Since 1972 the Arlington Bluebell Walk and Farm Trail has developed into seven interesting walks over three working farms.
One of the walks of 2/3 mile (1100 meters) through Beatons Wood has been made suitable for wheelchair users. This is where you see white anemones followed by the vistas of bluebells, established over centuries. On this walk there are seats for you to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this oak and hornbeam wood. Along the walks there are signs illustrating the flora and fauna of the countryside for your information.
At neighbouring Parkwood Farm, milking of the large dairy herd can be seen from a special viewing gallery every afternoon between 3:00pm and 5:00pm. To get there involves a walk of about 1.5 miles, and you will have to walk back!
We have pens of sheep, pigs and angora goats for the children to see close up, but remember, pigs can bite! Ensure children wash their hands thoroughly with warm water and soap at the adjoining sink if they do stroke any of the animals.
For more information download the 2017 Publicity Leaflet here.
This relatively cold and grey weather continues and from the attached photo taken yesterday, this shows little deterioration in the bluebells since last week, also they have retained that unique scent in the air as one enters Beatons Wood. The current weather forecast indicates there will be little of the much needed rain between now and when we close on Sunday 14 May, so I am sure this will be one of the driest Bluebell Walks we have ever experienced in the past 45 years.
Once the Arlington Bluebell Walk closes, my main preoccupation will be to try and remove as many of the cleavers that are appearing amongst the bluebells. There other names for this weed is goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, robin-run-the-hedge, sticky willy, sticky willow, stickyjack, stickeljack, or grip grass! Fortunately it is an annual weed that is not very apparent, but slowly and insidiously spreading amongst the bluebells, so if it can be removed before it sets seeds, then we will slowly win the battle of eradicating it from Beatons Wood. This weed first appeared in the north west corner of the wood, possibly from the adjoining field as it is an arable weed which can be controlled by spraying in the fields, but that is not an option for Beatons Wood! It will be time consuming work on hands and knees, more easily seen as the bluebells die down, but due to the seed attaching itself to animals as they move through the wood it is now in most areas, so if left unchecked it will eventually have an adverse effect on the bluebells.
Brambles have been successfully removed from only those parts of the wood in which our visitors walk to improve the vistas of bluebells, but as blackberries are a favourite food of dormice, brambles are retained in the private areas of the wood where we are trying to encourage these shy animals back into the wood. I am confident that we will have equal success in removing the cleavers, but it may take a year or two!
This is my last report, but am aiming to produce a summary of the 2017 Arlington Bluebell Walk, which will then be added to this website under the heading HISTORY – PAST YEARS that currently features the years 2012-2016 inclusive.
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