Saturday, 3 July 2010


As the summer progresses a variety of wild flowers have begun to appear along the ride. Many of these are yellow to attract pollinating insects and a number are ancient woodland indicator species. These include slender st John's wort, yellow pimpernel, tormentil and tutsan.

A clump of scrub near the entrance to the wood is particularly species rich and attracting huge numbers of butterflies, bees and insects. Bramble is a great crowd puller, but nettle, hedge woundwort, birds foot trefoil, lesser stitchwort, germander speedwell and heather are all currently part of the mix, while lady's smock, bugle, ground ivy and wild strawberry have all been and gone, and now thistles are beginning to appear .

 Foxgloves are replacing  the fading bluebells and figwort has appeared along an old moss covered ditch. Although the flowers appear insignificant, they lure pollinating insects with an unpleasant smell.

It's hoped that more flowers will appear next year in some of the thinned areas. Bracken dominates much of the wood and may be suppressing the growth of other plants and preventing them from producing flowers, so Sarah and I  have started bracken bashing in selected areas.

 Honeysuckle has appeared in the tree tops and along the ride and woodland edges. Although looking scrappy in some places, in others there has been a beautiful display of flowers and there are seedlings in many parts of the wood.   With the right conditions these may scramble up to produce further plants in the future.

The white admiral lays its eggs on honeysuckle and  one  was seen flying along the ride today, although it was too fast and too far away to  photograph.

Much more obliging was the silver washed fritillary  on bramble . Click on the picture to see the silver wash on the underwing from which it gets its name. Also feeding on this thicket were numerous meadow brown, large skipper and an unidentified female blue butterfly. A comma was also seen sunning itself on an oak tree along the ride.