Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Fantastic Foxley

Rachael Wright, Seasonal Education Officer

I was lucky enough to have spent Saturday working at NWT FoxleyWood amongst the beautiful ancient trees. We set up camp for the weekend running minibeasts hunting sessions. It’s a really great site for minibeast hunting with lots of different areas to explore. Starting in the undergrowth and rooting between log piles we found woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, earwigs, worms and slugs. We then moved to the long grass and used sweeping nets to investigate the minibeasts there; we found ladybirds and lots of different types of spiders and bugs. Moving to the bushes, the children got to use beating trays to discover which minibeasts lived in this environment. My favourite find in the bushes was a tiny bright green spider perfectly camouflaged on the leaves but standing out in our white beating tray. 

Most people had come to Foxley Wood however to see something entirely different. To see something that can only be seen at this time of year and only for a short period of time. It is bluebell season, and this flower thrives in ancient woodland. Unfortunately ancient woodlands only cover a very small area of the country, and therefore Foxley Wood is one of the best places to see bluebells in this habitat. 

NWT Foxley Wood bluebells, photo by Rachael Wright

There is a bluebell trail set up at Foxley Wood at the moment with information and signs for a self-guided walk. One visitor asked me how long it would take to walk. This is dependent on the individual though, as you could easily spend hours marvelling at the beauty of the bluebells. 

Close-up of the bluebells, photo by Rachael Wright
 After I finished minibeast hunting for the day I went to walk the bluebell trail. I was blown away by the beautiful site and the temporary transformation of the woodland. The whole floor was a carpet of purple and blue contrasting fantastically with the green and brown colours of the woodland. It was not only a visual experience but one for all the senses, the smell from the bluebells was wonderful and it was so quiet and peaceful in the woods with just the sound of birds. I really enjoy photographing wildlife but found it difficult to capture this beauty on camera; I just couldn’t do it justice. 

In some sense it’s sad that the bluebells can only be seen for a few weeks a year, but this adds to their beauty and makes the experience extra special. To make sure you don’t miss out, head down to Foxley Wood next weekend for a day of minibeast hunting and bluebells.

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