Thursday, 1 July 2010

Last weekend in the woods

It's been a very busy week at the Ashden Awards, which is why it's taken until now for me to post the photos I took last weekend...

The area near our camp is now swamped by a carpet of green:
The fruit trees are coming on well:
but one particular birch tree is having a tough time with caterpillars:
Don't know the species though - leave a comment if you know what they are.

We've got yet more new plants moving into this area as well. I think this one is Hedge Bedstraw (correct me if I'm wrong), which we've not seen before:
Another one that's nice to see is Elder:
The thistles are back, and we have at least two varieties, judging by the colours of the flowers:
What's quite amazing is standing at the boundary of the area we coppiced in 2007/8 and taking a photo in each direction. Here's the coppiced area:
and here's the view in the other direction:
You can see the huge difference in the variety of ground flora. This is why it's important to keep cutting different bits of the wood each year, so there are a variety of areas in different stages of growth, with different plants and habitats in them. It also works well for harvesting the wood, which I guess is why people have been managing woods this way for thousands of years!

Anyway, time for a Sweep Wood update, where everything is growing like crazy! At the top, the logs we sat on to eat lunch last winter are nearly hidden by nettles:
Hazel stools are growing nicely:
as are the Sweet Chestnut:and so are Sycamore (though we won't let these grow to the point where they seed, we have quite enough of them already!)
A new one for us is Ash - this is the first time we've been able to watch it grow after coppicing. The speed of growth is amazing:
especially when you look at how thick the stems are already, way ahead of the other species:
Down at the bottom of Sweep Wood there's a fungi on an Ash tree, in the same place as last year (which is not surprising):
Any ideas on the name? I wasn't sure...

Heading back to our own wood, the pond is looking good:
OK, you may not think that's good, but look closer:
there's other little creatures in there too, but I couldn't get a clear picture...

Down at the end of the path we coppiced in 2008/9, the honeysuckle we carefully protected is in full bloom:
which is a treat for the White Admiral butterfly. We saw two of them near our entrance, the first recorded sighting in the area this year:
Other insects are out and about too, there's loads of dragonflies around in the wayleave:
and last but not least, first picture of a Meadow Brown this year:
That's all for now...


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