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

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
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