Tag Archives: Environment

Web of Life

Understanding the relationship between nature and how land is used is at the heart of what I do in conservation management planning.  Today I was back at historic Dinefwr learning how an ancient deer park…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

with ancient trees planted 500 years ago…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

that is grazed by the descendants of those first fallow deer…

Fallow deer herd  Photo: Mike Alexander
Fallow deer herd Photo: Mike Alexander

with a good helping of clean, warm, wet, Welsh air, can provide perfect conditions for lichen communities that can take hundreds of years to become established, and only if conditions are just right…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

Once the relationships are understood, making the appropriate management decisions is relatively easy.  These rare lichens need light, open conditions on old parkland trees that grow without competition from neighbours or smothering from ivy and scrub.  Grazing livestock create these conditions, and a deer park created in the 1700’s is the perfect place to find them.

And lots of other wildlife also benefits, from beautiful woodpeckers, red kites, treecreepers, to tiny beetles living in the dead wood and even tinier yellow meadow ants who make their anthills in the ancient grassland…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

Rolling Stones…

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

I rather like this photo by Mike Alexander, taken between the winter storms on a beach called Hells Mouth on the west coast of Wales

Beach architecture

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

Sunsets

It’s been a good few weeks for sunsets in these parts so here are a few more wonderful photographs from my friend Mike Alexander that caught my eye, oh and one that’s not so good from me 🙂

Photo: Mike Alexander
“A Sunset for Eric” by Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

Sea Cliff Flowers

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

On my way to the beach yesterday for a leisurely swim (I know!) I came across lots of lovely patches of the oxeye daisy, our largest native member of the daisy family in the UK.  It is a perennial herb with large flowers and also has the vernacular names common daisy, dog daisy, moon daisy and margarite.

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

It is fairly common in meadows and roadside verges but always in conditions of moderate to low fertility, and where it occurs in abundance it transforms the sight of meadows and grassy banks in summer with carpets of white and gold.

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

Because the oxeye daisy is limited in its capacity for vegetative spread it relies heavily on seed regeneration in open swards where other potentially dominant species are restricted by low soil fertility.  This is why it is a common plant of some of our traditional hay meadows, as well as being abundant on waste ground, railway embankments and roadside verges and, in this case, sea cliffs.

The open flower heads attract a large range of pollinating insects, particularly bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

In the past, an extract from the plant was used as a herbal remedy to cure diseases of the liver and the chest.

 

Wild Garlic in the Woods

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

Beautiful carpets of wild garlic with patches of bluebells in the shade of the big canopy trees, smells absolutely lovely in the warm air, late spring in the woods.

 

Paths…..

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

You kind of have to walk along these paths don’t you?

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

This is an ancient Welsh drovers road that was used for thousands of years to travel from Cardigan in the west to Shrewsbury in the east….

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

Ornamental garden path…..

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

Gold miners track……

Tranquillity….

Photo: Mike Alexander
Photo: Mike Alexander

Mike A would like me to share this with you and I’m only too happy to oblige.  Llyn Dinas in North Wales, a place we’re working to help look after.

In The Larder of a Wood Mouse

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

If you go down to the woods today….in a remote Welsh valley, and have a little rummage around, it’s surprising what you sometimes find.  Here’s where a wood mouse has been storing and eating hazel nuts.  The lovely circular openings are the give away for what’s been eating these nuts.  If the openings had been perfectly circular, that would have been the work of the much rarer (and cuter) dormouse, but these were eaten and stored by a wood mouse.

And this is where he or she lives….

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

In the next few weeks some of the commonest and some of the rarest butterflies in the country will emerge and bring these woods and grasslands to life, such as this beautiful silver-washed fritillary.

Photo:  Butterfly Conservation

Apple Blossom in the Rain

The old apple tree in our garden continues to wake up after winter despite having nearly fallen over and being propped up by an old chair.  Every year it produces delicious cooking apples, and every May it produces beautiful blossom.

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

This evening a light rain is falling, the raindrops glistening on the dark green leaves…..

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

The trees antiquity is given away by the presence of the lichens growing on the branches and twigs…

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

We don’t prune it or interfere with it in anyway because it is always so productive, hopefully it will live on for years to come….

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe