A wood has as many purposes as you might like to imagine. In the middle of May, Hutchcomb is so clearly about, and for the creatures that live there. Cow Parsley is flowering at shoulder height. Nettles and Cleavers stand tall amongst it. The animal paths that we once followed are mostly hidden now and we have to peer through the plants to find the safest places to walk.
A group of us spent a couple of pleasant hours in the copse - we were on a mission to lay reptile mats, identify birdsong, and look for butterflies. It seemed like the warmest day of the year so far.
It was a perfect morning - the woodland floor had new growth including some baby nettles (they'll grow and get meaner no doubt!) but the paths were still easy to find and follow. The trees were just starting to come into bud. Hutchcomb's Copse seemed to be breathing in the sunlight and bursting into life.
I won't say more - let the pictures speak for themselves !
Saturday’s visit on March 25th marked the point when from this day forward, days are longer than nights. What wonders will we see as the season develops?
With the meteorologists telling us spring had arrived it was good to see evidence of it in our most recent visit to the Copse. Lovely blue skies and sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for Hazel catkins.
Hazel is abundant, previously being coppiced. Records from 1852 (see below), as well as 1870 and 1877 show that the coppiced wood (underwood) was a valuable commodity offered for auction. The coppiced stands are now grown tall again.
We woke to freezing fog but by the time we got to the Copse the sun had burned through and the colours were astounding. The frost had cleared under the shelter of the canopy of trees. Cow parsley and the first nettles were starting to green up the dense leaf litter of the Copse floor. This animal track looked really inviting, so we followed it ...
This is the first of a regular blog about the Copse, season by season, monthly when possible. We will share what we notice on visits to Hutchcomb’s Copse, and provide updates about our plans. We bought the Copse last year and will work gently to preserve and enhance it. No ‘tidying-up’ is intended. We are thinking about when and how we might see and identify the flora, and the fauna who live there.
Our most recent visit to the Copse was on a chilly and windy January morning. We were lucky – there was no rain! The Holly bushes offered a welcome patch of glossy green against the backdrop of grey-brown tree barks and the deep, mostly dark, leaf litter. It was damp and slippery underfoot just about everywhere.
Our first exciting spot was a collection of healthy-looking green leaves emerging from the leaf litter – Primroses. We are already imagining those pale yellow flowers shining out at us in the coming months.