Work with Holly

It is known that spending time outdoors and in contact with the natural environment can have positive effects on physical and mental health (Pretty et al 2005, Seymour 2003). With tourism lower due to the recent pandemic, it is important, now more than ever to get people back outdoors. Regular walking improves mood, reduces anxiety and helps with sleep (Department of Health 2004, Mind 2008, Walking the Way to Health 2009). 

By working with Holly you will get some beautiful, authentic marketing material to show off your National Park, AONB, SPA, Heritage Site or Wildlife Sanctuary to your audience and to help you encourage more people back out into your natural space. 

This bespoke content is yours to use in perpetuity on your website, social media and in other marketing material. If you would like to know more, then please contact Holly below…


Why I love New Zealand

the mountains
the wildlife

the trees
the sky

take a moment

Take a moment and think about some of your best memories. Chances are they are action or views, not necessarily words.

For me, New Zealand has many memories. I love hiking the trails in Arthur’s Pass where Avalanche Peak sits shadowing over the valley below watching you drive from East to West coast. I love the mountains in New Zealand, the volcanoes and all their stories.

Poor old Mount Taranaki who was banished to the coast.

I love the wildlife, the flora and fauna which fills every nook and cranny. Wherever you look there are wild flowers or domesticated flowers home to wild insects and then there are the trees. Oh the trees of New Zealand, especially the Kauri tree (Agathis australis) reaching 50 meters high gaining its nourishment from the leaf litter close to the surface.

Then there is the sky.

The sky which I can stand and look at for hours on end. Whether it’s the cirrus clouds whispering over the lakes or the cumulonimbus clouds forming around the mountains. Even at night, on a clear sky, watching the stars overlook the planet whilst we sleep.

I love it all and I wish the country a safe recovery from current situations.

You may also like /additional reading:

Six weeks in New Zealand blog.

New Zealand Landscape gallery

Camping in the snow

1am, the field

It’s meant to be -3 overnight so I thought why not camp out. The warm, cosy van is just around the corner, but now is the perfect opportunity to test out some kit, before heading to the Alps (once restrictions have lifted).

This kit is suitable for a wild camp backpack adventure.

I have chosen some of the lightest kit including the single person River Elk tent which was really smooth to put up. I love this style of tent where the inner and outer go up in one. Makes something which could be a faff, easy. As the temperature dropped I was in my base layers in a Serac 600 sleeping bag. I was very comfortable, as the comfort level for this bag is -7, for women.

The sleep mat, weighing 485g has a diamond pattern which I haven’t tried before. I found that this mat would be great in the summer, however I sleep on my side and I did feel my hip slide into the channels overnight so could feel the cold. Even though this mat might not be the best style for me, I would say for a summer walk for someone without the pointy hips this mat would be a great lightweight addition.

I haven’t cooked here as I am adhering to lockdown measures and camping at home.

So even though we are hunkering down at home, we can all still have some mini adventures without having to travel. I am just working out what is next – watch this space!

to conclude,

What is a Chordate?

There are 5 main characteristics which put all the species within the Chordata phylum, they all have evolved to have a notochord within their bodies, they have this instead of a shell, this notochord when combined with the Dorsal Hollow Nerve Cord provides an internal support which the fluid tube of nerve fluid will then pass from top to bottom of the animal, acting as a spinal cord.

These are ancestors of humans as the boned spine of us today can be linked back to the Pikaia, the very first back boned animal. There is also a pair of openings through the pharynx present which shows that they are filter feeders, they all have blocks of muscle which extend into a post anus tail, the muscle surrounds the notochord along the whole length of the animal.


The basic traits of this phylum are that all the species are bilaterally symmetrical; they are segmented and have developed a gut tube, their coelom. The Devonian Period was a time in history where fish developed in leaps and bounds! They were first thought to have evolved in the Cambrian explosion, Levine (2003). The Pikaia fossil was found in the Burgess Shales, the fossil shows us many ways of how this organism lived.

We can tell that it swam along the sea bed using its tail as a fin, because of its mouth area, no scientist has distinguished what it exactly ate but it looks like it just fed off particles in the water and near the sea floor. Being one of the first fossils having “soft parts” it is a major discovery, (2011).

