Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Primroses by Tristain Blaine

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

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty that is currently circulating in the country, Finemere Wood reassuringly carries on doing its thing regardless.

As we head into spring, birdsong is escalating, primroses are blossoming and bluebell leaves are emerging, as they do year after year. 

The Finemere volunteers have been busy clearing up the substantial mess they have created over the winter months. Much cutting and clearing of scrub and trees, to open up areas to light, has left huge piles of brash to be dealt with.

The woodland workers are fairly cheerful as they pile branches on to dead hedges and bonfires, but I know that in their heart of hearts they would far rather be knocking over a large tree. However, such activities are out of bounds as the nesting season begins.

Scarlet elf cup

The scarlet elf cup (Sarcoscypha austriaca), is named such as mythologically it was believed to be used by wood elves as a vessel in which to drink the morning dew.

An eye-catching fungus, its small, irregularly shaped cups have a stunning bright red inner surface and a smooth, downy, paler outer surface. For rodents and slugs, it is an important food source.

Whilst scrabbling around on the woodland floor, decaying branches and sticks are unearthed from mossy, damp areas, and just occasionally a worker is rewarded with this alluring treasure. Partial to willow and hazel, Sarcoscypha austriaca attaches itself to the leaf litter with a short stem. Widespread across the country, it may be, but this fungus is not common.

Evidence shows how powerful nature can be in relieving mental and physical stress, and so it is worth remembering this in the weeks to come.

A daily dose of nature, be that listening to the melodious song of a blackbird in the garden or striding out across the fields, can only do us good. As we are forced to slow down, withdraw and perhaps isolate ourselves from one another, take comfort from the natural world and its magical, beautiful and reliable cyclical rhythms.

Note: All our work parties are cancelled until further notice due to the coronavirus Covid-19. If you are a volunteer, your work party organiser should be in touch with you directly to keep you informed about the latest news. You can find the latest updates from BBOWT here.


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Hedgehog house by Gillian Day