Friday, 12 September 2014
Snitterfield Bushes NR and a Brief Visit to Henley in Arden
I've been keen on visiting the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Reserve of Snitterfield Bushes for ages. In Spring there is an impressive display of bluebells and the plant list for the reserve stands at 250 species including plants rare in Warwickshire such as Herb Paris, Broad-leaved Helleborine and several orchid species. The reserve has a high diversity of moths including Light Orange Underwing and Alder Kitten. Butterflies found at the site include Grizzled Skipper, Brown Argus, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary and White-letter Hairstreak.
The wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and covers around 50 hectares (123 acres). It comprises mainly Pedunculate Oak and Ash woodland with an understorey of hazel shrub. The variety of plant species suggest that the wood has existed for many centuries and was probably managed as coppice with standards. The wood does, however, appear to have been clear-felled in the 1940's when the site (along with what are now Golf and Gliding Clubs) was used as an airfield during World War 2. The site was one of 2 possible locations for the British Grand Prix but Silverstone was chosen and the wood has been allowed to regenerate enhanced with work by local volunteers.
This small area of common within the woodland has a small population of glow-worms (I've only ever heard of one other local site for this species and I haven't seen glow-worms since I was a child when we used to have holidays in Widemouth Bay, Cornwall.)
We had seen very few birds during the walk apart from Willow Warbler and Great Spotted Woodpecker but this area where the path divided was just full of them - various Warblers, Robin, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits and the highlights: a Nuthatch and Treecreeper.
I think this may be Virginia Creeper (??) threading its way through the Oak tree.
I spent 10 minutes waist-high in brambles waiting for this Comma to fully open its wings but sadly it wasn't in "posing" mood.
Black Byrony berries (poisonous) garlanding shrubs
I shall certainly be visiting this reserve again - it looks as though it would be worth a visit at any time of the year and the butterfly species list means I've made a note to visit next Summer!!
On the way home we stopped off in Henley-in-Arden briefly for an icecream. Not too many photos as I've done posts on this historic market town several times in the past.
Warwickshire County Emblem - The Bear and Ragged Staff. The symbol has been associated with the Earls of Warwick since the 14th century and examples can be found throughout the County incuding Kenilworth Castle where Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, entertained Queen Elizabeth I. In heraldic terms the Bear was a symbol of courage and the ragged staff comes from a legend about an old Earl of Warwick who killed a giant with the broken branch of a tree. The Bear and Staff symbols were originally used singly but were gradually used together from the late 1300's.
Henley Ice-cream made at local dairies is delicious - if you are ever in the area its worth stopping off to visit the Ice-Cream Parlour.