Fallen trees are a part of any healthy wood
WELL the "apocalyptic" storms that were forecast fortunately led to be no more than a wet and blustery night. And I am sure we are all grateful for that.
I nervously looked out of my window as the high winds were at their peak around three in the morning.
My garden fence was wobbling away and all I could think about was how much it was going to cost to replace it should it get blown down. That's not to mention all the aggravation that goes with it.
As I stood there I thought back to 1990 when Britain had experienced a "real storm" and the famous Michael Fish comment that there was no hurricane on the way.
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I remember watching TV the day after so many trees around the country had been blown over. The devastation around the nation was unbelievable.
Roofs were blown off people's homes, flash floods affected parts of the country, fields were underwater and livestock could not graze for months.
We do not associate Britain with hurricanes. We think they are limited to tropical countries because our climate is so different to theirs. So when we get told to expect the worst we tend to panic.
In 1990 I remember walking through the woods of Stoke Park and looking at many of the old 18th century trees blown over. Some massive oak trees in the lower fields had been uprooted and gone over too.
My friend Harry Phillips and I always used to go there looking for woodpeckers and owl nests when we were kids. So to see these giant trees lying on the floor was a shock to us.
The trees that were blown over are still lying there slowly being eaten away by fungus. But they do make great conversation. As I lead walks many of my guests recall the storms and we end up having a chat about their experiences.
I am often asked why are the fallen trees not cleared away. This is because fallen trees and logs are an essential part of any healthy woodland eco system. They rot down and get eaten by micro organisms and fungus, starting off the food chain.
Follow me on twitter @steveengland300.
Steve England is an (RHS) horticulturist, amateur naturalist and chairman of the Stoke Park steering group.