In the stillness of autumn, the only sound on the old Saxon road is the gentle tapping of beech nuts falling on a carpet of terracotta-coloured leaves.
“You must meet Robert Cunningham – he’s tremendous,” says Kathy Harris, pausing to touch the huge trunk of a venerable beech tree. Harris knows all the ancient trees in this 25-acre wood as individuals.
There is also a decaying ash called Cecelia and a beech with two trunks: one has thrown out a limb to fuse with the other, like twins holding hands. There are badgers, rare bats, otters and water rails. A bonfire crackles with burning holly and, as dusk falls, a tawny owl hoots.