Please see the photo gallery above for some of our February/March highlights.
In order of display:
Chainsawing in a blizzard!
Ivy on a Silver Birch tree trunk
Blckthorn beginning to flower (usually from the end of March into April)
Fungi growing on a mossy tree stump
Walking down Brock's Ride in the snow
A couple of uneaten Hawthorn berries still hanging after rain
Lime Ride showing a flooded rigg and furrow system
Lime tree bud
Snow coated Norway Spruce needles
The Lie of the Land
On paper, the overall topography of Woodruff Wood is recorded as being that of a very gentle slope downhill from north to south. It would therefore seem from this brief description that the lie of the land is flat and character free. However, a walk through the wood tells a different story with many lumps and bumps to negotiate underfoot.
Two of the most noticeable internal features are man-made and no doubt have been present for some considerable time. The first is a series of peaks and troughs in the soil forming a rigg and furrow system which runs throughout the main section of the wood. This is an old, traditional method used on wet ground to lift up rows of earth making it possible to plant trees (or grow arable crops depending on its location).
The other feature is a set of four circular depressions in the heart of the wood which would no doubt have had us puzzling over their origin were it not for the invaluable knowledge of a previous occupant. We understand that these are bomb holes which were caused by a plane jettisoning its load during World War II. They now act as seasonal ponds adding a further dimension to the various micro-habitats within the wood.
Woodruff Wood Work
We’ve been widening a section of Main Ride along one of the rigg and furrow lines in the hope of replanting at a later stage with specimen trees. This section forms the edge of the main woodland compartment and therefore should receive good levels of sunlight allowing the potential for strong growth of tree saplings. We’ve not yet decided what tree species to plant but possibilities include oak which is fantastic for wildlife.
By doing this, we are planning for the future as these trees will not reach maturity for 100+ years. Along the way, many things will influence the success or failure of these trees including the increasing threat of tree pests and diseases, climate change affecting species suitability and even whether Woodruff Wood will still exist in decades to come once our time as custodians has passed.
However, we live in the hope that our woodland will survive the challenges ahead and as always, we continue to plan to the best of our ability.
Out With The Old; In With The New
March is best described as a crossover month. With the onset of spring, it really is a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Although we are currently experiencing an exceptionally cold spell of weather at the start of March, many aspects of nature prove to be resilient at enduring these temperature fluctuations and are on the brink of awakening from their winter dormancy into the start of their yearly life cycle.
In Woodruff Wood, there are many signs of this transition. Here are a few examples:
Hazel catkins develop early and flower from the end of February and into March. Some of our hazel shrubs also still retain a handful of old, withered leaves which hang alongside these fresh, new catkins. These old leaves should gradually fall off one by one as spring advances and new leaves begin to grow.
Any uneaten hawthorn berries left hanging on twigs will slowly shrivel away this month to be replaced by new leaves which are amongst the first to open. The bright green colouring of these emerging leaves twinkle and sparkle in the sunlight and are just the most lovely sight after a dreary winter.
Bees, Bee Flies and Butterflies
When the warm, sunny days do begin to arrive, they will bring with them the emergence of insects from hibernation. We are hoping to see the first of the queen bumblebees out searching for nest sites, bee flies which are very characteristic in appearance and the occasional butterfly out on the wing such as a small tortoiseshell or comma.
Woodruff Wood,Longhirst, Morpeth, Northumberland
'Passionate about wildlife & firewood'
T: 07525 841361 (9am - 6pm)
Please feel free to contact us today for further information!
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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