A circular walk of more than 2 kilometres incorporating 3.8 hectares of newly created (Winter 2001) native broad-leaved woodland. As well as 10 native tree species, 9 types of shrub are included in the planting scheme. The walk begins in the farmyard which dates back to 1786; most of the farm buildings are now used as a Children’s Nursery which opened in February 1997. The path passes a small pond created in 1998 and goes alongside a shelterbelt planted in mid 1970’s and contains a mix of broadleaf and conifers. Conifer trees attract birds such as the Gold Crest, one of Europe’s smallest birds.
You then pass alongside ED’WOOD, which is the smallest of the newly planted areas. Notice the guards around the individual trees; these were to protect them from damage by rabbits and hares. The path then travels into and through the mature native broad-leaved woodland. Woods such as this support a variety of bird species as diverse as Chaffinch, Bluetit, Tawny Owl and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Next is SHARWOOD containing a mix of native trees including Common Alder, Common Oak, Common Ash and Field Maple. An area has been incorporated as open ground and contains native grasses such as Yorkshire Fog and Cocksfoot. There are springs in this area and plants such as Marsh Thistle, Ragged Robin, Meadowsweet and Cuckoo Flower thrive here. The caterpillars of the Orange Tip Butterfly feed on the Cuckoo Flower. In times gone by the flowers of Meadowsweet were used for flavouring mead. The path leads you in to a bridge over a ditch. Notice common reed growing which supports a wide range of wild life and in some areas is still used for thatching.
You now enter ISSAWOOD, the largest of the newly planted areas. Again the planting contains a mix of different species, with Common Alder and Willows (crack, white) growing in the wetter parts. The open ground retains grassy glades. These are likely to support small mammals such as voles and shrews and are also important for wild flowers and insects such as the Meadow Brown Butterfly. Two spring fed ponds were created in October 2001 you will see that they have been linked by a small channel. As well as being a focal point for wildlife e.g. Mallard and Snipe, plant species such as Yellow Flag Iris and Marsh Marigold can be seen here. This will further encourage insects such as Dragonflies to visit the site. As you now head back towards the farm notice Kilnwick New Cut on your right. This chalk stream supports a range of fish e.g. Trout and Roach. Adjoining the stream is a mature Hawthorne hedgerow. The Turtledove, which is a summer visitor from Africa, builds its nest in this type of hedge. Tall-uncut hedges also provide a mass of berries in winter for a range of wildlife including Fieldfares and Redwings, Birds that visit Britain each winter.
Acknowledgements: Trevor Ball