As many of us are staying safe or working on a rota system, the wooded area at Woodlands Academy continues to grow!
A mosaic of wildflowers encompasses pockets throughout the woodland, showing their true beauty and array of colours.
Within our woodland, we keep a number of areas mown but the rest we allow to remain wild and free to grow unhindered. As you walk around at the moment, you can see a mass of green of all shades, but look closely and in what people may call “weeds”, is a busy hive of activity from the smallest creepy crawlies. Look up above and there is a tree canopy swamped by birds flying around.
Most people are in their gardens, removing brambles and nettles, but not in our woodland! Nettles are great for proving areas of safety and food for butterfly eggs to hatch - the small tortoise shell and peacock butterflies love to munch away on their leaves and ladybirds can often be seen enjoying aphids that hide on the underside of the nettle leaves.
As the sun shines through the canopy of oak trees, a blackbird can be seen basking in the sunlight, whilst a robin sits on a nearby branch with a worm clasped between its beak. In the long grass, a number of cardinal beatles scuttle along, climbing up and down the blades of grass. Over the pond, a cluster of small flying insects bustle about.
We have many great ideas to take our woodland forward from a new fire/reading area, a woodland blog and the continued development of footpaths and the enhancement of wildflowers, hopefully bringing more animals, insects and birds to the area.
Article: Philip Buckle – Woodland custodian and Land-Based Studies Instructor
Photographs: Laurie Reed