Spring Diary 5 – At Ground Level
Some of the greatest diversity of woodland life can be found just beneath your feet. Depending on where you are walking you are likely to find different groups of wild flowers and woodland plants. In the moist woodland along the river bank you may see large clumps of greater wood rush. The slender flowering stems are noticeable now and the leaves are becoming a deeper green after a winter of being inundated by flood water and trampled underfoot. As well as a part of the woodland ecosystem this plant plays an important role in preventing erosion; the mats of vegetation tie the river bank soil together. Decaying stumps emerge from the mat of wood rush and offer another micro climate for wild flowers. The wood sorrel is one of the flowers that can be found occupying these niches. Beside the streams that run down gullies where broadleaved remnants stand, the vivid yellow-green of the opposite-leaved golden saxifrage glows in pools of sunlight. This plant prefers to grow near running water.
words – Matt Parkins
images – Paul Moody