This week's walk: 04 August 2022 Oakley with Pam Poole

 This week's General Interest walk is led by Pam Poole setting off from the Oakley car park at 10:00

Grid ref:              SU225046

What3words:      crafted,punctuate.former

Walk report: 21 July 2022 Culverley with Robert and Glynis Payne

Horsefly habitat © Richard Smith

We convened in Culverley car park, near Beaulieu, on a cooler day compared to recent extremes.

Setting off down a bank we paused a while on a little bridge over a quiet stream, admiring the flashes of fluttering colour from the Holly Blue, Gatekeeper and Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies.

Holly Blue © Sue Skarstein
A path through the trees revealed glimpses of Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch Song Thrush and a immature Blackcap with the calling of distant Stock Dove heard. We also identified Common Cow-wheat, Wood Sorrel and Purple Loosestrife.

Blackcap - immature © Chris Robinson

Passing through open areas we saw Mistle Thrush and, circumventing cattle sheltering in an oasis of shade, made our way into Tantany Wood, finding Redstart, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren and several sightings again of Spotted Flycatchers.

Woodland Grasshopper © Andy Skarstein
Speckled Wood butterfly greeted us with their spiralling dances as we picked our way among the old Oaks, Beeches and many fallen trees, breaking out finally into more open areas of Bracken, heather and cottongrass of Halfpenny Green.

Silver-studded Blue - female © Chris Robinson

We found Dwarf Gorse and Coral Necklace and Round-leaved Sundew where once it would have been wetter, a couple of Common and Silver-studded Blue butterflies and a Dark Giant Horsefly.

Dwarf Gorse with Ling © Chris Robinson
Coral Necklace © Richard Smith
Dark Giant Horsefly © Andy Skarstein
On nearing the car park we came across the charred remains of a fire which, thankfully, had not caused the catastrophic destruction of all the beauty that we had just walked through. R&GP

 

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.


75th Anniversary tea party 23 June 2022

With the relaxation of Covid rules we were a year late celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the founding of Lymington & District Naturalists' Society with an afternoon tea at South Lawn Hotel, Milford-on-Sea.  

After a welcome introduction from Robert Payne, our Chairman, we were treated to a superb digital photographic presentation by Steve Laycock, which in turn was followed by an excellent tea!

Robert welcomes members and guests © Tina Vaughan

and Steve begins his presentation © Tina Vaughan

Somewhat better than the biscuits on our Thursday morning walks © Tina Vaughan

Afterwards a group photograph taking by Steve and subsequently published in the Lymington Times.

and finally, the group photo © Steve Laycock

Thanks to Glynis Payne and Sue Skarstein for their organisation, to Steve for his presentation and to South Lawn for an excellent tea. Over the last 75 years our members have made LymNats a special society and without them this celebration would never have occurred!



This week's walk: 21 July 2022 Culverley with Robert and Glynis Payne

This week's walk is a General Interest walk at Culverley with Robert and Glynis

Grid ref:            SU 367 046 

What3Words    mixed.pushy.pays

Given the current weather conditions remember to take drinking water as well as sun lotion and hats if appropriate

Walk report: 07 July 2022 Isle of Wight led by Richard Smith

 On a cool, overcast morning, ten of us gathered for the morning sailing from Lymington to Yarmouth. As we departed, we spotted large numbers of Canada Geese on the Lymington marshes, with a single Barnacle Goose amongst them. Shelduck, and most gull species were seen at the low tide mark along with Common and Little Tern flying past as we crossed the Solent. 

Cinnabar caterpillars on Common Ragwort © Chris Robinson

Near Yarmouth, we watched a pair of Rooks digging for grubs on the verge by the terminal. As we approached the railway track the botanists amongst us identified Bristly Ox-tongue, Common Orache, Prickly Lettuce, Marsh and Common Mallow, Fennel, Common Sea-lavender as well as Creeping, Marsh and Spear Thistles. Cinnabar moth caterpillars were feeding on a Common Ragwort plant, but not on the any others we passed on the walk. We paused to look over the reed bed next to Mill Copse and heard a Reed Warbler as a Swift flew overhead. Alongside the railway track Brambles were in flower but only a few Gatekeeper were about in the cooler part of the day.

