Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Wood anemone by Mark Hamblin/2020Vision

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

Spring is on the way: the grassy rides of Finemere Wood are scattered with primroses; a mass of bluebell leaves are emerging and the star-like white flowers of the wood anemone adorn the shady woodland paths. These solitary flowers have yellow anthers and elongated flower stems, their leaves divided into three lobes.

Anemone nemorosa is one of the first flowers of spring and one of my most favourite. It can be seen between March and May in deciduous woods, where it comes into bloom before the tree canopy becomes dense.

Very slow to spread, most of its seeds being infertile, it spreads through the growth of rhizomes, taking up to one hundred years to spread just six feet. Hence this plant is an indicator of ancient woodland. Hoverflies feed upon the wood anemone and aid in pollination. Other animals give it a wide berth due to its bitter taste, and to humans it is poisonous.

Wood anemone

Wood anemone by Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

The long winter months are coming to an end, and so, too, is the cutting and clearing of shrubs and trees.

The wood must be left to grow and flourish, birds will nest and butterflies and other invertebrates will spring into action.

So what becomes of the volunteers now that loppers and saws have been taken from them?

Fortunately, there is still much hard physical labour on offer, for this is what these woodland workers need. The newly cleared areas must be protected from the pernicious effects of predatory deer. The fresh young shoots that will appear in coming months will be tempting, tasty delights for these herbivores. And so this month’s focus is upon barricading in these sensitive areas.


Volunteers protect new growth with fencing at Finemere Wood by Charlotte Karmali

Fencing panels some two metres tall are carried to the places of need. It can be tiring and tedious work, and yet this hearty crew blithely take on the chore.

There is much experimenting as to the best way to carry such awkward equipment; one at a time; two at a time; horizontally; vertically or even in a chain. The possibilities are endless.

The hard work is done, the panels are positioned and clamped together and hey presto the fence is in place. Here it will stay until the new growth is mature enough to survive the effects of deer browsing.

A good day's work, two fences up and two more to go. We shall be back again at the end of the month for a repeat fencing session.

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

Email Charlotte for further information

Next Work Party Dates: Thursday 11 April, Thursday 25 April, Thursday 9 May, Thursday 23 May; 9.30am-3pm.