January 2018


January 2018

Is spring arriving early?


Amazingly this current mild weather has brought forward the very first blooms of the wild daffodils Narcissus pseudonarcissus.


It was my wife Carolyn’s idea, being a keen plantswoman, to enhance the wide verges either side of the newly planted oak trees Quercus robur in the Millennium Avenue, so called as the National Farmers Union (NFU) were encouraging farmers to permanently mark the start of the new century.  Seeds were collected each summer from a group of wild daffodils in our garden, scattering them along this entrance to Beatons Wood.  It takes about five years for seeds to develop into mature bulbs. The number will increase by natural regeneration, but we will not allow them to encroach into Beatons Wood, to compete with our wonderful white wood anemones and of course the bluebells!  Unfortunately, Bluebell Walk visitors miss this spectacle when they are in full bloom, but I will post further images in the coming month’s blogs.


Bluebell shootsJust a fortnight ago I posted an image showing the odd bluebell plant emerging from under the layer of brown leaves, but now there are far more.  Soon the brown decaying leaves will disappear, as the vast number of green shoots jostle for space to form their carpet throughout the wood.  Towards the end of March we expect to see the white wood anemones blooming amongst the bluebell leaves, which hopefully will coincide with the start of the 46th Arlington Bluebell Walk.


Recently walking through Beatons Wood on a sunny day I could not resist admiring these first catkins.


This is another harbinger that spring is on its way, yet the trees behind are still in their dormant mode!


Wildlife and bug palaces!


Dead wood pilesWe have now completed our first five managed piles of dead wood which I wrote about last time, trying to follow the example of Great Dixter. They comprise of the toppings from coppicing of two years ago, plus unwanted young holly trees that have been establishing themselves in Beatons Wood.  As these piles very slowly decay, they will be attracting a variety of moths, wild bees, other insects and creatures, finding it a relatively safe haven from predators, so building up the diversity of wildlife in Beatons Wood.  When I was young there were very few holly trees, but in the past decades they have dramatically increased, so we have had to cut down a great many, as they sterilize the ground under their canopy, which then shades out the bluebells and wood anemones, which take many years to get re-established.


Water everywhere!


At the end of November, I wrote about how low the water levels were in our Lower Pond, but now a few weeks later it is full to capacity and running out through the overflow, whilst a drain that feeds it keeps running. 

Plenty of water in the ponds

Our neighbour has dug out his fish lagoon, which you see when walking the White Walk. It looks fantastic so do go and have a look when you visit us but keep away from the edge as it is deep!


2018 Publicity Leaflet


As we approach February I feel it is more associated with spring, rather than January which reminds me of winter!  Now is the time we start distributing our leaflets and A5 posters, so if anyone would like to help publicise the year’s Arlington Bluebell Walk please contact me john@bluebellwalk.co.uk as I have many copies waiting to be spread round the area.  They can also be downloaded from our new website www.bluebellwalk.co.uk


My aim is to try and have the next Blog posted at the end of February.   


John McCutchan

This message was added on Wednesday 31st January 2018

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