"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bluebells at Ryton Wood

We visited Ryton Wood last weekend to see the bluebells and, as always, it was a beautiful display with a sea of blue stretching as far as the eye could see.

Ryton Wood is one of 8 large woods which together form the Princethorpe woodlands - the largest surviving area of ancient semi-natural woodland left in Warwickshire today. Ryton Wood covers 85 hectares and is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Parts of this ancient woodland date back to the eleventh century suggesting the land may have been woodland since the last Ice Age recededed. Evidence from coppiced small-leaved lime stools supports this as this was a very common species 5000 years ago but is rare nowadays. Large ditches indicate the wood's ancient medieval boundaries.

The wood comprises 40 plus species of tree and shrub with oak dominant and hazel the main understorey species.

We parked in the small Wildlife Trust car park and walked along grassy rides towards the bluebell clearing.

Bluebells and Yellow Archangel

Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort

Whilst wandering among the bluebells I heard my first cuckoo of the year.

There were many other species of wildflower in the woodland.




Greater Stitchwort

Horse Chestnut in flower

Yellow Archangel

Lesser Celandines growing alongside a stream

Barren Strawberry?

Wood Anemone

This is one of, if not, the best site for butterflies in Warwickshire. Ryton Meadows - a Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire Reserve adjoins the woodland. I would have liked to have gone to look for Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreak but we didn't have time. (Should the gentleman from Worcestershire I chatted to ever visit this blog - I do hope the map proved useful and you found the Meadows and saw Green Hairstreak!!).

There were plenty of other butterfly species in the woods - not the best of photos as I couldn't get close enough!

Green-veined White (my first of the year) on Bugle

Orange Tip on Cuckoo Flower (or Lady's Smock)

Peacock on bramble

Another Green-veined White

Bugle flowers were also proving popular with bees.

Lots of ferns unfurling.

In one area of the wood amongst the hazel understorey we spotted

several nesting tubes provided for Dormice.

Blue Tits

As far as I can tell there are 7 Blue Tit chicks in the nestbox and the parents are working really hard feeding them. It also appears that Great Spotted Woodpeckers are raising young somewhere close by as they have been seen carrying away beakfuls of fat from the feeders. I just hope they remain on the feeders and don't stray in the direction of the nestbox!


Ian said...

Beautiful photos and I hope we will be able to see sights like that on our travels in two weeks.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Many thanks :) Not long to wait now then until your holiday :) English countryside looks very special this month so there should be so wonderful sights awaiting you :)

Countryside Tales said...

A lovely wood. How exciting to think it might be Primary woodland too. Finger's crossed for the babies- I saw Great Tit children in the trees yesterday, they were making a right old racket demanding to be fed :-)

Bovey Belle said...

What lovely photos. I am hoping to get a Bluebell Walk in soon for fresh photos and to float on that wonderful perfume.

Very few butterflies about here yet - the occasional Orange Tip mainly - or an overwintered Tortoiseshell.

Envy you the Hairstreaks - I've only ever seen one in my life (back in my Dorset days).

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks :) Hoping young Blue Tits will all fledge. Already there is a worrying difference in size - those who hatched first or who are perhaps winning the "survival of the fittest" are getting most of the food!

Bovey Belle - Thank you :) Enjoy your bluebell walk - such a delight for the senses :)

Sadly, I didn't see a Hairstreak on Sunday in the woods - need to try and go back and check the BC Warks reserve. I haven't seen many in my life either.

Wendy said...

A lovely post, Caroline. This sounds a beautiful place to visit. I love ancient bluebell woods and this is the time of year to see the wildflowers there.
Like you, I'm worried about the bluetits leaving the nest boxes here. I hope they all manage to keep safe.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thank you :) I think this month is probably my favourite for wildflowers - closely followed by June :)

Fingers crossed for both our Blue Tit families!

SeagullSuzie said...

Lovely to see the bluebells like this and in a fantastic woodland. You did really well with the butterflies. As a child we would go to the Lickey Hills to see the bluebells every year.
Saw our swifts for the first time yesterday evening.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie Thanks so much :)

We used to go to the Lickey Hills when I was a child too - you've brought back some memories :) I haven't been for donkey's years.

So glad your swifts are back - I saw my first last Friday down by Charlecote Park :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful images Caroline, that looks a fascinating woodland. The flowers are all similar to the ones which grow here, though interestingly Yellow Archangel is one I don't often come across in East Yorkshire.

I sincerely hope that all continues to go well for the Blue Tits :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks so much David. Interesting about Yellow Archangel - perhaps it gets rarer further North? I see it mainly in woodland and old churchyards.

Thanks also for good wishes re: Blue Tits.