Ebernoe & Kingley Woods


20th October 2020

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Forest floor; a dead yew branch half a metre across, a herb in the foreground

Ebernoe Wood

This wood has a feel of primaeval wood. The tree in focus is an oak tree. On the left, in the blur, is a field maple, behind it is an ancient alder tree; the little branch in the blur in the left “corner” of the adjacent stream is a yew seedling. The slightly larger blurred branch popping up from behind the alder overhanging above it is a few years old yew tree.

On the right is a chestnut tree, the slender trunk next to it is a young yew tree (likely to replace the currently growing trees). The few little branches in front of the chestnut is a small field maple and in the background on the bank of the emerging stream is a clump of a rowan tree. There are many more tree and bush species of all age in this wood where reproduction is aligned with the natural cycle of life and growth.

Yew Forest

Late afternoon, October

Kingley Vale

Getting darker, the wind has drawn in darker clouds (lit by low sun light). Neanderthal would recognise the squeaking of the wood. People look up to tropical rainforests but forget that we once also had forests. Stunning and very exotic. Something inside eroded. And till this day we still are excessively proud of materialistic. The result of that eroded our whole world, which makes sense. The problem is that these trees grow hundreds and thousands of years. And so they aren’t the usual disposable item that we buy in the supermarket. One day, those thinking this is not a problem will be proven very wrong. We’re just starting to discover that for the growing number of reasons they are as crucial as the equatorial rainforests.

Yew Forest II

Evening, Kingley Vale

Kingley Wood

Late morning (November)

Yew tree was once a dominant species on the chalk slopes like these in South Downs, often creating single species forests. Mixed in are also ash trees that have been affected by a fungus that is causing the European species fatal necrosis; narrow-leafed ash we know from South Moravia karsts is also affected. Small aircrafts were almost constantly above the scenic landscape of the reserve, we noticed three at one point. The noise was slightly annoying, I admit, and a reminder of how little left is for us all from the natural and attractive. The aircraft in the photo adds a sense of space.

The weather was dominated by the high pressure and low temperatures, except around the midday (ground frost in the morning). The sky was quiet the following day, perhaps because the coronavirus lockdown just started. The reserve had visitors of all ages on foot, some relaxing aside by the pond, some stopping high on the slopes, runners and bikers. We met a group of girls in reflective suits on the top in complete darkness pushing hard through the terrain lit by the lights of their bikes. A lot of happy people sharing their joy of being out. Sometimes it’s the simple things.

The wild grassland mixed with shrub (bottom of the picture) and fragments of wood, both rich in wildlife, was a place of our midday stop on the following day, except that was down in the valley.

Kingley Wood II

Clusters of clematis fruit lit by the afternoon sun (November). The woody vine (used certainly since at least Middle Palaeolithic, most likely much earlier) that can grow several tens metres long is an important part our ecosystems while in New Zealand, for example, it is invasive species. The same applies to the fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) against which our native ash trees are defenceless whereas the Asian ashes have evolved together with it. The reddish fruit of the spindle in the foreground, sought out by birds, is toxic to humans. Yew trees in the background.


October evening, Ebernoe Wood


Sunset; on the slopes adjacent to the Kingley Vale reserve (the furthest northerly point)

Ebernoe Wood II

October afternoon


November; Titanium has good specific heat and compared to steel a lot better strength to weight ratio, so it can be exceptionally thin. As a result, it cools and warms instantly. We were giving two or three years to the pot that looked fragile. It is with us everywhere over a decade (while other stuff got broken on transports). It sits on the original SuperFly Stove. MSR now makes the improved PocketRocket Deluxe in its place. This volume is no longer available in titanium, and the spoons are, I think, part of a set only (Terra Nova). We are tidying things with some delay as a man from a motorhome came over for a chat.

27th November


Morning, low cloud

The sweet, monotonous, timeless melody in the dark of the evening, earliest hours, late morning or afternoon when other birds are silent bubbles through the woods any time of the year. The molecular studies shed more light on the origin of robin and revealed West Africa’s alethes as their closest relatives. Other closely related genera are nightingales, shortwings and flycatchers. Earlier, the established opinion had the robin associated with genus Turdus which is considerably younger, by about 8 million years; their common ancestor lived over 20 MY ago. Now we see a flycatcher rather than a small blackbird when looking at the robin, and can see clear similarities.

Quite a few wrens and goldcrests caught our attention in this reserve, always happy to see these tiny birds; an impressive female buzzard hunting in the valley and marsh harrier female flying very close along over the top of the hill that we just reached. She glided further and down above the slopes disappointedly fast. We performed our drill and got the lens ready, but those ten seconds wasn’t enough this time. Had the harrier made one turn around the ridge, it would be an excellent opportunity. The harriers don’t circle and soar often, this was on a windy day on our first visit. Judging by the numbers and species we saw the birds are doing very well. We were watching wary pheasants in the grasslands during our (long) lunch break and their loud interactions when they were getting ready to roost. Gathering and then landing of crows and jackdaws into the roost sites was in the unexpected dark here. We were wondering how could they be landing into the wall of branches like this when we could barely see the ones in the late waves. We glimpsed crested tits, kestrels, owls, goshawk flying through the wood, green and other woodpeckers, nuthatches, grey partridge just from the top of my head.

Yew Tree

Late afternoon (November)

Yew Forest

Lighting the same as 36mm shot (third from the top), a different exposure (landscape)

A rare look into specific biotope of extraordinary atmosphere that once was part of Europe’s landscape (a 360-degree view looks like this, as you walk). A younger growth forest (dispersal by birds and mammals) that is going to thin out by selection in time. Its canopy is vibrant dark green and the interior has a particular colour cast.

The “berries” seen on the forest floor, pulpy arillus exactly, are edible and tasty as long as the seeds content is avoided (though I wouldn’t tell that to children). They were a source of food in the past, whereas the extract from the toxic parts was used as a poison for hunting (arrows) and driving out the competition (wolves).

Yew Forest II

Larger trees growth, my tripod is stuck in branches of a similar tree.

Conflict between the space and light slowly transfers the character of the place that is now formed by the individual (extraordinary) trees.

In our world parallel, the space can be seen as ego(centric) and the light experience.

Yew Forest III

Morning light (November); An ancient yew tree

Kingley Wood III

Midday sun, October; Cross-section of this yew from this angle is three metres plus. A setting

where our ancestors went about their lives we don’t get to see often.


Side-backlit (late sun glow, October), Ebernoe Wood

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