Mating Gatekeepers © Chris Robinson

 Further along towards the Causeway we had good views of a Marsh Harrier, a few Curlew, Grey Heron, Mediterranean Gull and Redshank fed at the edge of the estuary. Wren and Chiffchaff were heard amongst the scrub and a Skylark flew overhead. Beside the track, Meadwsweet, Wild Madder, Hemp Agrimony, Wild Carrot and Red Currant were seen. At the causeway bridge crossing the Yar, Mute Swan, numerous Coot and a single Greylag Goose had gathered.

Greylag Goose © Chris Robinson

Redshank and Curlew © Richard Smith

We elected for an early lunch stop at the End of the Line Cafe, sat outside in the sun, and as the day warmed, saw more butterfly amongst the grasses and wild flowers around the perimeter; Meadow Brown, Marbled White, and Small Skipper all appeared. 

Small Skipper © Chris Robinson

Marbled White © Chris Robinson

After lunch, a brief foray around the Afton Marsh Reserve gave views of a Jay, and Moorhen and Mallard ducklings paddled in the stream running around the reserve.

Jay © Chris Robinson

Returning through the churchyard at Freshwater and across the fields beyond Kings Manor Farm, the sun came out and as the day got even hotter, large numbers of butterfly were seen with Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Common Blue and Peacock all added to our list. Passing through Saltern Wood, an active and noisy colony of wild Honey Bees were seen in a tree close beside the path and observed from a respectful distance.

Wild Honey Bees © Chris Robinson

A brisk final walk across the swing bridge allowed us to catch the planned afternoon sailing and it was good to end a warm day sitting in the sea breeze to cool off as we sailed back home after a total walk distance of about 5.5 miles. RS

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.

UPDATED walk notice: 07 July 2022 Isle of Wight led by Richard Smith

Pre-reading for members joining the Isle of Wight field meeting

This longer circular walk covers a maximum of 12km of mostly level ground with some single track that can be muddy in parts. A brief visit to Afton Marsh reserve is planned and if time and energy permits, a visit to Freshwater Bay is also possible. Depending on timing and numbers, we’ll stop for refreshments at the cafe in Freshwater. See details here: http://www.honnorandjeffrey.com/afton.html

FERRY:

We meet at 08:30 at the Lymington Ferry Terminal to depart on the 09:00 sailing and aim to return on the 16:05 from Yarmouth but open returns are standard for foot passengers.

Pre-booking the ferry is essential and all foot passengers should be there a minimum of 15 minutes before sailing https://www.wightlink.co.uk/

Day Return fare is £19.40 or £14.40 for Senior Citizens

PARKING:

Parking at the terminal for up to 16 hours is £9.00. Note that NFDC long stay cards do not work here. Meter payment is by Ringo or credit card only. NO cash payment option. The Ringo app does not always work here so you are strongly advised to bring a credit or debit card with you.

BRING WITH YOU:

Something for lunch

Plenty to drink

Sunscreen

Insect repellent

A credit or debit card if we stop for a tea break / ice cream in Freshwater

Face coverings are no longer required on the ferry at present but it might be wise to bring one anyway.


Our proposed route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.

Walk report: 09 June 2022 Sturt Pond and Hurst Spit with Julia Race and Andrea Janssens

We set off from the Sea Road Car Park in Milford-on-Sea at low tide; aware parts of the route to Sturt Pond are flooded at high tide.  Passing through the metal gate in the far corner of the car park we saw one of the wall rocket species and Dove’s-foot Cranesbill in bloom.

The path took us past banks of Brambles, Common Stinging Nettles and large stands of Hemlock Water Dropwort. By the first wooden bridge we heard a Cetti’s Warbler.

