WET WOODLAND -featuring Spindle, Alder Buckthorn and Wayfaring, slowly greening 24th April 2014

waters from the woodland, bunded and pooled
The woodland slopes westwards towards the River Rea, hence the west of the site is wet for most of the year.
Developing new habitats
The emerging waters have been pooled to develop shallow open-water scrapes
gathering waters from woodland springs

Just a reminder of the woodland origin; 25 years ago the site was unwanted allotment land, and previous to this, open farmland.
Alder Buckthorn

The lower west side retains the spring waters to form wet woodland and, at times, impassible boggy paths. These conditions suit plants such as Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus). The wood of Alder Buckthorn is used for making gunpowder - is this still made? Not sure if the berries have the same purgative properties as those of Buckthorn (Rhamnus cartharticus), the specific name referring to this.

Allan's corded paths are most useful, constructed with coppiced hazel from the woodland.

Spindle (Euonymus europaeus), several trees are doing well on the lower, wetter levels

Spindle tree
Many applied and descriptive vernacular names are used such as, prickwood, skewerwood and pincushion shrub, but use of the wood for hand spinning raw wool was not especially favoured in Britain.  (Flora Britannica)
Wayfaring Tree

Flower of Viburnum lantana (Wayfaring Tree)
Wayfaring Trees, Spindle and Alder Buckthorn are often associated as trees of Southern Britain, and thrive there due to optimal climatic conditions; but with onset climatic change these species are likely to thrive further north, and perhaps we will notice them more often in the Midlands over the coming decades.
leaves of wayfaring Tree

Introduced from North America in 1817. A 'happy', thriving plant with some ecological value - Thrushes and Blackbirds will eat the berries during harsh winter conditions


Apple blossom


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