It was a blistering hot July day yesterday.
Any animal with any sense was lying down in the shadiest place they could find.
Fizz was out in the farm fields with me and a couple of tennis balls and we were having a splendid game of “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”
Lots of water and rest stops were required.
In fact there wasn’t very much else going on at all, just resting and drinking water, I needed a plan.
I know a place where it is very cool and this seemed like a good day to visit. We are going to the Bluebell woods. Yes, to see Bluebells.
This is Sweet Chestnut coppice, well, it is what remains when the coppicing is abandoned.
I am not a big fan of this type of woodland. Sweet Chestnut is not native to the UK and it supports very little insect life, almost none and without insects you don’t get many birds.
This tree is also the arboreal equivalent of Rhododendron. It has one of the largest leaves of any tree in the UK and casts dense shade. When the leaves fall they create a thick leaf litter that is toxic and inhibits the growth of other plants.
Even when Sweet Chestnut is actively coppiced there is very little Spring growth as you would find in native coppice woodland, just a thick blanket of dead toxic leaves.
I do like coppice woodland, native coppice woodland is a wonderful wildlife habitat but it is important to know that not all coppice is the same. Hazel coppices well, Oak, Birch and Willow are the best wildlife trees that we have but diversity is the real important issue and the more species of tree a wood supports the more life it will support. Monocultures of non native species are an ecological disaster.
Having said that, some of my best friends are Sweet Chestnut as part of a mixed woodland it is welcome in my world. It has good nuts.
A Sweet Chestnut coppice is a nice place to visit on a sweltering summers day and a hard place to survive in.
The plants that do thrive here are the Spring flowers, Wood Anemones, Lesser Celandine and Bluebells.
We have come to look at the Bluebells.
This is all that remains of the Bluebells that carpeted the floor of this wood a couple of months back but this is an important part of the Bluebell story.
There is much more to Bluebells than the showy display of flowers in early May. The story starts with the tiny green shoots that pierce through the leaf litter in January and it ends here with these seed pods full of shiny black seeds that will be tomorrows Bluebells.
Well, we didn’t come here to write the Bluebell story, we will do that on a cold January day when there is little else to gladden our hearts. Today we are just collecting some photographs.
Today looks like another scorcher, the plants are buzzing with life, there is lots to see and write about and Fizz and I need to get out there and work on our tans. 🙂
8 thoughts on “Bluebell Woods”
Hello and thanks for liking my latest posts. I’m a new follower of your blog. I love your posts…so much information and lovely images. Love your dog. I will be back for more.
Thank you Dorne 🙂 Fizz is a lovely dog, she belongs to my landlord, I lt her tag along with me. She is no Greyhound and she can’t write my posts for me, most of the time she can’t even find her ball 🙂
I see my dog Paco isn’t the only one that has a hard time with these sweltering summer months. Paco’s problem is that he’s jut not smart enough to slow down and take it easy so on day’s over 90 degrees I’m forced to leave him behind. I can tell you now that he doesn’t like that one bit. 🙂 Great photos and love all the information you provide. Enjoyable for the eye and the brain.
Thanks 🙂 I have just seen a picture of Paco, he looks about the same size as Fizz. I find a dog makes a good companion when I am out and about, I don’t feel guilty about stopping to take pictures all the time. You have a nice blog and I am looking forward to seeing more of Oklahoma and the mountains
Wonderfully informative and fun.
Thank you Gigi 🙂
I too am enjoying your Blog. Love your little stories, and Fizz is just adorable. Love your photographs; very beautiful. Happy trails!
Love Fizz and his wet little fizzog!