A walk in the park (in progress)

A park of many corners
Highbury Park features somewhat disproportionatley in the 'Rea Valley Woodland Consultation' Blog, two reasons, one it's close to home and work and two it's interesting, that might be three, but nevertheless it's a fascinating area with lots going on almost everyday, and there are enough landscape features combined with a geographical declivity to make it seem much larger than it is; a park of many 'corners', thanks to Milner's 19th century landscape design and this, together with a mixed arrangement of Park's management additions, changes, abandonment, cut backs and nature improvement, thanks to volunteers, Friends, Rangers and the B&BCWT NIA funding, makes it an intriguing subject.

Author and journalist Barbara Copperthwaite also has much to say about the area in her blog -https://www.gobewild.co.uk/wild-blog Great photos accompanying.

Every now and again, I dawdle the time away, sauntering nonchalantly with no aim, purpose or devise- and as I gradually become entranced by vista, plant or animal I realise the essence of the moment.

The concept of 'rus in urbe' - a rural surround in an urban setting, allows the mind to envisage country lane, stream and venerable oak, meadow and hedgerow, woodland and copse, blending to provide a powerful escape from the destructive mayhem all around.
Chamberlain's, unrecogniseable, 'Tea Garden' - now a bed of reed mace.

Much of the site is reverting wildly to a naturalness long lost, with corners, edges and borders 
displaying flowers and grasses, previously chopped unceremoniously. Shorn for no reason other than 'tidy'. 

Areas of scrub and 'natural' woodland will eventually take hold in areas of the park designated by the horticultural mindset as 'rank grass'; what an awful way to describe 'succession', a transition from grassland to woodland aided by Jays and other tree seed dispersers, wind and mammal.

Dead and decaying trees are fascinating and Highbury boasts a good collection. Many of us now recognise the value of dead wood as an arbiter between life and death; and whilst the former 'tree' may no longer thrive in its own right, other life forms are quick to move in. Even before the tree pegs it, for it is a slow process, fungal spores investigate its potential. 

The dead tree trail keeps me captivated during a purposeless park walkabout, so too a colony of bees, a Blue Tit and Tree Creeper seamingly sharing the same entrance hole but not the exit. A flourish of fungus, not the original coloniser but a secondary or tertiary colonist; and then the shape of the tree, the peeling bark, the peppershot, pock-marked ash trunk, sculpted by woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and tit and eventually Ringed Neck Parakeet poking a beak in.

The views at Highbury are never tiresome, and around every corner a new joy - be it a long view or short, and I appreciate the protestations to protect the long views whilst keeping the contentious hedgerows at bay.
long views and short 
a gap in the hedge

Hedgerows have always been contentious!

How contentious was this in its day?
The 'crucible' wall at Highbury, an impressive structure today, but how was it received when first built?


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