Moving on past thick hedgerow we saw Common Mallow, Hogweed, Salsify (spectacular seed heads and mauve flowers), white Foxgloves, Spear Thistle, Bittersweet (Woody Nightshade), white flowered Common Comfrey and a young Robin in a birch tree.

Salsify with Swollen-thighed Beetle © Chris Robinson

Syrphus vitripennis - a hoverfly © Chris Robinson

After a section on pavement, the path headed towards the reed beds. Hedge Woundwort with dark pink flowers, Honeysuckle, a fumitory, and White Campion filled the hedgerow and a Reed Bunting was heard.

Just past a small bridge the view opened up and we studied a beautiful metallic-green Swollen-thighed Flower Beetle on patch of Ox-eye Daisies in the sun. Other plants identified here included Pink Oxalis (garden escapee), Smooth Sow-thistle, Common Mallow, Purple Toadflax and Scots Pine with numerous cones.

Swollen-thighed Beetle on Ox-eye Daisy © Glynis Payne

Bittersweet © Richard Smith

As we approached Sturt Pond we saw Yellow Iris, Silverweed and Charlock in flower.  A vole scurried across the path.

Sturt Pond from Hurst Spit © Glynis Payne

Along the edge of Sturt Pond we saw these plants: English Scurvygrass, Sea Beet, Sea Mayweed, Sea Milkwort, Sea Aster, Lesser Sea-spurrey and Sea Purslane and a variety of birds: Shelduck, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, two Cormorants in flight, Gadwall, Little Egret, and Oystercatcher. On reaching the Hurst Spit end we saw Thrift, Field Bindweed (small pink flowers), Sea Plantain, Buck’s-horn Plantain and Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil.

Sea Milkwort © Chris Robinson

Sea Campion © Julia Race
We walked over the bridge turned left and took a well-used path on the right up onto Hurst Spit. Turning left we saw Marram Grass, Rock Samphire and Yellow Horned-poppy, both on the shingle slopes and in the shelter of rocks. The slopes were covered with more Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Sea Campion and Sea Kale in flower. We took the first main path left down to the base of Hurst Spit and saw Common Tern in flight. Heading back towards Sturt Pond we saw large mats of Sea Campion, with Common Orache, Frosted Orache, Wild Carrot and Coltsfoot on the shingle bank.  By the square blocks of granite next to bridge (our coffee stop) we found more Bittersweet, and another patch of Lesser Sea-spurrey.

Lesser Sea Spurrey © Julia Race

To finish the walk we retraced our steps alongside Sturt Pond and back to the car park.

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.

 




Advanced walk notice: 07 July 2022 Isle of Wight

This circular walk covers a maximum of 12km of mostly level ground with some single track that can be muddy in parts. A brief visit to Afton Marsh reserve is planned and if time and energy permits, a visit to Freshwater Bay is also possible. Depending on timing and numbers, we’ll stop for refreshments at the cafe in Freshwater http://www.honnorandjeffrey.com/afton.html

Ferry
We depart Lymington on the 09:00 sailing and aim to return on the 16:05 from Yarmouth but open returns are standard for foot passengers. 
Pre-booking the ferry is essential and all foot passengers should be there 15 minutes before sailing https://www.wightlink.co.uk/
Day Return fare is £27.60 or £20.20 for Senior Citizens

Parking
Parking at the terminal for up to 16 hours is £9.00. Note that NFDC long stay cards do not work here. Meter payment is by Ringo or credit card only. NO cash payment option. The Ringo app does not always work here so you are strongly advised to bring a credit or debit card with you.

Bring with you
Something for lunch
Plenty to drink
Sunscreen
Insect repellent
A credit or debit card if we stop for a tea break / ice cream in Freshwater
Face coverings are no longer required on the ferry at present but it might be wise to bring one anyway
 
Our proposed route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.

