Walk report: 31 March 2022 Puttles Bridge with Julia Race and Andrea Janssens

We started from Puttles Bridge car park on a bright but cold, windy morning and took the track heading NE near the entrance, walking with a fenced off area on our right. A Mistle Thrush and a Goldcrest were spotted in the fenced off area, and a Nuthatch was heard. Honeysuckle was coming into leaf; we saw lichen on low branches, including Netted shield lichen Parmelia sulcata and Dotted Bush Lichen Ramalina farinacea, and an impressive Bank Haircap Moss Polytrichum formosum.

Parmelia sulcata © Glynis Payne

We turned left onto a track, past Silver Birch logs with bracket fungi and a white slime mould; a Treecreeper, Robin and Wren were seen.

We crossed the road, bearing slightly left onto a track at the edge of Clumber Enclosure. For many of us the highlight of the walk was watching a Firecrest at close quarters hopping around in brambles, the Firecrest continued to feed happily giving everyone a prolonged viewing. A mouse popped its head out of a hole, and we saw Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Stonechat and a Buzzard. On the bank edging the wood we saw groups of Hard Fern, and a Red (also known as Southern) Wood Ants’ nest.

Firecrest © Andy Skarstein

Turning left we crossed the foot bridge over the Ober Water within a wooded copse, where minnows and pond skaters were seen. Numerous Bog Myrtle catkins were seen, and a bright orange Bog Beacon fungus.

We walked uphill towards Holm Hill and encountered a multi-stemmed Holly inter-grown with a Hawthorn and Dog Rose. Greenfinches and a Dartford Warbler were seen, and Creeping Willow catkins were beside the path.

Forking left we entered a wooded area, seeing Early Dog-violets and Birch Polypore bracket fungi. Many Holly bushes were tightly grazed and looked like topiary! A Holly trunk was heavily scratched by ponies, and Chaffinch, Dunnock and Jay were seen. Some logs on the exit of the copse were the best available coffee stop, although it was getting quite windy by this time so we didn’t stop for long.

Leaving the copse we turned left onto the main track through a wet area around Silver Stream with Bog Myrtle and willow catkins, braving a brief spell of hail! Heading uphill, at the edge of the track several areas of low growing Dwarf Gorse were found.

Bog Myrtle © Julia Race

Bearing left, heading north through open heath we saw Stonechat and a Skylark in flight. Close to the road we diverted left into a patch of conifers to dryer ground and were rewarded by seeing a Sparrowhawk.

After crossing the road we turned left across a foot bridge over Ober Water. In a pool we saw Round-leaved Water-crowfoot with white flowers. Approaching the car park we saw Blue Tit, Great Tit and a low flying Mallard duck and heard a Wren. JR/AJ

Round-leaved Water-crowfoot © Glynis Payne

Our route:

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