Saturday, 22 April 2017

Bluebells and orchids

Last Sunday, my last trip out for my week off was to Langley Wood NNR, just south of Salisbury and part of the New Forest National Park.

There is very limited parking, and we were lucky to get a space - clearly, the combination of sun and bluebells was a draw! The site can be very wet, even despite the numerous boardwalks, but with the dry weather we've been having, it was a perfect stroll around the reserve.

The ancient Saxon boundary banks were already cloaked in bluebells - not quite at their peak - and amazing clusters of tall early purple orchids. This complimented the violets, celandines and wood anemones carpeting the surrounding woodland floor. Coupled with the bright green early leaf growth on the ancient oaks and beeches, and the birdsong, it was a glorious spring walk.

 We followed the permissive circular route, very clearly signposted, with a slight detour out the other end of the NNR and back in again to a less-visited corner of woodland. It features my favourite beech tree and an ancient path between two deep banks swathed in more bluebells. Following the storms, and in order to maintain a safe path, 'my' tree isn't what is once was, having had some serious tree surgery. However, Natural England has left the dead limbs around the trunk and surrounding floor, for valuable habitat for invertebrates and fungi, so in time it will be a haven for many species.

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