Leafy Loveliness – Canal & Pony Wood

Saturday 12th November

Hazel leaf, Pony Wood (c) Ros Jones

Our walk started near Aldi on Aldcliffe Road, following the canal along to Pony Wood. We took the newer path through the wood, then headed down into Fairfield. We then went via Flora and Fauna back out to Cromwell Road where we finished.

Unseasonably warm weather

It was a beautiful day, blue skies and bright sun. It was very warm for November, a clear sign of our changing climate. This was evident with many green leaves on trees and shrubs, and even a few red campion in flower.

Green leaves and blue skies at Pony Wood (c) Ros Jones

Luscious leaves – the science behind it

I was asked in advance of the walk about how leaves change colour in the autumn (and why). In simplistic terms, the main green colour we see is broken down as day length and temperatures reduce, revealing other pigments also stored in the leaves. The reason we still have so many green leaves in Lancaster at the moment is that temperatures are still (relatively) high. This, combined with high Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels makes it worthwhile for some plants to keep their green leaves (when they would normally have shed them by now).

For a fuller explanation of autumn leaf colours, the Woodland Trust has a relatively simple explanation. For a deeper dive into the science, there is a great article on Wikipedia.

Poetry Corner

Following on from the Jays we encountered two weeks ago, I found a beautiful poem from ‘The Lost Spells‘ by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris.

Jay, Jay, plant me an acorn.
I will plant you a thousand acorns.

Acorn, acorn, grow me an oak.
I will grow you an oak that will live
for a thousand years.

Year, year, fledge me a Jay.
I will fledge you a Jay that will plant
you a thousand acorns that will each
grow a thousand oaks that will each
live a thousand years that will each
fledge a bright-backed, blue-winged,
forest-making Jay.

Illustration by Jackie Morris from The Lost Spells

Next walk

Our next walk is on Sunday 27th November along the Quay to Freeman’s Wood. More information here.