Thursday, 27 March 2014

Field Meeting on Sunday April 6th at Great Merrible Wood

Our first vascular plant meeting for 2014 will be at Great Merrible Wood, a SSSI that is owned by the LRWT, and which lies in the Eye Brook Valley 4 km south-west of Uppingham in Rutland (OS map ref: SP 834962).  More information about the site including the parking location can obtained from the LRWT website.  Parking on the roadside verge at SP 831958 is limited, so please park considerately and do not block field gates etc. and be careful of traffic on the road. If you want to come, please indicate your intention on this Doodle poll, where you can also organise car sharing, so that we can get an idea of numbers attending.Meet at 2.00 p.m. at the entrance to the wood. We visit by kind permission of the LRWT.

Andy Lear surveyed the wood last year and concluded that it is secondary woodland dating from the early 19th century, and that most of the ancient woodland plants have colonized from the deep gulleys.  He thinks that the wood was originally parkland, possibly part of the historical Great Easton Park. In addition, the whole wood is underlain with medieval ridge and furrow, indicating an earlier period of cultivation.

We will not be recording flora in the wood, instead we will be visiting to appreciate a fine woodland in spring. It contains some Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia) which  may be visible and which we can search for, as it is surprising difficult to see among dense stands of Dog's Mercury (Mercuralis perennis), plus some other woodland plants that are uncommon or scarce in VC55. Unfortunately, we will miss the lovely Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata), as it flowers in July, but why not come back later in the season and search for it?


Dryopteris affinis (Golden Male Fern) in GMW.
Paris quadrifolia (Herb Paris)

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