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The Monthly Mushroom: Enoki in the UK – The Velvet Shank

The Monthly Mushroom: Enoki in the UK – The Velvet Shank

by Jasper ~ 11 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Mushrooms come in many shapes, colours and sizes, that much we all know. It is these aspects that provide really the only way for the amateur mycologist, who doesn’t have access to sophisticated DNA sequencing techniques or microscopes to look at the tiny differentiating details of the spores, to go about the troublesome business of identifying their finds.    However, neophytes embarking on their first steps into the fascinating world of mycology quickly discover two things. The first is that the forms of the fungal fruiting bodies are never fixed. They begin initially when the hyphal cells first fuse to form a tiny primordium, described poetically by Eugenia Bone in Mycophilia as “a dense little nubbin of preformed mushroom that (in many cases) contains all its cells”. Read more...

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

Volunteering for health and wellbeing at Tortworth arboretum

by woodlands blogs ~ 8 December, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The arboretum at Tortworth is a very special place. It has a long and interesting history and boasts some incredible exotic trees. The trees are a living history of the woodland and the family that planted it, but a few years ago the collection was at risk of decline through lack of management. That is, until 3 years ago when woodlands.co.uk purchased the woodland and the trees were given a new lease of life -  while also changing lives.   The 20 acre site is now managed by a community woodland group who are gently restoring the trees and at the same time, making a difference to people, as we hear from one of their regular volunteers.

Read more...

Woodland related scrabble words  (Part one A – H), from Imogen (11) and Stuart

Woodland related scrabble words  (Part one A – H), from Imogen (11) and Stuart

by Stuart ~ 5 December, 2017 ~ 2 comments

At this time of year, the scrabble board is often brought out and ‘battle’ commences.  People often play with ‘variants’ of the rules and sometimes a themed approach can be fun.  Here is a selection of woodland related words, many of which are names of woodlands that owners have purchased from woodlands.co.uk over the years.    Words have been selected via a number of different categories including interesting meanings of the words, good scoring words, common woodland words and short words with good scoring letters.  My daughter, Imogen and I came up with the words and checked them on the dictionary and scrabble checker.

Neither of us is a “scrabble wizard” but we have checked all words are in the Oxford online dictionary and that they are compatible with the scrabble word checker but if you notice anything incorrect ……… Read more...

Ancient Oak Trees in the Countryside

Ancient Oak Trees in the Countryside

by Lewis ~ 4 December, 2017 ~ one comment

In recent years, countryside oaks have been subject to a survey (co-ordinated by the Woodland trust - working with the Ancient Tree Forum, the Tree Register and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.   This survey has identified some 1200 previously unknown veteran oak trees. In consequence, the total number of veteran / ancient oaks in England now stands at 3400.

Approximately four fifths of these trees are estimated as being between 400 and 600 years old, and a tenth date back some 600 to 800 years - and a few may be a thousand years old.  England is ‘rich’ in terms of its ancient or veteran Oaks - the whole of continental Europe has only two thousand such trees (approximately); most of which are in Sweden. Read more...

Trees and streams

Trees and streams

by Chris ~ 27 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

There are some 240,000 miles of streams and rivers throughout the UK.  Streams and rivers are sensitive habitats in terms of climate change, with cold water species being particularly at risk.  Researchers (Stephen Thomas) at Cardiff University have recorded significant reductions in insect numbers in the Rivers Wye, and Tywi, and indeed one local extinction -  these are associated with our changing climate.

Trees clearly offer shade to rivers and streams and this is important in mitigating the effects of high temperatures. As water warms so the level of dissolved oxygen falls. However, trees also help the resilience of these freshwater systems Read more...

Wildlife and roadkill.

Wildlife and roadkill.

by Lewis ~ 21 November, 2017 ~ one comment

By 2016, some 36.7 million vehicles were registered for use on the roads of the U.K.   Whilst sound statistics are available on human deaths from car / vehicle accidents ,  there is less reliable information on roadkill - the number of various animals killed on our roads each year.  Some information can be found in government statistics (link opens a PDF file), which suggest that deer are the largest category of casualties - though foxes and badgers are not far behind.

Apart from the government stats, there are a number of other organisations like the People’s trust for endangered species (PTES) and Project Splatter that are trying to gather detailed information on roadkill, both have web sites and apps for recording details of roadkill. Read more...

Plant pigments - the xanthophylls

Plant pigments – the xanthophylls

by Chris ~ 15 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

The chlorophylls (and there are several different types) are the main light absorbing pigments in land plants.  They are located in the chloroplasts of the palisade and spongy mesophyll layers of the leaves.  The chlorophylls mainly absorb red and blue wavelengths  of light.   Apart from the chlorophylls, plants have other pigments - often termed the accessory pigments - notably the carotenes and the xanthophylls. Read more...

Hurstbourne 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race (by Greg England)

Hurstbourne 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race (by Greg England)

by woodlands blogs ~ 13 November, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Runners will be taking part in the challenging Hurstbourne Tarrant 5 Mile Multi-Terrain Race, on Saturday 28th April 2018.

This will be the 10th year that this event has taken place, starting at the George V playing fields and following part of the Test Way, through woods and farmland, taking in the beautiful scenery of the North Wessex Downs. The race coincides with the perfect time to view the spectacular bluebells in Doles Wood. Read more...

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