Urochordata (Tunicates)

Sea Squirts are marine animals which both are solitary and colonial, depending on the species. They are sessile animals and have a unique feature; where they settle on a rock head first, their tail disappearing overtime and once stuck they then move their mouth moves back upward to catch passing particles to consume.

The hermaphrodite species release sperm and eggs. The eggs are about a third of one millimetre and kept in the body until they start to evolve within a few weeks. A siphon takes in the passing particles to be absorbed; this is known as suspension feeders. 

Sea Squirt © diverstef/Fotolia

Cephalochordata (Amphioxus)

Lancelet worms are filter feeders with no brain at all and are a marine subphylum, they swim and can bury themselves in the sand. All of the characteristics of a chordate are present, including the post anal tail. They do however have poor eyesight and lack of brain, but as they have sensors they are not really needed. So instead of wasting energy and time developing them they have evolved to have superior “feelers” and this allows them to hunt efficiently, Barnes (1994).

There are only about 30 species of Lancelet worm present they can grow up to about 7cm in length. Their cirri (tentacle feelers) are used as sensors for particles in the water, the pharynx has lots of gill slits which allows water to pass. Once absorbed the water passes out through the atriopore, Sherwood (1977). 

Lancelet Worm – (Branchiostoma lanceolatum) photo by Hans Hillewaert

Craniata (Vertebrates)

Ggnathastomes have two main types within; these are the Hagfish that secrete slime as a protection from predators and the Lamprey which have a cartilage dorsal cord and have seven gills present on each side. They are a parasitic species. The main difference is their habitat, Lampreys can live in both freshwater and oceanic but Hagfish can only live in Oceanic waters.

Lamprey – Anjanette Bowen/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Their bodies have been developed to have a lower salt concentration in their bodies compared to in the waters which is why if put in a fresh water environment they wouldn’t survive. You know these are carnivorous because of their sharp toothed tongues, which pierce through their prey. The Hagfish can tie itself in a knot as a way to release itself from prey if caught and also to wipe the slime off of its body to make a quick escape. They were first thought to be hermaphrodites but research shows that this is not the case, they are born with both sex cells but only one takes dominance, Biglow (1948).


So there you go, I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about our wonderful world and those that inhabit it!

What is soil?

There are many elements that contribute to the formation of Soil and they are: climate, time, organisms, parent material, relief. Climate is the most important with determining soil characteristics. Soils are a valuable non renewable source. 

Horizons are the different levels in the soil’s profile, in each level something different is happening within the soil. It is the downward movement of material by leaching and eluviations that creates the layers within the soil profile. These horizons show the major inputs and transformations from the soil. Eluviation is the downward movement of particles in the soil.

H – is the top layer of organic material which is saturated with water

O – decomposed litter which is mixed with minerals

A – this is the mineral horizon

E – this layer is depleted of material and is mainly silt or sand particles, therefore resulting in a lighter colour

B – it is the subsurface, the zone of accumulation

C – the layer of unconsolidated parent material

R – this parent material is hard bedrock eg limestone

H – Humus = organic matter. Organic matter is dead organisms and plant remains. There are three stages to a humus layer. From top to bottom layer one is Mor – twigs, leaves etc, middle layer is Moder – which is the partly humified remains and the bottom layer is Mull, which is well decomposed organic matter. Humus is very stable yet very variable, it is known as a chemical junkyard. 

Soil composition

Air 20-30%

Water 20-30%

Organic Matter 5%

Mineral 45%

Clay has the smallest soil particles.


A Platy soil structure is produced after a lot of freezing and thawing in the soil. 

Gravitational Water – removes nutrients from the soil as it moves down macropores, it takes nutrients lower, moving it away from the plants, making growth harder.

Capillary Water – it’s found in the micropores of the soil and therefore is found higher as the plant roots can find this water. 

Hygroscopic Water – is different as it is useless for plants as it is in vapour form.

Water in the soil;

Gleying (mottling) is due to waterlogged soil.

