Another week, another walk in the woods and thankfully there’s no denying that spring is finally here! The weather is warmer, the buds are starting to burst, the spring flowers are starting to agree that it is time to come out. After a long, cold and particularly dreary winter, it is wonderful to watch the woodland coming alive again with the signs of spring.
This week, I spent a lot of time looking at the many pieces of deadwood scattered around the woodland. All too often, woodlands and gardens are ‘tidied up’. Deadwood is looked upon as something to be removed. In some cases, removal is necessary to ensure safety however, when it is safe to do so, deadwood should be maintained as vital habitat.
Removing or burning rotting timber can destroy valuable invertebrate habitat. Wherever possible, fallen, rotting wood should be left undisturbed where it falls. Fallen branches and other lying deadwood should be maintained in situ unless they pose a danger to the public.
This woodland is full of both lying and standing deadwood and while it may look untidy, it is important to remember that nature is rarely “tidy”. Often the best habitats are found in areas that humans, with our inclination to impose order on our environment, leave unmanaged.
For more information on deadwood habitat, take a look at this publication from the Forestry Commission:
The same flowers could be seen dotted around the woodland floor as in previous weeks, however there were noticeably more of them this week. Primroses and wood anemones blanket patches of the woodland floor and the brilliant green of the bluebell leaves shone in the bright sunlight.
For this walk, I decided to take the left hand circular path to make a change from the other routes I have taken and came across these rabbit holes. Out of interest, I loosely crossed some sticks over the entrance to the holes to find out whether they were in use.
Sure enough, the following day when i went back to check, the sticks had been pushed aside and fresh rabbit droppings were observed around the area.
Joining the splashes of spring colour on the woodland floor are the lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) which have now started to make an appearance. A perennial member of the buttercup family, these native British flowers are widespread in woods, hedgerows and on the banks of streams.
Join us next week for another walk in the woods. Until then, send us your pictures of your spring walks in the woods to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our facebook page.