Winter cress

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.

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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.

Hart’s tongue fern

Another of the species found in the reserve by BSBI County Recorder Richard Aisbitt during his visit to the reserve last summer: hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium).

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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.

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Tree felling

by Ian Bushell

Our Tree Officer, Rich Murphy, has been running chainsaw monitoring sessions with Clive, Phil and myself to check our competence to fell trees in the reserve. The reserve belongs to the county and they are the people who pay to insure us.

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Christmas tree

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.

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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.

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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

Broad buckler-fern

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.

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Meadow foxtail

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.

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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.

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