Podzol – have a Ea layer which is bleached by the leaching of humic oxides and also has a Bh layer, this layer is blackened by humic oxides. (Chapman J. 2002) it is founds in a cool, humid and temperate environment. Rainfall is a major input. 

IronPan – has a really thick dark humus layer. The soil below has a glacial origin and is called induration. 

Rendzina – bright white soil, its chalky and good for grasses.

Rendzina. credit K. Rilling, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Gleysol – water logged environments, it provides anaerobic conditions. 

Gleysol © ISRIC,

Ferralsol – an old soil, it has been thought high levels of weathering, it is a bright red colour due to mineralization. 

Histosol – a soil which has a lack of O2. It is very dark due to rapid accumulation of organic matter. It has a very hight water and organic matter input. 

Spodosol – lower layers are stained with aluminium and iron oxides, due to the acidic soil formed by the amount of needles from coniferous trees which decompose and it is these needles that form a weak acid during decomposing.

The calcification process occurs when the soil has a high organic matter amount and there is calcium carbonate precipitated from water. This produces a bit of leaching leading the A horizon to become dry, yet organic rich. The vegetation is mainly grassland.

Peds are small particles in the soil that form clusters and therefore making bigger pore spaces, for water and air. 

Temperature regulates the rate of decomposition. Therefore showing that Evapotranspiration and rainfall affect the movement of water and leaching. 

Soil structure – the proportions of sand, silt and clay and the bonds which form aggregates 

Soil Colloids – are clay minerals that have a large surface area and a positive charge, they include hydrous oxides of iron and aluminium. 

The cation exchange capacity (CEC) is the soils ability to absorb the cations. A soil with high CEC has a high change of particle collision. A clay rich, high humus soil will have the most collision. (Ashman, 2002)

Rainfall leads to leaching, and when certain types of rock are decomposed by this process a process called lateralization occurs, it deposits large amounts of ferric hydroxides and aluminium. (

Photo by Zbynek Burival

Aluminium is toxic to plants as it inhibits cell division, for example shorter roots are made, reaching less horizons, making it easier for them to die in a drought or during soil erosion. 

When areas are totally water logged all the time this dark, thick peat layer is found and it is due to the amount of bacterial activity, this soil is found normally in low lying areas where rainfall is high. Iron is released from the decaying organic matter changing the colour of the soil because of oxidation. This process is called Gleization.

Salt precipitates from the water making saline soils, like the soils you will find in dry, warm conditions, the process where salts accumulate in the soil is called salinization.

salinization – Credit: Antonio Jordán (distributed via

Nutrients are a substance used by an organism for food. They need certain amounts to be at full potential. The nutrients they need are below. The three most important nutrients are Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous. Soil nitrogen is found in the soils organic matter, it is found in the form of ammonium and nitrate. If a soil has too much water it leaves the plants with nitrogen deficiency. 

Macro Nutrients 

C & O = Atmospheric

PO, SO, NO – Anions = Soil Sources

NH, K, Ca, Mg – Cations = Soil Sources

Micro Nutrients 

All are Soil Sources –

Mo, BO – Anions

Cl, Fe, Mn,Zn, Cu – Cations 

The exchange of nutrients within a pool is referred to as turnover. 

Soil Surveys map the distribution by measuring the soil and inspecting it.

Soil degradation 

Catena is…

The sequence of soils that occupy a slope transect, from the topography divide to the bottom of the adjacent valley. (Smithson, 2002) 

Bulk Density = weight of soil per unit volume

Air Capacity = percentage of volume occupied by air

Water Holding Capacity = water held once drained (using gravity)

Soils can become contaminated by many different human influences, they include –

  • Sewage sludge, pathogens
  • Metals from mines,
  • Landfill sites,
  • Fertilizers

Elevate chemical levels in the soil is counted as contamination. These contaminates can be divided into organic and inorganic compounds. Organic include, pesticides through leaching, PHA. Inorganic includes, acid rain, metals and radiation. 

Soil Erosion

It happens in two main steps: 

  1. Is the dislodging of soil particles
  2. The movement of particles to a new location 

Soil erosion increases the pollutant risk, it is the least renewable physical component of an ecosystem. Erosion is important to understand as it reduces plant root depth, leading to less plant species in that area, it is however a natural process but human activity does increase it. 


Soil is formed when the mineral material from rock and organic matter combine. There are many different processes which break up soils.

  • Physical Weathering 

Two main types are Thermal where heat causes expansion and the second is Mechanical, e.g Frost Shattering. 

  • Chemical Weathering 

Hydrolysis – H20 separated into two molecules that attack the mineral bonds within the soil.

Carbonation – this is basically accelerated hydrolysis due to biological activity.

Hydration – the absorption of water e.g like pasta. 

Dissolution – the minerals dissolve from the soils.

Oxidation and Reduction – is the loss and gain of electrons through the contact of air/oxygen.


Ashman M.R, Puri G. 2002.Essential Soil Science, a clear and concise introduction to soil science. Blackwell Science Ltd

Chapman J. L, Reiss M. J, 1999. Ecology Principles and Applications. 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press   

Smithson P. et al, 2002. Fundamentals of the physical environment. 3rd edn. Routledge UK.           Pages 398 – 418$FILE/FCIN078.pdf visited: 23/12/2010 visited: 27/12/10 visited: 27/12/10 visited: 27/12/10 visited: 27/12/10 visited: 27/12/10

Through the Trees Podcast

Hi, I’m Holly, I’m from Suffolk and have always had a love for the outdoors and the wildlife that inhabits it. I have been filming walks for the last 7 years and now am turning my attentions to other passions I want to develop hence starting this podcast. During this series I will be talking to outdoor advocates, wildlife enthusiasts and forest school specialists about how Nature has impacted their lives and their individual passions. I hope you enjoy. 

I’ve entered the Rode Cast Competition!

I have entered this podcast into the Rode Mic Cast competition 2021. For this I entered a two minute introduction to a tree species. Voting and entries have now closed so all we have to do is cross our fingers!

Episode 1 – A Chat With Cain Scrimgeour

Today I am talking to Cain Scrimgeour, Naturalist and Wildlife filmmaker about the importance of nature documentaries and why the Kittiwakes in North Shields need protecting. I hope you enjoy this episode and thanks for tuning in.

The book Cain mentions is: English Pastoral by James Rebanks.

Check out Cain’s Instagram page here.

Episode 2 – A Chat With Debbie North

This conversation is with outdoor advocate Debbie North. We talk about the importance of access to green spaces for everyone, walking in her all terrain wheelchair in the Yorkshire Dales, which isn’t actually in Yorkshire and how nature has impacted her life.  To get in contact with Debs you can find her on Instagram here. Enjoy.

The book Debbie mentions is: The Dales 30: A Guide to the Mountains of the Yorkshire and Cumbrian Dales by Jonathan Smith.

Check out Debbie’s Instagram page here.

Episode 3 – A Chat With Chris Gilbert

Today I am talking to Chris Gilbert, Wildlife Conservation Enthusiast and Animal Management Teacher about how snakes are often mis-represented and why they are an important species to ecosystems throughout the world. I hope you enjoy this episode and thanks for tuning in.

The book Chris mentions is: Snakes of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: A Photographic Guide by Philippe Geniez.

Check out Chris’s Instagram page here.

Episode 4 – A Chat With Mell Harrison

In this episode of Through the Trees I am talking to Mell Harrison about the theories of Earth Education, our connection with Nature and the importance of Forest Schools. I hope you enjoy this episode and thanks for tuning in.

You can find the books Mell mentions here: ‘Forest School in Practice For All Ages’ by Sara Knight

Her two websites she mentions are: and

Episode 5 – A Chat With Katie Rees

Today I am talking to Katie Rees about how being outdoors in green spaces is good for our wellbeing, why connecting with nature at all ages is important and about the art of coppicing.

The authors Katie mentions are Thich nhat hanh and Jon Kabat Zinn.

