Arlington Bluebell Walk Blog

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March 2018

The 46th Arlington Bluebell Walk opens in a few days’ time

Snow on the Lower PondWe are fortunate that Peter Goldsmith, the well-known local commercial photographer now retired, takes iconic photos in Beatons Wood, and this one shows how the snow from that ‘Beast from the East’ appeared at the Lower Pond.  Below is another image he took of the wild daffodils that line the Millennium Avenue, rarely seen at their peak by our visitors, as they start to diminish as the wild white anemones start appearing in Beatons Wood.  Daffodils on Millennium AvenueIf at last we have some warm weather over the next few days, it looks as if the wood will be transformed with an all embracing white carpet, emphasised by the green leaves of the bluebells still waiting to emerge.   This fresh looking phenomenon is much loved by many of our visitors, before those first hints of blue appear.  I am so often asked when is the best time to see the bluebells at their peak, which I explain is solely due to having warm weather which increases the soil temperatures that dictate when the bluebells appear, completely outside my control!  To help keep our visitors updated every Friday whilst we are open and starting on 6th April, there will appear an update on www.bluebellwalk.co.uk/blog. Beatons Wood is undulating which affects the emergence of the white wood anemones and bluebells, so as the front entrance faces south west, everything is that much earlier than the latter half facing north, which means one has a variety of views to enjoy.

 

Primroses

Today, as the soil is warming, we see that the primroses we started to plant near the Lower Pond three years ago, are slowly getting established.

Primroses beginning to flourishIn the 1950’s before the white wood anemones appeared, I remember that the wood looked yellow with the masses of primrose plants. Sadly this was lost by making a decision to run our rams (male sheep) in Beatons Wood over the winter about 50 years ago, thinking they could eat the abundant bramble shoots.  The primroses were the first green leaves to emerge, and the rams naturally ate what must have been to them new succulent food. They were eaten including their crowns and completely destroyed.  It shows that a simple management decision can have long term consequences, which I so bitterly regret!  The flowers are just beginning to flourish again and hopefully will multiply naturally by seed dispersal; but I so wish I would live long enough to see them in the abundance as they were in the past!

 

Trampling of bluebells

Please Keep to the PathsEach year we notice an increase in unofficial narrow paths from the main paths, as with the increase of smart phones everyone is now a photographer and wants that iconic image!  Last year we started erecting metal hoops whenever we saw the first sign of crushed bluebell leaves from someone thinking that tiptoeing off the main path would cause no harm.  Unfortunately those initial footsteps encourage others to follow and before long there is a defined path, meaning the bluebell leaves are so damaged they will not be able to build up their reserves to flower next year.  This year we have made up this notice and just hope that it will be read!

 

Conifers by the Gate House

Reduced conifers

 

These have been steadily growing in height and their shading is affecting the avenue of oak trees that form the Millennium Avenue, so a few weeks ago we hired a cherry picker and three tree surgeons with skill cut the tops out so they are now around 50% their original height.  The three further trees could not be reached by the cherry picker and to avoid damaging the wild daffodils, these will be cut down once the Bluebell Walk closes. 

 

 

There will be no more blog posts until the end of May, but I will upload a weekly report to appear on www.bluebellwalk.co.uk

John McCutchan

This message was added on Saturday 3rd March 2018


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