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Nature trails

Introduction

Spending time in nature and enjoying the outdoors can be great for our mental and physical health and wellbeing. Whether
exploring on our own or sharing with others,relaxing in nature can give us time to think and reflect. You might enjoy some quiet moments alone to unwind. Alternatively, you might welcome the chance to catch-up with friends and family, chatting, laughing or talking through problems and supporting one another.

A little note about Column Wood

Column Wood is what’s known as a planted rather than a naturally occurring woodland. We think its trees were planted in about 1816-1817 when the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column was built. A wide range of trees were planted to create the woodland, including Ash, Beech, Sycamore, Sweet Chestnut, Elm, Sessile Oak and several others. Keep walking and
reading to learn more…

Remembrance

Did you know that Horse Chestnut and Sweet Chestnut trees are not native to Britain? Both were brought here within the past few hundred years. You don’t find many Horse Chestnuts in woodlands but there is one in Column Wood, which you may be able to spot. Their fruits are better known as conkers and are eaten by squirrels and deer. Do you remember games of conkers from your childhood and the thrill of collecting them in the autumn? You’ll find a few Sweet Chestnut trees here. Their nuts are often associated with Christmas as they can be roasted and used in stuffing.

Home comforts

Beech trees are more commonly found
in South East England, but have been
planted elsewhere. That explains how
they’ve found their way to North Wales.
They are a popular tree and sometimes
called the Queen of Trees. Some beech
trees can grow purple leaves but more
often, they’re green. Small animals
like mice, voles, squirrels and birds like
munching on their nuts and moth
caterpillars eat their leaves. Beech trees
can live for hundreds of years, which
means their deadwood holes are perfect
for nesting birds.

Something to remember

The balance of nature is very delicate.
Column Wood supports many different
types of trees, plants and animal life.
We want you to feel free to enjoy this
beautiful natural space, but please enjoy it responsibly. Please consider where you step and leave nothing behind but footprints.

Connecting with nature

Scientific studies have shown that
spending time in woods and gardens
is good for our health. Being around
trees can help us to relax, and even heal after illness or injury. Before you leave today, why not choose a tree you find particularly beautiful. Place your hands on it or even give it a hug to see how it makes you feel.

Grounded

As you explore Column Wood you will see outcrops of rock. These are blueschists, which were formed about 580 million years ago. The examples in Column Wood are some of the oldest blueschists in the world and the easiest to access in Britain. They are so important that this area is recognised as a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The ground beneath your feet is connecting you to our deep past. Feeling grounded and connected to the earth can help you to focus and feel calm. You might like to take a moment to stand still and take in your surroundings.

Supporting others

You may notice some Sessile Oak trees
while you explore Column Wood. These
are different from English Oaks. The
easiest difference to spot is that Sessile
Oaks are taller and narrower, with
straighter branches and more upright
trunks. Oak trees support more life than any other native British tree. They provide food for birds, mammals and caterpillars, habitats for over 250 species of insect, and a home for nesting birds and roosting bats. Their bark supports mosses, lichens and liverworts. Soft oak leaves break down to create rich leaf mould for beetles and fungi.

Finding the positive

Elm trees are sometimes known for a
darker association with sadness and
passing on, but they also have more
positive connections. They provide
food for a variety of wildlife from small
mammals like squirrels to moth and
butterfly caterpillars. They can grow up to 30 metres high, about the same height as the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column. Their wood is strong and water-resistant, so it was often used in boat building. It may have been used in some of the many boats that have sailed on the Menai Strait below Column Wood.