Primrose ditch

Behind the picnic place at Fiveways, beyond the hedge, is a deep, deep ditch. The Friends have been clearing this ditch, cutting back the old hedges and haloing the oak trees (nos.5503 to 5507) that stand on the far bank. If you look over the bridge where all the paths meet, you will see where they have been working.

The task’s main purpose has been to clear the undergrowth so that light can reach the trunks and lower branches of the the oak trees but the effect will be far reaching because there are things other than oaks growing in this ditch, also waiting for the light.

There are hundreds of primrose plants, just rosettes of leaves at the moment but only needing that extra sunlight to burst into blossom. A similar thing happened in 2020 when SSE cut through the blackthorn tunnel in order to reach their storm-damaged power line: the following spring the ditch alongside, newly exposed to the light, was full of primroses that we hadn’t known were there.

There are also snowdrops in the ditch at Fiveways, just about to flower, that must have been hidden from view for years under the brambles around the base of oak tree 5505. These two species of wildflower, both well established, are an indication of how old this ditch, its hedges and its biosphere must be; the presence of oak trees several hundreds of years old confirms that these are structures and species that have been here for centuries.

We have been trying to establish foxgloves here. There are no foxgloves in the reserve and we don’t often try to introduce new species but this seemed such a perfect spot. We have spread seed, without success and planted plugs, also without success. Perhaps this latest burst of sunlight will do the trick.

2 thoughts on “Primrose ditch

  1. Really love primroses- and foxgloves and snowdrops come to that! Thank you to your volunteers for all their hard work

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