Category Archives: The Beechwoods

The Beechwoods is a rare piece of mature beech woodland on the southern outskirts of Cambridge. It is a vantage point from which to observe and reflect on the seemingly inexorable expansion of the high-tech City.

Beechwoods Slug

If really felt like late summer in the Beechwoods this morning – bright sun, but a chill wind that sent a surf-like susurrus through the treetops. Big mushrooms with scaly biscuit coloured caps sprouting through the open ground under the … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Origins

I went to the Cambridgeshire Collection today to see if old OS maps of the Beechwoods give any clues as to why it has its distinctive shape.  The map for 1903 shows the familiar modern shape for the woods established … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Block?

I walked in the Beechwoods early this morning.  The sky was heavily overcast, lending the woods a flat, sombre, in places gloomy, air.  The play of light and shade that characterises the woods on good summer days was gone.  I … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Moment

I often hear people talk about ‘living in the moment’.  I’m not quite sure what that means, but it does seem foolish to both ignore the lessons of past experience and fail to plan for a rewarding future.  Better to … Continue reading

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Beechwoods – Road Less Travelled

Three of the most quoted lines in poetry are: ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less travelled by, / And that has made all the difference.’, from Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not … Continue reading

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Beechwood Variations

If I sit here and try to imagine The Beechwoods, indeed a beech wood, the image is of smooth, grey bare-trunked trees rising up from a ground of mast, leaf litter and a few herby plants, broken here and there … Continue reading

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Beechwoods in Leaf 2

On the 1st May I commented on the variable behaviour of the trees coming into leaf.  This picture from around then shows an extreme case of a dense crown on one tree amid an almost bare tracery of branches on … Continue reading

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Wort’s Causeway 2

The Beechwoods are enclosed and intimate, the sky is hidden, there are no horizons.  Stand opposite the gate on Wort’s Causeway and the open fields spread into the distance in a world that becomes two-thirds sky.  In the early morning … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Leaves

After what looked like a slow start (see post 1st May 2107) the beeches are now fully in leaf.  The tree canopy is dense: on cloudy days the woods become gloomy and slightly menacing, on sunny ones they are dappled … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Extension 2

I commented on the differences between the new and mature woods in my post on the 4th June .  Apart from the size of the trees, the most distinctive difference now is between openness and enclosure.  The mature woods have … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Extension

The newness of the westward expansion of the Beechwoods gives it a very different character to the mature woods.  How different will it eventually be? This five hectare wood was planted in 1992 to improve the environment for wildlife and … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Setting 2

On 9th April 2017 I posted two colour pictures, ‘Beechwoods Setting’, trying to show the context within which the woods are set.  They put the woods in the middle distance and show the contrast between the massing of the trees … Continue reading

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Beechwoods – Patterns

Alex Schneideman explores the importance of patterns in his ‘Thinking Photography’ feature in the May 2017 issue of Black+White Photography.  He defines patterns in three ways: as repeating graphic shapes; as related to an order or system; and as a … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Carvings

The lives marked in the beech bark are usually reduced to initials, dates and a runic symbol of love (see post 23/9/16).  They are enigmatic.  This is no less so.  Who was Harvey, why and when was he here and … Continue reading

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Beechwoods Regeneration

Beech woodland is shady and often characterised by a dense carpet of fallen leaves and mast husks, which prevent most woodland plants from growing.  Young beeches prefer some shade and may grow poorly in full sunlight, however. In the Beechwoods … Continue reading

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