Whitecliff and Clarkson’s Woods

Added on 24th May 2017 by Malcolm Cowdry


This was the last of these wonderful woodland walks which began during summer 2016.

I have seen the pendulous sedge in each of its transformations. From the delicate hairy brush like flower to the mature seed. I think I like this midway transformation, as the seed takes form, best. [The elongated seeds in the photo may well be galls of a gall midge, Wachtliella caricis, where the larvae lives inside the developing seed causing it to grow larger than the normal seeds. There seems to be only a couple of records of this in the national biodiversity network database so I’m not sure if it’s rare or just not really looked for by anyone. Update – it seems that the larvae grow in other sedges too, but I still can’t find a comprehensive UK distribution map.]

All three of the woods are well populated with wood anemone but here it has just about finished. It leaves little spiky seed heads preparing for the next generation.

A new plant in my experience is the spurge laurel. This member of the daphne family is well past its flowering stage and is displaying its unripened berries. I shall look out for it much earlier next year. I am curious to know if the flowers smell as sweet and captivating as some of its relatives.

Possibly my favourite plant has been the humble sanicle. I have enjoyed watching it unravel from its tight little heads to produce the most beautiful and delicate flower with fine tentacles. I have noticed how spiders like to weave their webs across its outstretched arms converting it into a handy fly catching net.