Thursday, 1 May 2014

A walk in the woods

We went for a walk in Helmeth Wood on Wednesday evening. The woodland sits between Caer Caradoc and Hazler Hill, on the eastern edge of Church Stretton. It is known locally as the place to go to see Bluebells. And with a soundtrack of singing Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers in the background, we were treated to a fabulous carpet  of spring flowers throughout the wood.

Bluebells (Hyacynthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells (Hyacynthoides non-scripta)

There were plenty of other classic spring woodland flowers in evidence, including Wood Anemone and Greater Stitchwort.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea)

Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) and spider

In the boggy areas, Marsh Marigold and Cuckoo Flower were much in evidence. The former playing host to some unknown type of insect.

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

There were also a couple of flowers that were perhaps not quite what they seemed. We found some Yellow Archangel, but on closer inspection the white blotches on the leaves indicated that this was the variagated form - a garden escape which spreads rapidly once in the wild.

Variagated Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. argentatum)

This pretty pink flower found commonly in the wood is Pink Purslane, a naturalised garden escape. This was first noted in the wild nearly two hundred years ago.

Pink Purslane (Claytonia sibirica)

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