You can find Kindle Woods here:

Instagram @kindlewoods_cic Website – kindlewoods

Episode 6 – A Chat With Dean Kirkland

Today I am talking to The Woodland Trust’s Ancient Woodland Restoration Project Manager Dean Kirkland about what makes a healthy woodland, the importance of hedgerows and how to spot ash dieback.

The book Dean mentions is Ancient Woodlands by Oliver Rackham.

You can find the Woodland Trust here:

Instagram & Website

Episode 7 – A Chat With Susan Jones

Today I am talking to Susan Jones about why ringing birds is important, what we can all do in our gardens to help wildlife and the best place for Barn Owl boxes.I hope you enjoy this episode and thanks for tuning in.

The book Susan mentions is The Barn Owl by Colin R. Shawyer.

Find out more on the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary website here.

Episode 8 – A Chat With Mike Toms

Today I am talking to Mike Toms from the British Trust for Ornithology about the their weekly Garden BirdWatch project, the changing bird populations and the amazing alternative wilding work at Knepp in Sussex.

The book Mike talks about is the Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe

Visit the British Trust for Ornithology website here.

Recycled Parts in the Van Conversion

We did buy a lot of things brand new like the stove, sink and fridge, but I wanted to write a blog about the parts that we managed to recycle.

The flooring was taken up from an old caravan conversion we did a few years back. We managed to reuse the underlay for the van flooring and also for the sliding door curtain padding. We knew the side window will be where we lose the most of the heat so wanted to make sure that we insulate it as best as possible.

The silver bubble foam stuff was also ripped out of an old project and used to insulate the bulkhead and the little bit about the cab. Then lined with carpet.

We reused an old piece of memory foam for the seating in the living area and also cut out some head rests for the cab. The material used to cover these were also taken from an old pile of fabric we had laying around.

We also used the old wood from the van itself. Finally, the last thing that we reused were the bed slats from an old bed. These were then just cut down to the right size.

It is important to us to reuse items but for the build we wanted to achieve it couldn’t all be done with recycled materials.

When we finally get to leave on our Europe road trip, I want to add up the total milage and work out the co2 emissions and plant native trees in Britain to offset our carbon footprint.

Additionally, I would like to work out the mileage that all the brand new stuff has come from and offset that too. But I feel this will be more difficult! I might just have to work it out from the shop to the house, instead of from the source to the house, which is probably impossible.

To read our van conversion blog, click here.

To read our favourite parts of the van blog, click here.

A quick guide to Patterdale, Lake District

The Cumbrian village of Patterdale in Spring is that of a fairytale, the Lakes also known as Beatrix Potter Land hold key elements that bind the Earth’s natural wonders to all human visitors.

Situated at the foot end of Ullswater this picturesque vicinity is home to many species of fauna including the Red Squirrel, Yellowhammers and Willow Warblers. It was in 1805 when William Wordsworth based his poem “Daffodils” on this area. He writes about how there are no crowds of people and tourists as there are today, but instead Daffodils in plentiful numbers. He speaks of the plants in such a personal and interrelating way that the reader can feel and see all that he writes of. Lord Lowther and Mr Wordsworth knew each other and the Lord bought William a house in Patterdale, this house today is known as Wordsworth Cottage and can be rented out as a summer house to sleep up to 6 people. 

To get to this quaint little village, a scenic drive will be taken through Cumbria along the B592 following Ullswater from the Penrith direction or along Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside. Along the way, whatever direction driven there are many pull over places to take in the surroundings. Perfect views to get that one shot that sums Ullswater – it can be described ‘a water which one can enjoy in many different ways’, it provides both peacefulness for the hiker and adrenaline for the windsurfer or wild swimmer jumping in. Once in Patterdale, leaving the car and getting in the fresh air will be of high priority. Buses are available to and from Glenridding, however the roadside is accompanied by two tree covered footpaths so walking is often preferred.  

The Deep Freeze has shaped the whole of the Lake District, it is this natural phenomenon which is the reason it was uninhabitable around 12,000 years ago. The changes within the land are “modern” compared to Pre-Bronze Age, as residents before were not as permanent as the land was constantly changing and the deep freeze was at an end. St Patrick’s Dale, Dale meaning watered valley between two hills is known today as Patterdale and is still has its Irish orientation. It is thought that Saint Patrick arrived and turned the community Christian in the Early 5th Century. 