 
 
IMG_AF6E4D91FC8E-1.jpeg

Our next walk: 09 June 2022 Sturt Pond and Hurst Spit with Julia Race and Andrea Janssens

Sturt Pond and Hurst Spit: meeting at Milford-on-Sea Village car Park by the community centre in Sea Road (Pay and display or parking clock) and setting off at 10:00 a.m.

 Julia and Anrea have asked us to point out that it could be windy on the coast, so a wind-proof jacket might be appropriate. As the walk will also involve a short section of shingle on the spit looking for some special plants stout footwear is recommended. If people don’t want to walk on shingle, then there is somewhere they could sit down and look for birds on Sturt Pond.

 Grid ref:: SZ 291 917

What3Words: butchers.minute.doing

Walk report: 28 May 2022 Beachern Wood by John Enfield and Richard Smith

After a short walk to the improved path leading to Aldridge Hill Inclosure, the group came to a sudden halt, for to the right of the path a ditch and area of moist ground hosted many flower species. Fortunately the walk had some members with impressive plant knowledge and others equipped with fieldguides. As a result we all benefited from their knowledge and appreciated what we were looking at. Lacking necessary lenses for close examination meant that identification could not be guaranteed for every species.

Fallow Deer © Chris Robinson

A long time was spent looking at and hearing about Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Milkwort, Water Forgetmenot, Cuckooflower, Lousewort, Lesser Spearwort, Creeping Willow, Marsh St John's Wort, Meadow Thistle, Tormentil, Heath Speedwell, Common Cotton-grass and a species of eyebright, the latter being one of several very similar species. All this before even reaching the Inclosure. 

Heath Speedwell © Chris Robinson

Common Cow-wheat © Richard Smith

At the same time a family of Stonechats, a Mistle Thrush and Chaffinch were observed. After crossing the Ober Water within the Inclosure a Nuthatch was seen and a Blackcap was heard. We looked at a dead Beech tree that was playing host to some very hard and minute bracket fungus and in addition the trunk was also riddled with small holes. Could one speculate it was the work of one of the Saproxylic beetles?

Stonechat - male © Chris Robinson

On leaving the Inclosure we saw House Martins, a fast low flying Peregrine, Swallows and a distant Raven was heard and seen. With so much to look at we had taken well over an hour to reach Fletchers Thorns. As we had barely covered a third of the planned walk we decided to have our coffee stop before retracing our steps. However, armed with a map some of the group had the time to complete the intended route.

Petty Whin - flower in close-up © Andy & Sue Skarstein

Meanwhile, on our return to the car park we saw Petty Whin, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, the orange-red of a Russula fungus, a charm of Goldfinches and a Skylark descending behind some scrub. In the semi-shade of a bridge Bugle was in flower and along the way Germander Speedwell. JE

Song Thrush © Richard Smith
Postscript:

Walking on after our coffee break a smaller group of us walked across Poundhill Heath, where we heard and saw Raven and Meadow Pipit. We noted several fallen trees along the boundary line of the Inclosure and distantly, several large Silver Birch with heads blown out; presumably earlier storm-damage. Amongst the heather was more Petty Whin and in a damper area a large patch of Oblong-leaved Sundew. A Red Poplar Leaf Beetle Chrysomela populi was found amongst the heather, in almost the same location as a previous walk in May 2021.

Sundew © Andy & Sue Skarstein

Red Poplar Leaf Beetle © Andy & Sue Skarstein

Continuing down the track opposite New Park Farm, we paused to listen to the birdsong from this wooded area, recognising Blackcap, Stock Dove, Song Thrush and Blackbird. As we approached Bolderford Bridge we noticed groups of Chicken-of-the-Wood fungus growing up the trunk of a dead hardwood tree and a Goldcrest was seen briefly as it hunted for food amongst the Ivy and leaf cover.

Chicken-in-the-Wood © Richard Smith

Returning to the car park we noticed the iron dome of an old hydraulic ram pump in its brick housing, sited quite near to the bridge but often overlooked. RS 

Our route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22.
The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.

