A partnership between the Woodland Trust and the National Trust

Fingle Spring Diary 2016 no.1

It’s April and Fingle Woods is springing back to life after a winter of destructive winds and wild water in the river Teign. Signs of life are now all around us and Paul Moody spent a sunny Sunday afternoon getting down to ground level with a series of photos to welcome the warmer weather and longer days. This Spring diary provides a few ideas for interesting things to look for as the season develops.

Spring Diary 1 – The First to Leaf
Sycamore is a tree that is the subject of many debates. On one hand, people say “it’s not a native” but, on the other hand, it has been here in Britain for over 500 years; even William Shakespeare wrote about it. In that time, it has found itself a place in our woodlands and, though its broad, shading leaves and fast rate of reproduction give it a chance to become dominant it has many advantages and is slowly finding some friends. The sycamore is early into leaf at spring time and provides one of the first sources of nectar for insects and even our Fingle dormice will eat the sweet flowers in the tree canopy. Also early into leaf is the honeysuckle; the stripped bark provides dormice with their favourite nest building material after they emerge from hibernation.

sycamore leaves

Sycamore’s first fresh leaves

sycamore buds

Sycamore buds

honeysuckle leaves

Honeysuckle is a climber. Stripping the outer layer of bark allows the dormice to find nesting material without leaving the safety of the trees

words – Matt Parkins

images – Paul Moody


  • ninafenner

    24th April 2016 at 9:13 am

    Beautiful photo of the sycamore coming into leaf. I used to hate sycamores but I’m warming to them a little. We have one in our garden in Cornwall and I swore I’d chop it down but it’s a useful break against the powerful SW winds down here so it’s staying.…and now I know it’s useful early nectar for insects too that makes me feel better about keeping it.

    • katesmith2015

      25th April 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the much maligned sycamore. Sounds like they are gaining more friends – the link to Shakespeare is very timely!


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