Aerial survey of old oaks

Rich from Wiltshire Council's Countryside Team, along with the help of Rick and Sam from Wessex Rural Crafts, Ecology and Arboriculture, a Warminster-based tree surgery company, undertook aerial surveys of a number of the country park's old oaks in search of signs or evidence of bats. Using endoscopes and tree climbing kit, Rick, Wessex Rural... Continue Reading →

Blue Tits Delay Nesting

For the last two years, a pair of blue tits has nested in a hole in an oak tree in one of the  copses at the southern end of the park. There, they successfully raised broods of chicks under the watchful eye of DKG's camera. Oak trees are a favourite haunt of nesting blue tits.... Continue Reading →

Ring barking

Ring barking or girdling can kill a tree. It happens when the tree's bark is removed right the way round its trunk. Accidental girdling may be the result of a carelessly used strimmer, or over-tight wires and ties; it might be mammals gnawing on the bark or, in the case of deer, rubbing their antlers... Continue Reading →

Vandalism fatally damages SCP trees

The vandals are back. Last night we got this message from DKG: "Just returned from a walk around the park with Chris S. Unfortunately the vandals are back. Four trees have been ring barked in the copse in Village Green, the same area where we had trouble last year. If it was children they knew... Continue Reading →

Blackthorn

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is the earliest of our native flowering trees.  In late February it is very distinctive: masses of creamy white blossom on bare black branches. Now, in April, the small nondescript leaves are opening and the plant becomes just one of the many spiny and spiked elements in our hedgerows. In the autumn,... Continue Reading →

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

We were given three English oak tree saplings for the park. The saplings, perhaps ten years old, were grown from the acorns of ancient Wiltshire oaks: the Cathedral Oak, Cromwell’s Oak and, we were told, the Sherston Oak. The Cathedral Oak, a magnificent tree, huge and contorted, 10 metres round and believed to be more... Continue Reading →

Pollarding Willows

Recently you may have seen that the overhanging willows on either side of the path leading from the pond to Lambrok Meadow have been either removed or pollarded, opening up the whole area. Pollarding is an old technique in which the upper branches of a tree are pruned away during winter to promote a dense... Continue Reading →

Hazel Catkins

The hazel bushes in the park are flowering early this year. The catkins are already yellow with pollen; a sunny detail on a wet day. Each catkin is made up of many male flowers. In bud, in November and December, they are small and grey but they flower bright yellow in January and February. The... Continue Reading →

European Hornets

There were European Hornets  (Vespa crabro) hunting in the Lone Oak in October. They are still quite rare in this country, but changing temperatures have extended their range as far north as Nottingham. They are carnivores and prey upon other flying insects; some species of midge hatch in late autumn in oak trees and perhaps... Continue Reading →

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