Walk report: 20 December Vereley

Yellow Brain
© Duncan Wright
A fine sunny winter’s day.  Ten of us set out from Vereley car park to explore Ridley Wood, a lovely wood with some very old trees.  We noted where the Holly had been pollarded to provide browse for the ponies and to let light on to the trunks of the Beech trees for the lichens.  Many rare species grow here but they are in danger of becoming shaded out by the holly.  The old timber provides a good habitat for fungi.  Among those we identified were Turkeytail, Candle Snuff, Beech Jelly Disc, Oyster Mushroom, Yellow Brain, Glistening Inkcap, and Southern Bracket Fungus.  A flock of Chaffinches flitted through the wood, including a couple of Bramblings, enjoying the beech mast. Other birds we saw included Treecreeper, Nuthatch and a pair of Buzzards.

Examining a Beech Tree
© Richard Coomber
One particular Beech tree caught our eye, a massive tree that must have been pollarded over 400 years ago, covered in a white lichen which shone in the sunlight. No digestives today, but seasonal mince pies instead! As we returned over the source of the Mill Lawn Brook which flows through Burley and Brockenhurst before joining the Lymington river Richard S spotted a small flock of Fieldfares that paused briefly in the top of a Silver Birch before flying onwards. AM