|Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) GP|
Emerging from the wood we followed a sand and gravel track over the heath towards a footbridge on the Beaulieu River. A series of parallel ridges in the heath suggest possible earlier ploughing activity - several areas of the forest were ploughed for food production during the Second World War. We found several large fragments of metal shrapnel amongst the furrows, evidence of extensive wartime training activities in this area during both world wars (1).
|Small White RS|
|Grayling Camouflage CR|
|Fox Moth Caterpillar MF|
A Fox Moth caterpillar was found on the heath. There were also patches of a tiny red-capped lichen, Cladonia floerkeana.
Approaching the tree line beside the Beaulieu River, we paused to watch Spotted Flycatchers darting out from the trees to capture insects. We moved along the bank of the river, visiting areas that have been heavily poached by cattle. On the river bank, Water Forgetmenot, Water Mint, Water-pepper and Lesser Water-plantain were all seen and a Raven flew overhead.
|Green Woodpecker dropping RS|
|Wolf Bee Philanthus triangulum CR|
Walking back towards Matley, we enjoyed the view from the top of one of three ancient barrows (3). The eroded sandy path back to the woods has left a bank suited to the Bee Wolf which have have excavated several tunnels with characteristic “D” shaped entrances. A few were found on the path and in the cooler temperature were relatively docile and could be examined closely.
Returning to the northern edge of the wood we skirted around the wooded perimeter and then back to the car park, noting some fungi and some green stained wood, evidence of Green Elf-cup, Chloriciboria aeruginascens, on the way.
|Green Elf-cup Chloricioria aeruginascens GP|
1/ THE NEW FOREST An Ecological History - 1968; Colin R. Tubbs
2/ White Moor - its military history : http://www.newforestexplorersguide.co.uk/heritage/lyndhurst/white-moor-military-connections.html#bombing-school
3/ Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1009880
An interesting drone survey of the area along with more information can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/csoqTK1E3kM
Photographs: © M. Fidkin, G Payne, D Potter, C Robinson, R. Smith
©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21