Walk Report : Beachern Wood - 13 May 2021


After a short walk along the edge of Ober Heath, we picked up the gravel path leading into the wooded strip lining Ober Water where we watched two Robins possibly preparing for the annual spring rites.

We then crossed the Water and passed through the narrow wood out onto the vastness of Fletchers Green where the fresh green leaves, lit by the sun, on the distant trees stood out against a band of black cloud.
A Song Thrush and Skylark provided a backdrop to the rattle of Stonechats two of which conveniently posed on nearby Hawthorns.  

Petty Whin

Then Richard spotted on the grass track some yellow Petty Whin, found mainly in Scotland, Wales and surprise, the New Forest.  
Once spotted, it suddenly appeared seemingly everywhere along the way. 
Further on, a Woodlark happily perched on some nearby heather.

On entering Fletchers Thorn, we found an area of hawthorn,thorny scrub,some very dense, a few scattered birch and oak and a small stream, a sort of Wilding area before Wilding had been invented.

There we saw a Little Egret, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Longtail Tit, heard the calls of a Blackbird,Chaffinch, Wren, a distant cuckoo and a far off Raven.  Frustratingly we were not au fait with the other calls we could hear.
At the base of a piece of scrub we spotted some Dog Violet.

Red Poplar Leaf Beetle
Leaving the scrub and walking along the middle of Poundhill Heath, we passed a ladder up to a platform in an isolated Pine (possibly for spotting deer?), Richard spotted a large ladybird like beetle with no spots that he subsequently identified as a Red Poplar Leaf Beetle.
By a stand of decaying birch trees, we disturbed a pair of birds in the nearby heather.  Despite them both perching for a brief period before dropping down again, there was nothing distinctive that we were able to see to enable instant recognition.  We are not at all convinced, but like to think that they may have been Meadow Pipits.  Another uncertainty was that we may have also seen a pair of Ravens in the distance or were they Crows.
However, after joining up with the wooded Highland Water, we were pleased to positively see a Mistle Thrush and a Wren down by the water.

Crossing Bolderford Bridge, we went to look at two mysterious solidly built brick structures nearby on the left, one with a very solid elongated iron dome inside.
Richard recalled reading about something like this in the past and poked a round.  It turns out that the structures are the remains of an 1855 hydraulic ram that pumped water for New park Farm. 
Hydraulic Ram Pump

From what I later could work out, it is a type of pump that has just two moving parts and powered itself.  
Water was fed from the river which alternately operated one of two valves, the dome being the required pressure vessel.  The pressure vessel did the pumping,  Clever Victorians.
So, intrigued at the time, we returned to the car park, deviating to see if Ober Water was shallow enough to ford, it wasn't, but we did see a large yellow triple mushroom shaped fungus on a birch, as yet unidentified.  The plan B route back was via the campsite entrance and along Ober Water and retracing our steps.


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