Snow in Storeton

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On Friday most of Britain saw the first real snow of the winter.  The snow was heaviest in south Wales and in the south and midlands.  Wirral being on the coast tends usually not to get too much snow but Friday saw a few centimeters fall across the whole of the peninsula as well.

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Our normal weekend dog walk in Storeton Woods gave us the opportunity to walk through this black and white world.  During the morning a fine sleety snow had started to fall which gave a further very fine dusting on the trees.

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Lots of families with young children were out enjoying the snow safely wrapped up against the cold but someone had lost their tiger hat which a passerby had thoughtfully placed on the sign at one of the entrances to the woods …

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In many areas the snow was melting and the wet saturated ground meant there were pools of icy dark water.

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In the fields between the woods and Storeton village the farmers were rounding up the sheep from the snowy grazing land to take them to another field or maybe even to market.

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The snow had enveloped all the plants of the woods with a thick blanket of white fluffy snow.

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And the trees were all painted with a white dressing of snow on their windward side.

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Not many birds were out, I manged to see a colourful Jay in Hancocks Wood but it was too elusive to capture a picture.  But I did get to see a Robin redbreast on a green tree in amongst the woods.

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Many interesting features were dusted in snow on our walk today.

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In a few weeks the winter will have passed and the bare branches will start to see buds forming and bursting open to reveal their leaves to soak up the coming summer’s sunshine, but they will be barren for a few more weeks yet.

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I wonder what weather we will have in 2013…

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Autumn in the woods

I visit Storeton Woods regulary with my dog Toby and I have taken a few photographs which I have posted on this site over the past year.

A good time of year to visit is the autumn as the leaves start to change colour.  This year it has been as wet an autumn as it has been a wet summer and not that good for photography.

However on a rare sunny and dry autumn day I ventured into the woods and I’ve taken a few photographs.

Its getting late into the autumn and the deciduous trees leaves are changing from green to shades of yellow and brown.  With the heavy rains and winds that we have been experiencing over the last few weeks many trees have already shed their leaves onto the ground.

In some places there is a thick carpet of brown leaves.  On this dry and bright day the watery autumn sun was shining through the trees and lighting up corners of the woods.

But as usual despite a bright start to the day the rains came as the sun was setting rapidly in the west.

Walking with dinosaurs

I’m a regular visitor to Storeton Woods along with Toby my Golden Retriever.  It is a pleasant area to walk throughout the changing seasons to look at the greenery and wildlife.  But it’s also an area that previous inhabitants of the earth strode around as well.

Storeton Woods have grown up on the site of a sandstone quarry that was present since the times of the Roman occupation. The quarries were up to 60m (200 feet) deep by the beginning of the 20th century but they were exhausted and filled in during the 1930s with spoil from the excavation from the first Mersey tunnel. The current woods were planted on the site.

The quarry was the site of the discovery of fossilised dinosaur footprints 20m (65 feet) down into the quarry in 1838. No bones or other material remains were discovered. As the prints resembled human handprints the creature was named from the Greek words, ‘chir’ for hand, and ‘therium’ for beast: chirotherium or cheirotherium.  The full species name was Cheirotherium Storetonensis to recognise the site of the discovery in Storeton.  Similar tracks were also found on Hilbre Island out in the River Dee estuary off West Kirby.  Examples of the footprints can be seen in ‘World Museum Liverpool’ in Liverpool, the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead and also in nearby Christ Church, on Kings Road in Higher Bebington.

From the footprints, scientists have extrapolated an image of the dinosaur and in the year 2000 a life-sized carving of a cheirotherium was made on a quarried wall of sandstone near to the Mount Road and Rest Hill Road junction.  I’ve included a drawing of what the Cheirothermium looked like which is contained on the Friends of Storeton Woods website.  It is by Dr Geoffrey Tresise who wrote an article entiled ‘Merseyside’s Dinosaur’ which was published in the February 1994 issue of the Friends’ ‘Newsleaf’ newsletter.  I’ve taken a photograph of the carving of the Cheirotherium but with the recent year’s wet weather the wall is going very green and the carving isn’t as distinct as it used to be.

Since the Friends of Storeton Woods purchased the woods in 1989 they have with the help and support of the Woodland Trust been working to conserve and protect the area for future generations to enjoy.  It is a mixed woodland a long with a wider varied vegetation and as the Friends state ‘a pocket of wildlife interest in the surrounding, increasingly built-up, landscape’.