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Welcome to our Woodland Nature Trail...

Keep your eyes wide open and your hearing alert, as you never know what interesting creatures you might see and hear. The quieter you are, the more you may see, because when an animal hears you coming it will almost certainly run in the opposite direction and you'll miss it. There are numerous mammals, loads of insects and lots of bird species living in our woods. How many will you spot today?

Look out for the signs pointing you towards the woodland walk. You'll have to walk through the chicken field and through a gate on the right.
Once through the gate, cross the field and you'll see the woods ahead of you.
Make sure you follow the arrows around the wood so you don't get lost!
The path is approximately 1.5km long and it winds between the tall, straight trees. We think our woods are very atmospheric!
These woods consist mostly of coniferous trees such as sitka spruce and scots pine. Sitka spruce is fast growing and often used for producing musical instruments like the guitar, due to its abundance of knot-free rings which are excellent conductors of sound.
Black slugs are common in moist woodland areas and cover themself in a foul tasting mucus so as to deter predators. In spite of this, hedgehogs, badgers, shrews and some other creatures consider a black slug a tasty meal.
The floor is covered with debris from old trees that have fallen to the ground. This helps to maintain the biodiversity of the wood by providing food for insects; and as the wood rots it puts nutrients back into the ground and helps keep the soil fertile.
The air in the wood is always quite damp which encourages lichens to grown on all the exposed surfaces and these are what has given this tree its green colour.
Similarly, fungi grows widely in such environments, like this 'tree ear' which is edible and used in cooking in Asian communities such as China.
White fungus such as this feeds off dead wood and helps to break it down. It is made up of thousands of tiny spores which cover the wood and digest it into mush.
In areas of the wood where there is an open canopy light fills the otherwise dark and gloomy wood and many more species of plants are able to grow.
The canopy may open when a mature tree dies and falls. Before long the younger plants below it will grow to fill the gap and in a number of years the canopy will be closed once again.
Where light pours into the wood through gaps in the canopy the woodland floor is different and grasses grow around the base of the trees.
Pine trees are traditionally planted in long straight lines to maximise the number that can be planted and to try and give each tree a fair amount of exposure to the sunlight each day.
Often a problem in pine woods is that the trees were planted too close together, minimising the growth of some and stopping sunlight from entering the wood which inhibits life from thriving.
The effect of this overplanting is that some trees die whilst others thrive and they fall to the woodland floor to decompose. Spacing the trees out would give each a better chance to thrive.
This bracken fern is considered a weed as it grows in such an aggressive way that it may stifle the growth of other species which are more fragile.
This is known as a witch's egg or immature stinkhorn. It will grow into a mushroom shaped fungus which is foul smelling (like rotting flesh) in order to attract insects which help it to distribute it's reproductive spores.
The presence of bird droppings down this tree trunk is evidence that there are quite large birds living here. Possibly buzzards or sparrowhawks.
These remains of a dead bird imply that there are other large predators living in these woods, such as a fox.
You might spot some hoof marks in the mud, as during certain times in the past we have let our cattle and sheep graze in the wood.
At the end of the walk you'll emerge further up the hill. Look to the left around the wood edge - you may be able to see the outline of an Iron Age Fort in the field.
Follow the fenceline outside of the wood around the edge of the field and through the gate.
Keep following the wood and lead back down the hill until you can see the farm. Admire the views whilst you're there, they're beautiful on a fine day and Scotland can be seen clearly over the Solway Firth.

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