Friday, 29 July 2011

Wood Wasps and fungi

We are currently creating another viewpoint on the Edge to give visitors wonderful vistas of the Shropshire countryside, we are also thinning the trees out to allow the better trees to have more room, light and nutrients. A lot of Lime trees are growing in this area which, whilst they are not rare trees are less common than Ash, on Wenlock Edge at least, it will be great to see them thrive now they aren't crowded by low quality trees. The photo below shows how the view looked at the start of the work, i will post another photo when it is finished.

We are removing most of the non-native conifers from this area, these are ideal for turning into fence posts, as we were cutting the lengths of timber into fence posts today there were a few Giant Wood Wasps about, probably attracted to the smell of cut timber. The females lay eggs in the timber using a large ovipositor on their rear end, i don't believe that they sting people!



I also saw this fungus, its called Dryads Saddle and it often grows on Ash or Elm stems, they are visible between June and September so look out for them around the woods.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Orchids of the Edge

There has been a good display of Orchids on Wenlock Edge as usual this year, species that can be found include, Pyramidal, Common Spotted, Greater Butterfly and Bee Orchids. These species can be seen along the woodland edge and in our species rich Limestone Grassland. Good places to go looking are, the path that runs along the top of Lea Quarry and the car park on the outskirts of Much Wenlock.
Bee Orchid
Pyramidal Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid

Some Orchids are more easily overlooked as they are a little less showy and grow in the woods these include Violet Helleborines and Twayblade Orchid which have yellowish-green flowers which look like a human, so although they don't stand out particularly well they are interesting once found.
There are plenty of other wildflowers to see at the moment including, Nettle Leaved Bellflowers, Ladies Mantle, Dyers Greenweed, Crosswort, Salad Burnet and Knapweed.

I also spotted a Robin's Pincushion recently which is a growth on rose's that i caused by a tiny Gall Wasp. The wasp lays its eggs on the stem of the rose and as the larva feed on it the rose reacts by producing a moss like ball around it. there is more information about them here.
Robins Pincussion on Dogrose

Friday, 8 July 2011

Nordic Walking coming soon

We will be staging another 'Introduction to Nordic Walking' session on Saturday the 10th of September. This is a great way of learning the basics of this fantastic low impact fitness activity in the beautiful landscape of Wenlock Edge. Whether you are looking for a new fitness activity, are wanting to get out more after an injury or break from walking or are simply wanting to find out what Nordic Walking is all about this introduction could be for you!
There will be 2 instructors on hand to guide you through the basic techniques, poles will be provided and the session will last for approximately 2 hours including a 1 hour walk along Wenlock Edge.
All this will cost just £6 per person, booking is essential as numbers are limited.
To book your place call Chris on 07948072075 or e-mail chris.dunkerley@nationaltrust.org.uk