Skip to main content

WET WOODLAND -featuring Spindle, Alder Buckthorn and Wayfaring, slowly greening 24th April 2014

waters from the woodland, bunded and pooled
The woodland slopes westwards towards the River Rea, hence the west of the site is wet for most of the year.
Developing new habitats
The emerging waters have been pooled to develop shallow open-water scrapes
gathering waters from woodland springs

1989
Just a reminder of the woodland origin; 25 years ago the site was unwanted allotment land, and previous to this, open farmland.
Alder Buckthorn

The lower west side retains the spring waters to form wet woodland and, at times, impassible boggy paths. These conditions suit plants such as Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) and Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus). The wood of Alder Buckthorn is used for making gunpowder - is this still made? Not sure if the berries have the same purgative properties as those of Buckthorn (Rhamnus cartharticus), the specific name referring to this.

Allan's corded paths are most useful, constructed with coppiced hazel from the woodland.

Spindle
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus), several trees are doing well on the lower, wetter levels

Spindle tree
Many applied and descriptive vernacular names are used such as, prickwood, skewerwood and pincushion shrub, but use of the wood for hand spinning raw wool was not especially favoured in Britain.  (Flora Britannica)
Wayfaring Tree

Flower of Viburnum lantana (Wayfaring Tree)
Wayfaring Trees, Spindle and Alder Buckthorn are often associated as trees of Southern Britain, and thrive there due to optimal climatic conditions; but with onset climatic change these species are likely to thrive further north, and perhaps we will notice them more often in the Midlands over the coming decades.
leaves of wayfaring Tree

Snowberry
Introduced from North America in 1817. A 'happy', thriving plant with some ecological value - Thrushes and Blackbirds will eat the berries during harsh winter conditions

Holly


Apple blossom

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

http://highburyparkfriends.org.uk/text/newsletter/HPFbulletinjanuary2017.pdf

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

https://chamberlainhighburytrust.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/ChamberlainHighbury/

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/?page_id=250

http://www.peopleandland.org.uk/wp/







A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Questions
Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…