Ransom pesto – no, not an April or Ransom Fool

It’s Spring and the Allium ursinum is flourishing, otherwise known as Ransoms or Wild Garlic

The leaves have been magically transformed into pesto. Before and after below.

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Excellent use of wood (timber)

In November 2015 we cut down some collapsing Wild Damson

https://ancientwoodland.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/leaning-trees-work-in-progress/

which was taken away by a Worker in Wood , Colin Norgate ( http://www.colinnorgate.co.uk/ ) Excellent craftsmanship.

It’s now in the process of being dried and looks very interesting. I’m about to supply some ash, I hope that works out as well.

 

 

 

First flowers out

The snowdrops in the wood were the first wild flowers flowering, but since I took the photo last weekend garden cyclamen, crocus and primroses bursting forth. Great.

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We await the Barn Owls

We now have an empty barn owl box.

Barry & Madeleine who live in Greatham suggested that our wood could be a good location for owl boxes and Barry makes them – so now we have one specially designed as a des-res for a barn owl. We need to coppice a field maple to make a space for them to fly in easier which is just about to happen. We wait with bated breath, but it could be a while!

 

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Coppicing – and a surprise bug

We have been coppicing a new area of the copse, trying to get some sort of rotation going. The last three years efforts look good. A friend helped and we did about 10 stools, it doesn’t sound much but some were large. We now have plenty of small wood for the fire, and hazel rods if anyone wants them. We also tried laying one to see if it will root as there are some areas which could do with filling in.

Came across this Hawthorn Shield Bug on one hazel I was cutting down. It didn’t shift so it went carefully with the cut stem.

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Strange oak gall

In September I was leading walks in Provence for HF Holidays and spotted this very strange oak gall. It took me ages to identify it as

ANDRICUS DENTIMITRATUS

It’s amazing what a gall wasp can cause to happen.;

 

Galle du chêne d'Andricus dentimitratus

Oh dear, oh deer

In the winter we coppiced a bay tree (Laurus nobilis), which had rather got out of hand. Some of the wood has been given to a woodworking friend to see if it will turn, it seems a fine grained wood, which smelled rather nice when being cut up. We’re not short of bay leaves for cooking with.

The coppicing has worked, photograph below, but possibly surprisingly the dear like it, even though the young shoots are very aromatic. Half has been heavily browsed, half has escaped. The culprit’s mug shot is below.

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To be, or not to be, (in)

Missed a month because I’ve been away walk leading and on our family holiday, and only one pretty picture, a bee orchid on the Hangers. Back for tomorrow’s EU referendum, which which many people are bored, or confused.

In our opinion, and strictly relating to conservation, bio-diversity and sustainability is that being in the EU has on balance had a positive effect. Better water quality, better protection for migrating birds in southern Europe, and areas near here which have a high level of environmental protection.

SSSIs have no effective protection, and AONBs and national Parks have stronger protection, but less than the EU Special Protection Areas on our doorstep.

Recent UK governments have reduced building standards and tried to privatise the Forestry Authority which would have reduced public access, not demonstrating a great commitment to the environment.

Our biggest threat here is the Chinese owned golf club which wants to build another golf course on unspoilt countryside, immediately reducing bio-diversity. The EU level protection may help us.

Bluebell beauty

Just back from walk leading on the French Riviera where spring is very well advanced and many of the orchids are finished, whereas here the Early-purple orchids are still to be in their full glory.

What a contrast, bluebells here, natural rock gardens there.

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“What Katie did”

We were away last week in Dorset when Storm Katie arrived. The sea was impressive.

Not so impressive was the damage in the wood with the top of a maple removed, landing close to the P1060958 P1060959house, and a large ash leaning precariously. We will now to have to find time to chainsaw, saw and lop.  Hopefully the ash will regrow if coppiced or pollarded, although cutting down hanging trees is tricky and needs to be done carefully.