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Forest of Dean


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31 August 2021

Clanna Ponds


Our first visit to Clanna Ponds for two years. The local fishermen has cleared a lot of foliage around the grassy areas so we headed off into the woods to attack the invasive Laurel. English Laurel gets its name from its resemblance to the true Laurel tree, but it is actually related to the cherry tree family. The bushy-looking tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and sport an even wider canopy of leaves.

The Bay Laurel tree is deeply rooted in Greek and Roman mythology. This association is clearly seen in the story in which the nymph, Daphne, is transformed into a Laurel tree by her father, Peneus, so that she could avoid the advances of Apollo. To show his undying love for Daphne, Apollo donned a wreath of Laurel on his head for all of eternity. To this day, the Laurel has symbolized success and status.

The view across the ponds towards the old woods.

Laurel fruit

The seed inside the fruit (and the leaves) contain large concentrations of hydrogen cyanide, and should never be eaten. The toxicity of the seed inside the fruit is similar to the cyanide toxicity of the seeds inside the common fruits apricot and peach.This chemical composition is what gives the smell of almonds when the leaves are crushed.

It did not take us long to build this enormous pile of branch cuttings taken off the trees!

Further up the hill is this beautiful little waterfall.