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.Continue reading “Primrose ditch”
A veteran oak tree is usually somewhere between 200 and 400 years old. These are trees that have local historical significance or that play important roles in a particular biosphere or landscape. In the reserve we have many notable and veteran oak trees, numbered and mapped.Continue reading “Haloing oak trees”
This year, consider making room in your garden for native wildflowers. The easiest and most environmentally friendly way to do this is to let the buttercups, dandelions and hawkbits in your lawn grow tall and flower.Continue reading “Consider wildflowers”
Winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris) is another of the wildflowers first identified and recorded in the reserve by Country Recorder Richard Aisbitt when he visited last summer. It isn’t a rare species or even particularly unusual; it’s just one of those plants that are so commonplace that nobody bothers to look at it or ask what it is.Continue reading
Pictures from Simon Knight of the new wetland pond in Lambrok Meadow and the two new backwater scrapes. They are slowly filling in this rain. As the weather warms, keep an eye out for the pioneer plants that will move in and provide cover for the our wetland creatures.
Snowdrops are the earliest of the reserve’s wildflowers and this is the right time to look out for their green shoots pushing through the woodland’s leaf litter. Here, while we wait for the flowers, are five things you probably didn’t know about snowdrops.Continue reading
Every Christmas, the National Trust publishes a report on the ways in which the year’s weather has affected the UK’s wildlife. This year, after the summer’s extreme drought, we can clearly see some of those effects in the reserve.Continue reading “Annual report”
What would Christmas be without mistletoe?Continue reading “Mistletoe”
Five things you may not have known about the ivy in your Christmas wreath.Continue reading “. . . and the ivy”
Over the years the Friends of Southwick Country Park have planted many holly whips in the hedges around the reserve’s fields.Continue reading “Oh, the holly. . .”
The week ahead is promising falling temperatures and a hard frost. How will this affect the reserve’s flora?Continue reading
Which is the greener option when it comes to Christmas trees: real or artificial? A real Christmas tree is a beautiful and traditional addition to our commercialised modern Christmases but it comes with a frisson of guilt. Should we be cutting down trees at a time when our struggling planet and its biosphere need all the trees they can get? Fear not; the news is good.Continue reading “Christmas tree”
Staghorn lichen (Evernia prunastri), also called oakmoss, is common and widespread in deciduous woodlands. This example was found in the park by Ian, on low growing oak branches. It is very sensitive to air pollution and is an indicator of good air quality.Continue reading “Staghorn Lichen”
The reserve provides habitat for all kinds of wasps. This year, despite the drought, must have been a good year for gall wasps because our oak trees are showing a goodish crop of the various round galls we call oak apples.Continue reading “More about our oaks”
Lambrok wetland areas
Clive Knight has sent in pictures of the wetland scrapes in Lambrok Meadow. Now that the rain has refilled Lambrok Stream and spilled into the scrapes, we can see how they are intended to develop.Continue reading
Fact of the week
In Britain we have two native species of oak which look very similar. This is how to tell them apart: pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur) produce acorns which hang on a stalk or peduncle while the acorns of the sessile oak (Quercus petraea) are stalkless.
Left: sessile oak; right: pedunculate oak. Header image: the oak by the bridge between Sleepers and Cornfield photographed by Ian Bushell
A message from Barbara Johnson:
Where have all the blackbirds gone? Are they able to find enough food in the wild so don’t need to visit our gardens?Continue reading “The blackbird question.”
Here is another of the plants first identified in the reserve by County Recorder Richard Aisbitt when he visited us this summer: broad buckler-fern, Dryopteris dilatata.Continue reading
In the summer, County Recorder Richard Aisbitt identified meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) in our fields, a tall grass with a furry flower head that looks like a fox’s brush: hence its name.Continue reading
Why do the leaves change colour?
There are three kinds of pigment in a usually green leaf: carotenes which are yellow, red and pink anthocyanins, and chlorophyll, which is the green that masks the other colours until autumn.
There are Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) flowering down by the Lambrok tributary stream. They have been there for three or four years now and are spreading along the bank.Read on: