Country diary: The ash seems to beckon us into the forest

Rowberrow Warren, Mendips, Somerset: Clad in gypsy-velvet of green-golden moss with ruffles of polypody fern, this old tree is ageing well

Flo the horse is bouncier than usual – she is feeling the thrill of a blowy day. A raven, flying solo for once, feels it too and adds a jaunty upside-down jiggle to its usual sober flight. We are briskly crossing the valley pastures heading towards the plantation of Rowberrow Warren, the high shoulder of Black Down rises above us. This whole ridge was once open heathland and pasture but in the 1940s foresters came, planting beech, spruce and pine across the western end.

We reach the ash tree that stands at the end of the last field and seems to beckon us into the forest. In this sheltered corner only its upper branches are stirring; not enough movement to distract Flo – her big brown ears, registering her attention, are focused on the track ahead. Beyond, the forest trees paisley-pattern the hillside, but this one does not belong with them.

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Source: The Guardian
Country diary: The ash seems to beckon us into the forest