Gnarled old beech by boxplayer

Gnarled old beech

Lots of these amazing old trees in Epping Forest.

Another short Epping forest 3-miler with F joining us again on what turned out to be a beautiful warm sunny day.

A lovely walk, from High Beach to the north east and back round. These amazing beeches were on the first stretch - huge, great gnarled shapes. Lots of typical forest scenery with the beeches, wigwam shelters and slopes going down to the Lee Valley.

Notable today was that there was a lot of fungus about - parasol mushrooms, huge bracket things on trees (possibly a beefsteak) and polypores. Most of the blackberries seemed to have gone or gone over, but still lots of sloes, hips and haws. F actually ate the sloes - he seemed to like them.

Lots of cyclists and other walkers about. Found the Japanese elm grove again which was interesting for F. And on through the pretty village of Upshire. At the end of that, we came across the most terrible footpath which was basically a complete nettle patch. F was alright in his wellies, and I had long leggings and trainers on. But Dave was in shorts and sandals - so not pleasant.

And then because the ground was uneven, I tripped and fell right into the nettles. Huge lumps of nettle rash came up on my arm and though the pain died away as it usually does, it did throb on and off throughout the day in an unpleasantly tingly fashion.

In flower news, came across some creeping thistle and the first Himalayan balsam we've seen this year. Played with the seed pods, making sure to make it even more invasive. No longhorned cows in fields today but did come across a comedy bull - huge horns with a ring through its nose, safely behind a fence.

The last bit of the walk was given as a bit of choice in the book - either retracing the paths we'd started out on, or another route for those 'feeling more adventurous' it said. This turned out to be a route back to High Beach straight through the forest not using any paths. Not quite as bad as the nettle patch, but I did seem to have a knack for leading us through the thickest of holly thickets and tangles of fallen trees and branches.

Back at High Beach to visit the welcome loos. Seemed to be complete bedlam with no parking left (had been already busy when we arrived) and cars blocking back along the road or hovering around looking for a place, and all the while the bikers were revving up irritatingly.

Had tea and the most amazing halloumi sandwiches plus cheesy chips from the hatch at the Kings Oak - F going for a bacon sarnie. He was dead impressed by the cheesy chips.

Drove back, dropping off F, then read in the garden. Was still warm and I got the lounger out to relax on. Moved to the front of the house to chase the setting sunshine. The 3 foxes were around and the mobbing sparrows were having dust baths. One of the foxes tried to go for one, but failed this time.

Veggie kebab while watching The Quiet Man - a silly romp.

Birch polypore

13 September 2020
High Beach, Epping Forest
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