The Victorian Church that stands today in Patterdale is surrounded by trees and stone walls. The design of this fine building is work of Anthony Savin and two local men built it in 1853, positioned close to the Patterdale Hall and with pleasant and protective views over the Water. A morning Sunday Service occurs at 10am every week and welcomes everyone (pre-covid). The Church is situated on the Northern side of the village and hides well away from the road behind a row of trees. The back view looks over and playing field and then onto the hills, this is the direction walkers will start their hike up to Helvellyn.   

up Helvellyn

The whole of Cumbria is known for its Lakeland walks and Fell hiking, this is one of the most scenic places in the UK where National Parks take up the highest proportion of the land. There are many small villages that are off the main road and once found, will soon become popular and making visitors wanting to return over and over again. However, this is the story about Patterdale.

View towards Ullswater from Helvellyn

The walks from Patterdale can lead a hiker in many directions, the most famous being up to Helvellyn and St Sunday Crag that stands at 841 meters. The stunning 9 mile walk up out of the village to the summit of St Sunday can then take you on your adventure to Grisedale Tarn completing Dollywaggon Pike (858 meters), High Crag (884 meters), Nethermost Pike (891 meters) and onto Helvellyn (949 meters). On a clear, spring day the views are magnificent and if it’s a bit breezy there is a purpose built wind wall to shelter behind. There are then many routes to choose to make a descent, a popular ascent being along Swirral Edge, it is advised to climb up that scramble instead of down though.  

Walking up Striding Edge

Another enjoyable route is the walk up to Place Fell, leaving the village to the East, crossing the river you will be faced by the Patterdale Common, turning right at the foot of the fell you then start you ascent along the South side. At 657 meters you will be at the cairn looking over Ullswater, from there you then carry on to High Dodd (502 meters) and it is from there you decide one of three routes, depending on your choice you will end up in Sandwick and by turning left at the North side you will be following the path alongside Ullswater and end up in Patterdale once again.

Up towards Place Fell / High Dodd

There are some amazing rock features and trees along the far side of High Dodd, the perfect place to hang a hammock and spend the afternoon appreciating nature. Fell running is a popular sport and there are many places around the south of Ullswater that provide good, challenging routes. The Lakeland Trails provide some great events.

If hill walking isn’t of interest there are many gentle walks in the valleys where various arrays of fauna species can be found, from high amounts of Juniper to moss species such as Grimmia torquata and Bryum alpinum. It is a dream for any keen photographers, be it shots of the mountains, the others hikers or Nature’s wildlife that surrounds you, it is all of interest.  Including plenty of sheep!

Catching the Steamer in Glenridding across to Howtown is that of a very pretty journey with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Many enthusiasts will be sharing the water on their sail-boats, kayaks, rowing boats and even wind surfers. All of which can be hired from the neighbouring villages that surround Ullswater. A scenic path leads back round the southern end of the lake back to Glenridding, passing through Patterdale, which has many facilities at ones disposal. 

Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown

Set back from the road, up a tree covered drive you will find Patterdale Hall. This building has been converted and set up for the teaching and training of outdoor activities. Groups come from schools and universities to gain the practical side of their studies, and having this facility is key for the development of their skills. The local University, where I attended for three years from 2009, provide courses that train students to become leaders for organisations such as these, there are courses that combine the Adventure Sports and Media together which allows each student to give an individual re-presentation of the subject. 

Over the years, as tourism has become more popular the numbers of animals have dispersed making it harder to track mammals like the Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus). Parish lists show that the earliest recordings of the Fox are from 1984 and the total number of records help for Fox sightings is 8. Species of mammal that have had high sighting records are the Otter (Lutra lutra), Badger (Meles meles) and Pine Marten (Martes martes). The Pine Marten has significantly decreased in recent years and are now mainly found in Scotland. 

The Cumbrian Wildlife is quite unique to the area, mainly because of the vast area available and the many ecosystems within. To find out more I would talk to Cain at Wild Intrigue.

