Like many other wooded areas in Central Scotland, Menstrie Wood is showing signs of an early autumn with many trees already showing colour change and with the recent high winds autumn leaves are beginning to cover the woodland paths. However it will still be a few weeks yet before we see that beautiful riot of colours when the wood gets into full autumn mode. The woodland floor has become quite bare over the last few months, no doubt due to the very heavy leaf canopy produced by the heavy rainfall experienced during spring and summer this year. As a result, should you wander well off the main paths at this time of the year, you will find on fallen decaying trees spectacular arrays of fungi. Remember to take your camera.
This is also a good time to search for the woodland tree fruits. Large cones can be seen high on the one or two coniferous trees but more accessible are the many deciduous fruits - the oak trees are showing a great crop of acorns while the sycamore, ash and elder are progressing nicely. You will have to venture far and wide to find the fruits of the gean (wild cherry), blackthorn (sloe berries) and the beech nuts.
Organize a family outing into the wood to see how many you can find.
It is very pleasing to note how popular the woodland path north of the village has become with more and more people using this very pleasant walk. How disappointing it is therefore to see a large quantity of rubble dumped alongside the path placed there by the gentlemen who cleared an area at the end of their driveway and erected a fine fence to protect the parked cars. Come on gentlemen: Do the right thing and remove your rubbish from the wood.
Fly tipping can attract fines of up to £40,000.00.