Posted on 1st April 2015
Our woodlands are now bursting into life after a long winter when they have been ‘quiet’. Much depends upon the weather but, all being well, the sun will shine and the birds will sing, the resident numbers swelled by the arrival of summer migrants.
Late April is normally the best time to see carpets of spring flowers such as Bluebell, Red Campion, Early Purple-orchid, Greater Stitchwort and Wood Forget-me-not. The Trust is fortunate to have some very special ancient woodlands, which you can visit and enjoy. A photograph may look terrific, but the experience of being amongst them is something else! Photographs cannot convey the scent of the flowers, the feel of the air on the face, the soft ground beneath the feet or the song of the birds all around.
Wonderful places to enjoy nature in the spring include: Burrow Wood (part of Charley Woods), Cloud Wood*, Great Merrible Wood, Launde Big Wood, Launde Park Wood, Poultney Wood (part of Ulverscroft), and Prior’s Coppice. Please check your Nature Reserves Guide or the nature reserves section of this website for further details.
*Permits for non members can be obtained by contacting the Trust office.
Species of the month: Early Purple-orchid Orchis mascula
As its name suggests, this is one of our earliest flowering orchids, appearing from April to June. It is widespread and can be found in habitats with non-acidic soils such as hedgerows, banks, ancient woodland and open grassland.
Early Purple-orchids can display up to 50 flowers on a spike ranging from pinkish-purple to dark purple arranged in a dense, cone-shaped cluster. The upper petals of each flower form a hood and the lower lip has three lobes. Its leaves are glossy and dark green with dark spots, and form a rosette on the ground.
Photograph: Early purple-orchid (Paul Lane)