Sunday, 15 June 2014

High Wood and Meadow: hidden gem

Tucked away in a quiet valley well of the beaten track, High Wood and Meadow is a great place to spend some time exploring.  A Wildlife Trust nature reserve and SSSI (click view citation), it is well protected and looks to be in good shape thanks to the Trust, their volunteers and most importantly their flock of Hebridean sheep.

The SSSI citation gives a really good account of this site's special value: relatively natural ancient woodland with hazel coppice, undamaged by conifer planting, and adjacent to which is a precious patch of flower-rich acid grassland.

It's also great that the wildlife trust allow you to roam across the site, so you are not restricted to the paths (good though they are).

It is the sort of place worth repeat visits, especially in spring and summer.  Today the weather was cloudy and quite cool, not great for butterflies and only a handful of meadow browns were on the wing, as was another chimney sweep moth.

There are two grassland fields, and the sheep are grazing just one at the moment, creating an interesting contrast along the fence line and showing how far the sheep can stick their heads through the netting!
sheep are grazing to the right of the fence

The flowers took most of my attention; in particular it was nice to see a profusion of mouse-ear hawkbit Pilosella officinarum - exquisite lemon yellow flowers set against a background dappled white by heath bedstraw.

mouse-ear hawkbit


yellow pimpernel

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