The Lakes are known as the “Adventure Capital of the UK” and has got that title through all the activities it has to offer, from boating to caving and walking to paint-balling. The amenities that Patterdale has to offer are quite varied compared to the Lake District as a whole.  You can take different routes to see the area, from a drive down Kirkstone Pass to taking a ballon ride to get an awe inspiring panoramic. The Campsite in Patterdale is a stereotypical Cumbrian campsite with accompanying tea room open all summer months, welcoming most people, perfect for families who want to enjoy a range of activities, on the lake and the hills. 

Dusk is the perfect time of day to take a stroll as the nesting Dippers under the bridge come stretch their wings. The lambs are retreating to their mothers, the bats decide to come and hunt whilst the few minutes it takes for the sun to disappear over the mountains, the birds soon become quiet. 

Throughout the whole trip to Patterdale, on a nice day, full use of a camera will be made. The river provides slow shutter shots to fully involve you within the motion of the water, the birds provide song and a challenge to follow as they shoot through the blue sky and the people provide emotion and reflect how they feel about the area and what it makes them feel.

Enjoying Nature

Being out in the open is important for self reflection and relaxation. In the modern day family members are too caught up in work, or game consoles to explore the natural world. It is important within development of a person to discover new things and places. 

Patterdale is most definitely a place within the Lake District that one should travel to on a crisp spring day, with good company, laughter and of course, a camera.

Similar Blog: Read ‘A Quick Guide to Ambleside’ here

What is Flora?

An introduction to trees

Trees are sometimes taken for granted, they play such a big part on our surroundings, holding together the soils and increasing the biodiversity of the given habitat. Britain has around 60 native species, the reason for this low amount is because of the changes in environment so suddenly. For example with the ice age, it doesn’t give the trees enough time to recolonise. Leaf identification is an obvious way to find out the tree species as you can look at the leaf shape, colour and markings, texture and margins. Also you can look at how it is arranged on the stem/twig, the flowers, buds and fruits that it bears.  


An introduction to angiosperms (the flowering plant)

The angiosperms start off with either one leaf (monocots) or two embryonic leaves (dicots), there are at least 260,000 species. There are so many different species as where ever you go, whatever habitat you find, they will always be there. There is a high variety between the species but they each have similar deriving features.

A main feature in flowering plants is the ovary position, there are three types of positioning on the plant. They are, superior (the ovary sits on top of the receptacle), inferior (sits in the receptacle) and a semi-inferior (which is where it sits in between). The amount of petals is important too. Monocots have an even amount of petals and dicots always have an odd number. The leaves are also a useful way to identify – monocots have long leaves, whereas dicots have rounder leaves.  These leaves, like with trees can be pinnate, palmate, a simple structure, lobed or toothed, or lobely toothed also the positioning on the stem is just as important. 

Monocot (left) & Dicot (right)

An introduction to gymnosperms (seed bearing  plants)

Gymnosperms have now been put into four divisions, each with “naked seeds”. The groups are cycads where there are 140 species and they all have a pinately compound leaf structure. The ginkgo group has only one species left in it, which originates from China. The Coniferophyta division is the largest out of the 4, as it includes all trees like cedar, spruces, firs and yew. The Gnetophyta is the division which links angiosperms with the gymnosperms, as the species in the group have flowers. All of the other groups are just seed bearing. The leaves between all the gymnosperm divisions vary highly, as the conifers drop their leaves whereas there are others that are large, leathery and have a simple structure.  


An introduction to lower plants 

The difference between gymno/angiosperms and bryophytes and vascular plants is that the latter produce spores not seeds. The Bryophytes (non-vascular plants) are the sorts that first colonise bare land include species like the Foliose liverwort, which is a marchantiophyta.  Within the lower plant subject there are many different divisions. These marchantiophytae are the simplest of plants, as they have no roots, no stomata and have a single cell rhizoid. 

