I suspect the beech woods and hazel and ash coppices of this area are relatively new creations. In any event, they do accommodate the occasional gorgeous, golden spread of winter-flowering aconites (they're probably still fully in flower, given how cold it's been this year).
Never having looked into the aconite, so to speak, I thought I'd google it. If Wikipedia is to be believed it has the most intriguing mythic origin - as well as characteristics that are more sinister than one would guess from its sunny aspect:
In Greek and Roman mythology, Medea tried to kill Theseus by poisoning him by putting aconite in his wine, in that culture thought to be the saliva of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the Underworld. Hercules dragged Cerberus up from the Underworld, while the dog turned his face away from the light, barking and depositing saliva along the path. The saliva hardened in the soil and produced its lethal poison in the plants that grew from the soil. Because it was formed and grew on hard stones, farmers called it 'aconite' (from the Greek akone, meaning 'whetstone').
The whetstone, being dull, grey and blunt seems a most unlikely origin for the name of such a bright, aurulent and delicate flower. Or did the sharpness of the plant - its poison - somehow chime with its sitting on a sharpening stone?
The otherworldly associations don't stop there. Aconites are also known as wolfbane, superstitiously (and confusingly) reckoned to both induce and cure lycanthropy. The etymology suggests this arises from some Anglo-Saxon folklore. I'm sure some trawling around the internet - sorry, research - would produce more of this. It seems to be a plant that's had a magnetic influence on uncanny associations.
A mythic assassination, a demonic dog, a chthonic poison, the fodder of a werewolf, and more: all lying at the bitter root of one small, yellow, woodland flower!