Attendees: Ken Balklow, John Scott, Stephen Dixon, Sue Glasscock, Les Coe & John Brown
Seven of us gathered for the walk round Whitwell Wood; we couldn’t have wished for better weather and as it turned out it was clearly peak flowering time for the bluebells, early purple orchids and wood anemones. The season, as many people have noticed, is very late this year so that ransoms and yellow archangel were only just starting to flower, this did however mean that early wood violet and toothwort were still at their best and flowers could even still be found on the spurge laurel. Altogether it was a very colourful and enjoyable day.
|Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria)|
It would take too long to mention all the species seen, but I was delighted to be able to add a new one to my own list for the wood, Hairy Wood-rush Luzula pilosa) which Ken Balkow spotted. This is an insignificant plant with a fairly short flowering season and indicates that in the past I haven’t spent as much time as I should have done on my hands and knees!
While our exploring was confined entirely in Derbyshire we did catch sight of South Yorkshire a few yards away across the Bondhay Dyke, the stream at the north end of the wood, so it could be said that we didn’t entirely desert the county for the day.
Below is my take of the days events from my notes. (Les Coe)
Whitwell Wood is semi natural ancient woodland on the limestone belt. However, a lot was clear felled in the 1930's and replanted with both conifers and broad leaved trees. On the northern side of the wood, there is a freshwater spring known as the Ginny Spring which is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
This was my introduction to the SYBG, and being a botanical novice I greatly appreciated the advice and guidance provided by Graeme Coles, John Scott, Ken Balklow and Steven Dixon.
|Graeme Coles & John Scott|
|Sue Glasscock, Ken Balkow, Graeme Coles, John Brown|
Just off the main forest track, we were led to a small group of Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), but only last year's stems were on display, which was a first for me. A return visit later in the year produced the photo below.
|Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis)|
Proceeding to the small pond we noted Broad Buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata), Golden-scaled Male-fern (D. affinis), a Cowslip/Primula hybrid, Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) on the way, and there found Wood False-brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), and Sweet Violet (Viola ordorata).
Returning to the main track, we noted Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Hairy Brome (Bromus ramosus), and then some non-flowering Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), which still had last years white seeds attached.
|Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale)|
At the Ginny Spring we found Broad-leaved Cottongrass (Eriophorum latifolium)), Marsh Valarian (Valeriana dioica), Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa), Black Bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) and White Beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba).
|Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa)|
A most enjoyable day in such knowledgeable company.