After a glorious autumn, when the wood was ablaze with colour and a temperature of 19 degrees was recorded in early November, we were suddenly greeted with an icy blast from the North bringing snow and plummeting mercury. There was a brief respite from the Arctic conditions in December and this window of opportunity was just sufficient to enable a few native saplings to be planted in the wood.
A handful of winter-visiting redwing have been seen foraging in the wood in recent weeks but in nowhere near the numbers seen in recent years, possibly because of a lack of berries and/or shelter. In fact, both resident and winter visitors, particularly ground-feeders, suffered badly when the ground was frozen but many of the resident species that survived are now pairing up again and claiming their territories by singing in the early morning.
Early harbingers of spring can also be found in the catkin-bearing hazel trees which can be seen alongside the embankment and, in March before the emergence of the hornbeam leaf cover, we can look forward to the flowering of the wood anemones in patches towards the station end of the wood and the emergence of cuckoo pint in the same area.
Sadly many of the signs which were erected designating sites of interest in the wood did not survive the winter, and have been removed or vandalized. However we hope to re-instate at least some of them during the year, providing visitors to the wood with some information and context for the woodland area.