Tuesday 2 June 2020

Lockdown Day 71 - Bishop Wood - The inside story - Part 1

At the weekend we cycled on the main road through Bishop Wood as I mentioned here and I said that we would choose a quiet time this week to go for a walk though the forest. Today we drove there (this is the first time since before lockdown I have driven anywhere other than to sort out shopping for us and my parents, I have only used half a tank of diesel since mid March!) and went for a walk in the forest.

The first interesting plants we can across were Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) in some marshy areas of the wood. 

This plant is thought by some to be the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis symbol on heraldry and coins. They can grow up to 150cm although these ones were around one metre tall. 

A few minutes of walking brought us to some orchids. These were Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) , not quite fully grown I think. Many orchids prefer marsh and heathland and I've seen these orchids in grassland with burnet moths feeding on them. 

Orchids are quite rare although when they do appear there are often quite a lot of them in one place. The sand dunes around Bamburgh Castle are a good place to see lots of Pyramidal Orchids for instance. 

Finally for this post is a Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) just coming into flower. This plant is poisonous if consumed directly (so please don't!) but they contain digitalis which when correctly extracted and formulated can be used for treatment of heart failure and high blood pressure. 

In my next post I will present some views of the woodland and of a couple of insects we saw whilst walking around. 

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