Foliose liverwort credit: M Molvray & P Kores

An introduction to Mosses

There is a main aesthetical difference between mosses and liverworts, the leaves of liverworts are deeply lobed, and the mosses have a separate stem and leaf structure all together, it is more complex than the liverwort. There are 10,000 species of Bryophyta in 700 genera all of which thrive in damp, shady areas. These species produce spore capsules and, unlike the liverworts, they have multi cellular rhizoids.

There are three major genus which are; sphagnus, which are quite common and are found in acidic, waterlogged areas, they also have round spores. Mountain mosses which are found in rocky areas, these are the type that have a lantern type capsule, then lastly there’s the arthrodontous (bryopsida) which take up about 90% of all mosses, these have a toothed capsule. There are two forms of bryopsida; arcocarpous which grow upright and have their capsule at the tip of the stem, then also the other is pleupcarpous, these are different as they have creeping branches and at the side of these branches they have their capsules. Then Hornworts, are different again as the Thallus is a crinkly plate, but also the capsule, when ripe, it splits into two stems. They are most like the liverwort regarding the simple celled structure.


An introduction to Ferns

The Pteridophyta division includes seedless vascular plants Lycopodiophyta (Club mosses), Sphenophyta (Horse tails) which have spores and they produce a cone at the tip. Another defining feature is the small leaves that grow at the nodes, there is only one genus left in this division, which is the Equisetum.

Then the ferns, they still have no true leaves but have short veins of a primitive nature. Their fronds uncurl as they mature, releasing a leaf with many leaflets on which have their spores grouped together on the underside and as a group it is called a Sori. It is through these spores that they reproduce sexually, but they can also reproduce asexually via the vegetative rhizomes.

There are different ways that you can identify a fern, they include looking at the actual size, though age could be dependant. Then their habitat and how they grow for example if they grow in groups or isolated, then the leaf structure, as you would with trees, whether the Ramenta is present or absent, if present the colour of it can help.


Our Favourite Van Conversion Features

We are thrilled to announce that our van conversion is now complete. We would like to share some of our favourite bits with you. If you want to see our full conversion blog then you can read it, here, or keep up to date on the latest on Instagram, here. Any questions please feel free to get in touch.

Favourite bits in the kitchen

Creating an L-shape kitchen has made the most out of our living space. There isn’t a single dead space in the van, everything has it’s place. We did end up with some random holes, but they have proved useful.

Favourite Kitchen Bits

The combi oven, grill and hob is amazing, useful and looks pretty smart. I wasn’t sure we needed it, initially we planned to just have a hob, but I am so pleased we went full hog!

Having the additional shelf wasn’t 100% necessary, however it breaks up the cladding and means we can easily get to the every day basics, plus means we get the additional LED lighting which we’re really happy with.

Favourite bits in the Bedroom

In the bed area we went for a selection of lighting including overhead and reading lights. It is so useful having both depending on whether reading in bed or getting clothes out of the cupboard area.

Favourite Bedroom Bits

The clothes cupboard turned out quite well. Still not sure if we are 100% finished with it yet, but it is the right size for all our clothes and accessories. If anything we could have made it 10cm smaller.

Having a small, black out window next to the head of the bed also was a really useful move. We wanted to keep the windows to a minimum as we knew they would condensate but without it feeling too dark, but this little vent window works perfectly.

Favourite Bedroom Bits

Favourite bits in the Garage

We love having a shower, but as it is winter in the UK we are not using it. As soon as we are allowed to travel and it is safe to, we will be heading to Europe we will and this is where this will come in very handy.

We had extra LED light from the kitchen and it has gone into the garage which is probably the most useful lighting in the whole van!

Favourite Garage Bits

Overall, we are so excited to have finished the van, but also of course sad that we cannot travel as the UK is on lockdown. We cannot wait to get our hiking into the mountains in the Pyrenees or swimming in one of the cold lakes in the Alps. We, like everyone else, will just have to wait.

Please feel free to get in touch if you want to chat, or are on the road, or if your travel plans have also been put on hold. Would be good to see who else is in the same boat and what you are doing in the meantime! Contact us here.

To view the full van conversion blog, visit here.

To view the recycled parts in the conversion blog, visit here.