Ramblings from Finemere Wood

English oak leaves in autumn by Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Charlotte Karmali brings the latest news from the volunteers at Finemere Wood.

The colours of autumn are stunning, all shades of red, orange, yellow, purple and brown. It is well worth taking a stroll around Finemere Wood at this time of year to marvel at this natural wonder.

The leaves are not the only autumn showpiece: now is a great time to find mushrooms and toadstools, the fruiting bodies of fungi. Fungi play a vital role in the breakdown of plant and animal matter and come in all shapes and sizes, growing on and around the trees, in alluring autumnal colours.

Throw into this golden brown phenomenon some Finemere Wood volunteers, their colours a little muted in comparison to the glory surrounding them.

Volunteers

Creating a coppice coup at Finemere Wood by Charlotte Karmali

The winter work is well underway, as the yearly challenge of cutting a new coppice coup begins. Each year we coppice a section of the wood, re-establishing this traditional woodland management practice.

Wildlife benefits greatly. Light will flood into the newly cut area, a rich variety of habitats are created and those species favouring open woodland will flourish here. 

Fungus

Cortinarius armillatus by Robin Moore

The red-banded webcap (Cortinarius armillatus), rust-brown in colour, is identifiable by the bold reddish collars around its stem.

A very fine specimen has been spotted in Finemere Wood, with a cap diameter of 20cm plus. Cortinarius armillatus is mycorrhizal with birch, meaning that it has a symbiotic relationship with the roots of birch trees. It helps the tree to absorb water and nutrients from the soil and in return, the tree supplies the fungus with sugars and amino acids.

The rain pours down during our volunteer session, but spirits aren’t dampened. I give my word that no-one will be judged if they decide to knock off work early, but few opt to leave.

Tree after tree is felled, branch after branch is piled on to a warming fire. The volunteers glow with contentment as they admire the day’s work.

It is time to go home, to dry out, and to enjoy that great sense of achievement. 

Come and join the Finemere Wood volunteers. Everyone's welcome and no experience is necessary!

Contact Charlotte for further information.

Next work party dates: Thursday 12 December; Thursday 9 January; Thursday 23 January; 9.30am-3pm.

 

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