Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Bugle. Photo by Paul Lane

The volunteers are back at Finemere Wood discovering old friendships, wild flowers and the joy of scything.

June has arrived. With long hours of daylight, and following many a week of rain, Finemere Wood is lush, green and thick with vegetation. Flowers are bursting into full bloom; butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies are emerging; and the volunteers are back in force.

Covid restrictions in the wood have been relaxed, and once again the whole team can gather. It is a joyous occasion, despite the persisting Covid rule of no cake.

Bugle

Bugle. Photo by Charlotte Karmali

Ajuga reptans, commonly known as bugle, is a member of the mint family. Flowering between April and July, its nectar is a favourite of the bumblebee and of a variety of butterflies. It spreads by producing long runners, creating a dense carpet of green leaves from which blue-purple flower spikes emerge.

One use over the centuries has been as a remedy for stemming bleeding, hence it is also known as the “Carpenter’s herb”. Ajuga reptans has put on a fine display in Finemere Wood this year, never before have I seen such thick clumps spread far and wide throughout the wood. 

A BBOWT volunteer scything in Finemere Wood. Photo by Charlotte Karmali

Scything in Finemere Wood. Photo by Charlotte Karmali

A variety of tools was on offer to the team this month as we cut back long grassy areas and cleared encroaching scrub alongside pathways. There are those who chose to mindfully meditate with the swish of the scythe; those who eagerly embrace the buzz of the brushcutter and those who cheerfully chatter as they rake rhythmically. There is a job to suit everyone. 

Common spotted orchid

Common spotted orchid. Photo by Charlotte Karmali

Common spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) are plentiful along the woodland rides and are attractive to day-flying moths in particular. More orchids appear year on year.

The UK’s most common orchid it may be, yet it is a stunning plant. The oval leaves, with dark purple spots, form a rosette at its base. The flower spikes house densely packed, cone-shaped clusters of light pink flowers. The flowers are marked with pink-purple spots and stripes. They are a work of art.

The sun beat down relentlessly upon the volunteers. It was hot, humid and sweaty work, but they pressed on regardless. Much grass was cut and many paths were cleared, and the beauty of the wood was enjoyed by all at this most colourful time of the year.

For further information about all volunteering opportunities with BBOWT, please email volunteering@bbowt.org.uk.