There are reports in the national papers of a lack of acorns, forcing jays to forage in gardens. There are lots of acorns in our wood in Tod but I have never seen them eaten as voraciously by grey squirrels as this year. Every tree has mounds of left-over bits of acorns and a squirrel in each tree. I don’t think the jays (and we have a few) are getting much of a look-in. I have also noticed all the squirrels look very scraggy and undernourished and seem desperate for the acorn bounty.

For the first time, squrrels have stripped all the bark on the upper branches of the mature sycamores at the rear of Todmorden Hall and all the tops are now an unsightly brown of dead foliage.

Hawthorns everywhere I go are looking very sick this year, with die-back and many without any leaves since spring. Rowan are the same, birches with frizzled leaves, elder bushes losing leaves and many dying.

There is a Chalara fungal disease on imported ash trees and the government is so worried it may be about to ban imported ash saplings. The Netherlands have lost 90% of their mature Ash trees to this disease and same could happen in this country. I can’t imagine why we import Ash as they grow like weeds here.