with pockets of light like thousands of torch beams picking out the highlights of the spring woods. I decided today would be all about colour and contrasts.
I took about 120 photographs that day, but only eight made the cut. To start with, how could I resist a traditional photograph of bluebells on the woodland floor. It wasn’t difficult to find a good composition – crouching down and turning around gave me several to choose from. I was surprised at just how pleased it made me to see rare white flowers among the many thousands of bluebells around the woods.
When the sun went behind some clouds, the many variations of green leapt out at me when I looked down – from the brown-green of last year’s fern and bramble leaves to the many hues of fresh growth, with bluebells, spent cherry blossom and wood anemones peppering the green carpet. The next four photographs are a small study of green on the forest floor.
But there weren’t just bluebells. Euphorbia is understated and so often overlooked, but it’s subtlety is part of its simple beauty. Shades of yellow green blending across the flowers. It’s peaceful.
And the cherry blossom was still out, but the petals and flowers were falling throughout the woodland. Several times I saw a cherry flower resting on the dark green leaves of yew trees. This also pleased me quite a bit – even the non-flowering trees were showing off that day.
Lastly, that vibrant green of spring ivy – caught in a shaft of sunlight against the bark of a tree, with a branch from last year brown and withering beside it. After the death of winter, life springs forth.
And so it continues.