Please see the photo gallery above for some of our January/February highlights.
In order of display:
Middle Ditch in the sun after snowfall
Scot's Pine in sunlight
Log pile covered in snow
Winter fungus growing on Willow
Top end of Main Ride looking east
First Primrose of the year to flower
Last year's hanging Beech leaves covered in snow
Woodruff Wood Work
January ended up being one of those months where we carried out lots of bits and bobs. Log splitting, firewood deliveries, grey squirrel control (due to yet another mini influx of new arrivals), measuring areas cleared of rhododendron and health & safety work resulted in the days quickly disappearing.
We are now however, able to fully concentrate on our scheduled tree felling programme for this winter (all be it a touch later than planned). We are aiming to widen Main Ride at various points by individually selecting trees to remove. Depending upon their exact location will determine whether their removal will enhance light levels for improved ground flora or create space to plant up with specimen trees and shrubs in the future.
As with buses, we’ve now had three ‘proper’ snowfalls in quick succession this winter. The wood looks stunning every time and it really feels quite wonderful to be wrapped up warm with snowflakes falling all around you. Work grinds to a halt momentarily as we enjoy its beauty and we pause to identify footprints along the rides.
Snow prints provide clear evidence of mammal activities which normally go unseen. Many mammals are nocturnal and it is only once we have departed at dusk that they roam the wood in search of their supper. However, the freshly laid snow is perfect for tracking their movements with fox, badger, rabbit and roe deer prints scattered along Main Ride.
Along with mammal prints, there are many bird prints including resident species such as pheasants but we also find that a heron has visited at some point leaving behind its large tracks. Herons are associated with wetlands and not woodlands but we occasionally see one fly overhead so it’s no great surprise that it has touched down for a brief time.
Change is in the Air
Although we’ve experienced snow and frosts, February brings with it signs of change. There is a spring like feel in the air on milder days and notable changes in animal behaviour and plant growth.
A pair of buzzards soar overhead with their distinctive ‘mewing’ calls drawing our attention to their presence. They are performing their aerial displays and establishing territories now prior to nesting in April. Buzzards usually nest in woodlands high up in the treetops and this pair could well choose Woodruff Wood as a place to breed in 2018.
Primroses are also starting to flower. Although they are at their best towards the end of March and into April, the first primrose opened up on 25th January this year which seems incredibly early, especially so considering the cold weather we’ve had. For comparison, the first flower last year (which was a much milder winter) bloomed a full month later on 27th February.
Birdsong is always something we look forward to hearing and it subtly begins to fill the wood throughout February. Winter residents including robins, wrens, dunnocks, song thrushes, blackbirds, tits, goldcrests and woodpigeons one by one begin to ‘practise’ their songs in preparation for the breeding season. Migrant birds such as chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps have yet to arrive so it will be March to April before they add their musical notes to the bird chorus.
Woodruff Wood,Longhirst, Morpeth, Northumberland
'Passionate about wildlife & firewood'
T: 07525 841361 (9am - 6pm)
Please feel free to contact us today for further information!
Why not add some kindling & firelighters to your firewood order?
Our recommendations are:
Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest Woodruff Wood news and offers
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
'Increasing Productivity of Woodruff Wood Woodfuel (Firewood)'
Woodruff Wood is grateful to have received funding for equipment and infrastructure to support us in the production of firewood