 

 

 


Walk report: Franchises Lodge RSPB with Richard Smith and Saul Alonso

 Franchises Lodge is a nature reserve covering almost 1000 acres. In 2018 it was acquired by RSPB, whose impressive long-term vision for habitat restoration of the woodland, and development of open heath is already evident. An important objective is the development of a “bridge” between Langley Wood to the north and the wider New Forest to the south. (1 on the map)

Saul Alonso giving us an introduction to the reserve
© Tina Vaughan

On a bright sunny morning, a group of us gathered to meet Saul Alonso, the RSPB Warden in sole charge of the reserve. Saul provided us with a background to the estate and the geography of the surrounding land before heading off down the bridleway and onwards into the private reserved area. Walking through the mixed broadleaf woodland we heard numerous birds including Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Wren, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Firecrest, Siskin and Blackcap, though we often had only fleeting glimpses of bird life through the growing canopy of leaves.

Nest boxes at Cameron's Cottage 
© Tina Vaughan

We paused at Cameron’s Cottage; a formerly derelict building that has been completely refurbished by the Cameron Bespolka Trust in partnership with the RSPB (2). Much of the restoration has taken the cottage completely “off grid” using solar powered heating and electricity as much as possible. Bat, Swift and House Martin boxes have been installed during building. A hibernaculum for reptiles and a very well appointed bug hotel (formerly an outside lavatory) have been built in the surrounding grounds. A Grey Wagtail flew in carrying food and obligingly perched in a nearby tree for the photographers.

Grey Wagtail with food near Cameron's Cottage
© Chris Robinson

Following down the footpath we came to an area of Scots Pine where the sheer scale of Rhododendron clearance and the challenge ahead were evident. This non-native, invasive species has engulfed large swathes of the woodland, much to the detriment of the habitat. This is being systematically removed and burned on site with a long-term plan for eventual eradication which is expected to take many years to complete. Radical management and culling of deer, predominantly Fallow doe has already been undertaken. An initial survey suggested as many as 2000 deer were entering and grazing the reserve preventing any woodland regeneration. 

Small-flowered Wintercress
© Richard Smith

Herb Robert
© Chris Robinson

Further on, we stopped for our coffee break at what had been dump where fly-tipping had been a major problem in the past. Much of this has been cleared and the remaining rubble, and mounds of earth are already colonised with Buddleia and wildflowers plus some probably garden escapes. A long-term plan is to develop this are for reptiles and for a butterfly bank. Goldfinches were seen feeding amongst the nettles and waste ground. The botanist in the group identified numerous wild plants including Small-flowered Wintercress, Dove’s-foot Cranesbill, Herb Robert, Verbascum sp, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Spear Mint, Lemon Balm and Hedge Garlic.

Germander Speedwell
© Tina Vaughan

Yellow Pimpernel
© Chris Robinson

Walking along the path beside the pylons that thread across the lower part of the reserve, we saw more Greenfinches and a Common Buzzard circled overhead, Along the path, we identified Tansy, Germander and Wood Speedwells, Lesser Trefoil, Marsh Thistle, Silverweed, Yellow Pimpernel, Greater Stitchwort and Wood Spurge.

Speckled Yellow (moth)
© Richard Smith

Carder Bee © Tina Vaughan

We returned to the cars up a steep climb, passing behind Cameron’s Cottage where we saw more Blue and Coal Tits and a Dunnock. An enjoyable and inspiring visit to this site which is already providing access and education for young people and has an ambitious and exciting future development plan.

References

1/ ‘Secret forest’ becomes one of the RSPB’s most significant purchases : https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/franchises-lodge/

2/ Cameron's Cottage In partnership with the RSPB in the New Forest : https://www.cameronbespolka.com/cameron-s-cottage

 

Franchises Lodge route
© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 005/22. The licence is valid until 31 December 2022.