I put on hiking boots and grab my walking pole to take a 30 minute detour through the woods on my way to the post box at the end of the road. A Wren hops by the stream, there's a whir of wings as Wood Pigeons explode from a tree, Blackbirds 'pink!' as the go to roost in a dense hedgerow.
It's good to exchange the comfort of carpets for a carpet of leaves and the nutty, moist smell of November woodland. I'm glad I've brought the walking pole, not just for the squelchy mud, but for tackling the makeshift stepping stones across the stream.
Footpaths move over the years. As I enter the woods the main path goes to the left of a large hawthorn and under the branches of an oak. Ten years ago there was an alternative path around the other side of the hawthorn, and twenty years ago that other path was the only path into the woods.
Across the stepping stones, what used to be an open grassy land has gradually shrunk as willows spread from the one side and a hedgerow spreads from the other. Now a muddy path between the two is all that remains of the open area.
Several trees and bushes in the hedgerow are completely overgrown with Ivy, so that now they look like shaggy Holm Oaks.
Most of the leaves have now fallen from the Hazel bushes and the small, tightly furled catkins are already visible on the branches.
As the light fades I walk through oak and birch woodland. Some of the Bracken has turned and now stands ghostly pale in contrast to the gathering gloom amongst the trees.