A belated award presentation, blossom galore and wildflowers to spot.
Last year we were nominated by two of our volunteers for the Volunteering Organisation of the Year award run by Edge Hill University. Will and Arron joined our volunteers early in their first year at Edge Hill University and volunteered with us throughout their 3 year Ecology and Conservation course. We were delighted to find that we had won this award but, unfortunately the presentation fell victim to Lockdown. The earliest opportunity for the presentation was Wednesday 12th May this year and fortunately Helen and Jonathan managed to dodge the showers for this photograph.
Our Heritage Orchard trees are now coming into blossom and look glorious
The blossom is attractive not just to human eyes but also to a variety of pollinating insects, especially bees
Let’s hope we have no more torrential rain and strong winds so we can have a bumper crop of apples this year.
Our Orchard apple trees are not the only trees in blossom, a variety of our trees and shrubs are beginning their displays:
Wild Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) is the ancestor of cultivated apples today. The fruits are a favourite of many birds but also can be harvested and made into jelly, jam and wine.
The blossom of Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is sometimes referred to as ‘May blossom’ and it is thought to bring bad luck if you bring it indoors. Hawthorn was used as hedging to enclose field and estate boundaries, particularly in the 16th to 18th centuries but, as farming practices changed, larger fields were needed for the machinery and many hawthorn hedges were destroyed. At Gorse Hill we have replaced many boundary hedges around our meadows and hawthorn is one of the main shrubs we have used. It provides cover for nesting birds, blossom for pollinating insects and berries for winter food. The berries are particularly favoured by migrating Redwing.
Rowan trees (Sorbus aucuparia) were often planted in churchyards and outside houses to ward off witches and on May Day sprays of Rowan were hung over doors and ‘dressed’ wells to repel evil. Sometimes known as Mountain Ash many of these trees are grown in gardens as they don’t take up a lot of room and have beautiful blossom in May time and later in the year have bright red, or sometimes orange berries. Again ideal for wildlife.
As you walk around Cabin Wood it is worth looking down as well as looking up at the blossom in the trees and shrubs. Our native or ‘English Bluebells’ (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are perhaps the most obvious at this time of year. In Elizabethan times starch was extracted from their bulbs and used to stiffen the elaborate ruffs that were so fashionable. Nowadays it is illegal to dig up native bluebells. It is however a constant battle to prevent the invasive ‘Spanish bluebell’ from taking over, generally brought in by wildlife and is common in many of our gardens.
An everyday little flower, the daisy (Bellis perennis) is often overlooked and often regarded as a weed by many gardeners as it invades well kept lawns. A favourite flower of poets Chaucer and Shelley it’s name derives from ‘day’s eye’ as it opens early in the morning and closes in the evening, ideal for daytime pollinating insects.
The scent of love is in the air when you walk past sweet violet (Viola odorata), the oil distilled from the petals is used to make scents, the flowers are edible and often candied to use as cake decorations. They were also used in herbal medicine to cure headaches, insomnia and depression. It was said that Sweet violets ‘steal your sense of smell’ because the flowers contains beta-ionone which is a chemical that temporarily dulls or shuts of smell receptors. Therefore the scent of Sweet violet is often lost almost as soon as it is detected!
Around Seldom Pond in Cabin Wood there is a carpet of Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) on both sides of the boardwalk across the front of the pond. The silvery leaves divided into 7-12 large tooth-edged leaflets are an identifying feature . The plants are now coming into flower; beautiful bright yellow saucer-shaped flowers. It is a member of the rose family and the flowers are a rich nectar source for bees, especially Honeybees.
Whilst you are at Seldom Pond the oak on the island is coming into leaf
and you will be ‘watched over’ by our beautiful carved wooded dragonfly!
24th March was a good day for photos and one plump little hedgehog!
It was a lovely sunny day encouraging Ladybirds to emerge, visitors and volunteers to take photos and an ideal day for one little hedgehog!
These Ladybirds were on the wooden rail running along one of the footpaths in Cabin Wood. It is worth looking down as well as up!
These are images of things to see in Cabin Wood. Although the Snowdrops have finished flowering can you spot a new sign of life amongst the leaves?
Last year ‘Harry the Rescue Hedgehog’ was pronounced fit and healthy by a local vet and was released into Cabin Wood. His story featured in our Nature Trail Magazine. Joan has nursed another hedgehog back to health and, again after an all clear from a local vet, has found a new home in Cabin Wood.
It was released on Wednesday 24th and, as you can see, made a bee line for the hedgehog box!
We all love a happy ending!
More signs of Spring, curious lambs and watch out for the ‘deer’.
There are always changes to spot in Cabin Wood especially signs of Spring and new curiosities:
Late February daffodils were beginning to flower
By mid March they were in full bloom
Primroses are showing their full glory
New arrivals in Cabin Wood – you could be lucky and spot the real thing!
More signs of Spring in our woodlands
Male Goat Willow catkins put on a show
Over the Autumn and Winter our meadows are grazed by sheep. They are always curious, especially the lambs and these are images of just some of their antics that make us smile
What can you see in Cabin Wood? At this time of year there is still plenty you can look out for in our woodland. All the following images were taken from the main path in the woodland on our ‘one way system’.
The water levels in Seldom Pond vary considerably, look to see if the Oak Tree Island is submerged.
Even in the wettest of weather the walkway past the pond keeps your feet dry!
Some snowdrops will be just coming into flower
Others will be more advanced
Where are these strange moss covered trees?
Plants appear brought in by wildlife, can you find where this Arum is growing?
Primroses will be coming into flower
The is plenty of Hazel growing in Cabin Wood
Hazel Catkins are flowering, this is the best time of year to see them. These ‘lambs-tail’ catkins are the male flowers
The small tiny buds with red tassels are the female flowers and are more difficult to spot
If you are lucky you might just find a sheltering Ladybird!
This is a good time of year for Lichen; there are many different colours and forms
If you look closely you can see the cup shaped lobes
There are lots of things to see on your snowdrop walks around Cabin Wood. We look forward to seeing you.