On a morning that was bright and clear, but a bit chilly, members of Ferring Conservation Group recently travelled the short distance to Clapham Woods (just off the Long Furlong road) for a woodland bluebell walk ably led by Group committee member, Graham Tuppen.
Setting off across the fields by the village church, the group was soon in the woods, where the display of bluebells and particularly wood anemones could be seen in all their glory. The bluebells were probably a week or so from their best, but the anemones were undoubtedly at their peak and formed a dense carpet. Plenty of other woodland plants were identified, including the delicate greater stitchwort, dog’s mercury, wild strawberries, lords-and-ladies, dog-violets and even the first flower spikes of early-purple orchids. It was a most enjoyable guided walk, and in addition to the plants some magnificent tree examples were seen including a massive beech tree, which it was estimated must be hundreds of years old.
The group was also lucky enough to hear and see a variety of woodland birds. Many of these were the usual suspects, such as blue tits, robins and pheasants, but a number of nuthatch were heard calling throughout the walk and eventually seen in the oak tree in the car park. The prize for the best sounding bird though must have been the mellifluous song of the mistle thrush.
A visit to these woods, especially at this time of year, is fully recommended as a welcome escape into our local natural environment.