Pink hawthorn

In the middle of the park, the hawthorn blossom is pink; not uniformly pink but definitely pink in places. It seems to be confined to the hedges at the bottom end of Sleepers Field right through to the hedge at the top of the little triangular field that doesn’t have a name. It’s very pretty.

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The Park’s Old Oaks

By Ian Bushell.

Southwick Country Park has a number of veteran oaks and one identified ancient oak, but what is a veteran or ancient oak? There are no hard and fast rules; in different environments and soils oaks grow at different rates. Here the underlying Oxford clay provides an excellent medium and the trees are large. One criterion for assessing veteran trees is those with a girth of 3.2 m are considered of potential interest, and those with a girth of 4.7 m as being valuable in terms of conservation.

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Carbon Capture

We need to take carbon out of our atmosphere and hide it where it can’t contribute, as carbon dioxide, to global warming; the process is called carbon capture and sequestration. Above is the power industry’s solution to the problem; click on the link for FoSCP’s solution:

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The Lone Oak is showing its age;  it has dead and dying branches and parts of the trunk are being hollowed out by fungus. We have decided that it should  be allowed to get on with being several hundred years old, providing habitat for a whole new spectrum of species; we are not going to interfere. Instead,  we have fenced around the tree to keep our park users safe.

The alternative would be to chop bits of it off, in order to protect the picnicking public from falling branches. This summer it became quite the thing to picnic under the Lone Oak, a tribute to its elder status.

The tree will live a long time yet; the fence will mellow, warp, acquire its own little ecology,  rot away and be replaced long before the tree is done. An ageing oak tree is a wonderful resource of nesting holes, rotting wood for beetle larvae and a hundred species of fungi, a prop for climbing plants, a garden of mosses and ferns.

With luck, the Lone Oak will stand in Cornfield for centuries to come.

.o.

Fence around the Lone Oak by DKG

Pictures by DKG

Acorns

Oak trees produce thousands of acorns every year. Somebody has worked out that an oak tree can produce ten million acorns over its lifetime. In a good year, they carpet the ground under the tree.

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Identifying fungi

This is a picture  of a bracket fungus on an oak tree in the park. The mycelium, which is the main part of the fungus, is growing invisibly inside the tree. This beautiful outgrowth is the fruiting body, part of the fungus’s reproductive system.

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