"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, 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.


John Wooldridge said...

Looks a lovely area to walk Robin and I've seen Glow worms so that's a to do. I always thought the chained bear and 'billet' picture harked back to bear baiting when dogs were put up against a captive bear.

Chris Rohrer said...

It's Friday morning and it's time to catch up on Ragged Robin's adventures:) First off, a glow worm! I thought those were just made up. Googled it and now I want to see one!:) They are like our fireflies! Kinda. It sounds like you had a very birdy day and all those birds you found are on my must see list:) The bear in chains is interesting:) Here it is symbolic of something else:) Hope you are having a fun filled weekend! Chris

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Many thanks John. Yes, the emblem does look horribly like that but when researching it I didn't find any reference to the bear baiting bit.

Chris Rohrer Hi Chris - lovely to hear from you again. Glad you found out about the glow-worms :) Won't ask what the bear in chains is a symbol of in US :) Actually looking at it again am beginning to wish I hadn't posted pic - to much like bear baiting :(

Have a wonderful weekend too Chris and hope you see loads of birds :)

Countryside Tales said...

It looks a beautiful place. Birds have been a bit thin on the ground here- I expect they're all still out in the wilds and will start to come back as it cools down. I did see the female black cap this morning though :-) Our local pub is the Bear & Ragged Staff and I'm not sure why?

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Many thanks :) Our garden feeders are always fairly quiet round this time of year. I think its probably because there is so much natural food available - especially this year so many berries everywhere!

Strange about your local pub - have only really seen the symbol round Warwickshire. Perhaps whoever named the pub originally had some connection with the county?

SeagullSuzie said...

What a great reserve to visit I'm very glad to hear Silverstone went somewhere else. I have never seem glow-worms, so I guess I should look out for them here.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie Thanks so much. Glow-worms sadly yet another species in decline. The adults are around June/July and its the female that emits the glow to attract the males. I think eggs and larva can also glow. Found on railway embankments, cliffs, hedgerows, woodland clearings especially on chalk and limestone. Let me know if you spot any would love to know :)

Em Parkinson said...

That woodland looks idyllic. Sorry the Comma wasn't in posing mood. I find they rarely pose for me either!

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - Thanks so much :) Glad you liked the woodland. Sometimes I wish I had a bit more patience re: butterfly photography :)