THE EASTERN BOUNDARY IS MARKED BY THE OLD LOUTH TO ALFORD RAILWAY LINE
This was the view that we had as we were briefed on the management of the wood by LWT Outer Humber Warden Rob Lidstone-Scot who spends his winters dealing with the seal colony at Donna Nook. The earth bank on the right is covered by a mass of Stinging nettles and Sticky Willy (Goose grass, if you don’t live in Lincolnshire!) whilst the left bank has a profusion of Hogweed, Dog rose, Hedge wound-wort and grasses interspersed with the delicate blue flowers of Green alkanet.
Legbourne Wood, covering 86 acres, is one of the few remaining ancient woodlands in eastern Lincolnshire and the largest of the Trust’s woodland nature reserves. These ancient woodlands contain more biodiversity than more recently planted woods. Beneath the canopy of Ash and Oak over 60 species of wild flowers have been recorded during an annual period. We are fortunate in the LAG to have at half a dozen people who are able to identify many of the common species of wild flowers whilst at least one of us always has a guide book to hand! I have listed some species below. Gary Cooper, the volunteer warden at Toby’s Hill, accompanied Rob and pointed out Dog’s mercury and Wood sorrel as indicators of ancient woods and identified other flowers together with many of the grasses.
Rob described the ways in which the Legbourne site is arranged with small areas being thinned and managed by selective thinning to restore the traditional coppice with standards system. This means of providing large, straight trees creates open areas which is good for wildlife and enables some light to reach the woodland floor. Access through the woods is via cleared rides which are allowed to remain damp – or even muddy as we discovered.
The task of administrative management pertaining to any of our LWT sites is not straightforward because of so many well-meaning agencies involved. I heard Rob mention the Forestry Commission, Natural England and East Lindsey District Council as well as the LWT. It becomes more complex when two of the agencies give conflicting advice or even directives as was the case in dealing with Ash die back disease.
We were a large group, 29 members and non-members plus Jack, a friendly, well behaved dog. Rob and Gary gave us briefings at two key points before allowing us to straggle along the paths covered in shady places by tiny ‘Mind-your-own-business’ plants. As the sun dropped low on the horizon the light effects among the trees was magical. We eventually returned to the car park where Swallows and House martins flew overhead. The only other birds we saw were a single Wood pigeon and a couple of Carrion crows.
It was great to be able to welcome so many new faces, please come along again. Our next field trip is to the LWT Willow Tree Fen Reserve on Saturday 25 July. Ray W
Some of the plants that we encountered:
Common nettle, Mind-your-own-business, Curled dock, Broad leaved dock, White campion, Ragged robin, Meadow buttercup, Common poppy, Bramble, Dog rose, Meadowsweet, Common vetch, Bird’s foot trefoil, White clover, Dog’s mercury, Wood sorrel, Herb Robert, Great willow herb, Hogweed, Fen bedstraw, (possibly Wild angelica), Hoary plantain, Green alkanet, Skull-cap, Hedge woundwort, Honeysuckle, Pineapple mayweed, Spear thistle, Goat’s beard, Nipple wort, Early purple (spotted) orchid, Common sedge, Common bent grass, Yorkshire fog grass, Oak tree, Ash tree etc!