Sunday 11 April 2021

Wildflowers at Hetchell Wood - Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Earlier in the week, we took advantage of a sunny day, albeit not that warm, to take a walk in Hetchell Wood, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site a few miles away from where we live. We visited briefly a few weeks ago and it was really muddy but after a week of dry weather all the paths were clear and passable. 

Theres areas of old quarrying now with impressive beech trees growing, some of which are growing on the edge of the workings with roots descending down the cliff face. 

At this time of year though, there's carpets of Spring flowers all over the wood. I must say at this point that under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without landowner's permission and indeed on many nature reserves and SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) there are byelaws prohibiting picking of leaves or any other items from wild plants. Leave the flowers in nature where they are meant to be! Many cultivated wildflower varieties can be bought for gardens from nurseries and garden centres so there is no need to uproot them from the wild. 

These are Wood Anemones (Anemone nemerosa), found all over the wood and also in other woods and copses in the area. These are related to Buttercups (Ranunculus acris), also flowering on roadsides at the moment. Like most woodland flowers they are tolerant of the dappled shade found in amongst the trees. Lesser Celadines (Ficaria verna - they look like big buttercups) are also to be found on roadsides at the edge of woodland in the area. 

Along one of the lesser used paths there was this solitary Primrose (Primula vulgaris), the only one we saw in the wood. 

The banks of streams through woodland are often good places to see wildflowers, often these are carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic. The bluebells around us are only just coming into flower and although the aroma of wild garlic is on the wind, the flowers have yet to appear. 

However, these Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) were along one bank of the stream in the valley and formed quite a carpet in one area. 

Although the video I have of them was a bit blurred, this still photograph is of one of the Clarke's Mining Bees (Andrena clarkella) that came back to their home under a tree root. Using its front legs, it excavated a tunnel and disappeared completely! They do need to hide as their tunnels can be invaded by cuckoo bees which lay their eggs in the same nest and the offspring parasitise the mining bee's own brood. 

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