Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Ovington Ramblers: Lower Wood and Hethel Old Thorn

Maureen Simmons

This week we visited Lower Wood,Ashwellthorpe, with a short stop on the way to see Hethel Old Thorn the smallest Wildlife Trust nature reserve in the UK. Both places are not far from Wymondham.

NWT Hethel Old Thorn
The Old Thorn, growing at the rear of a very pretty church, is believed to date back to the thirteenth century and once measured over 9 foot around its girth.  Sadly, today, it is only a shadow of its former self, but it was a privilege to stand close to this venerable old shrub and see it awakening from yet another winter sleep.

At Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe, you can plainly see how the coppicing of the trees is happening and how the new growth is encouraged. This ancient woodland provided the ash poles to a once thriving brush-making factory at Wymondham.

NWT Lower Wood, Ashwellthorpe
The wood was alive with the sound of birdsong. Catkins hung from the hazel trees providing a vital food source for bees just as they are recovering from the cold of winter.  Bluebells and wild garlic were pushing up beneath the trees... spring is indeed on its way!   

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