THE ANCIENT WOODLAND IS FULL OF VETERAN OAKS

THE WOODLAND IS CARPETED WITH BLUEBELLS IN SPRING

THE REDWOOD GETTING A WELL DESERVED SEVEN-PERSON HUG!

Ancient Woodland

When we arrived, the woodland was overrun with brambles, laurel and rhododendron, desperately in need of thinning and one entire bank had been used as a rubbish tip for years. The family set about the immense task of clearing rubbish, thinning conifers and replanting with native species (over 600 trees have been planted so far) and gradually the woodland began to recover: woodland plants such as snowdrops, anemones and bluebells proliferated and wildlife returned.

Much of the area is ancient oak woodland which we believe was partly replanted in the 1700s. There are many other native tree species but around 50 magnificent oaks, some of which we believe to be well over 400 years old, dominate. There are also non-native specimen trees, planted in the nineteenth century. The grandest of these is the redwood which rises to nearly 50 metres. There is also what is believed to be a Charlie tree, a Scots pine planted in mute support of Bonnie Prince Charlie who led the Jacobite uprising in 1745. See if you can spot it! For more information on native and non-native trees, visit the Woodland Trust website.

Biodiversity

Redwood Valley provides a wide variety of habitats including woodland, meadow and stream. As such, it supports diverse plant, fungi, insect and animal life.

Bird species are too numerous to mention but a few to look out for are our resident buzzards, spotted and pied flycatchers, redstarts, dippers, greater spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls, jays, nuthatches, warblers and treecreepers. You may also catch sight of a fox or stoat in the woods or the odd pipestrelle or noctule bat swooping low over the meadow as you sit down to your BBQ. We recently spotted an otter less than half a mile away on the Lugg so they may also find their way to us if we are lucky!

Ancient woodland plants that you are likely to be familiar with are yellow archangel, campion, dogs mercury, lords and ladies, wood sorrel, bluebells, and foxgloves. You will also find many fungi in the spring and autumn months. In the meadow you will encounter a wide variety of grasses, different umbels such as cow parsley and meadowsweet, as well as sorrel, rattle, knapweed, bugle, stitchwort, buttercups, clovers and more. These in turn attract many species of bee and butterfly. Closer to the brook, you will find dragonflies and damselflies.

This is just a small selection of the flora and fauna at Redwood Valley but you will find identification books in the kitchen area so that you can search out more for yourselves. The RSPB website also has a handy tool for helping identify bird species as does the Butterfly Conservation website for butterflies. We would like to continue to document the species found at Redwood Valley so hope that you will tell us about your own finds.

Red Admiral butterfly

Mistle Thrush

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We have two very different nature trails at Redwood Valley. Both take around 20 minutes at brisk walk but we recommend a slower pace to really appreciate your surroundings and the plant and wildlife you will encounter.

The first trail follows the perimeter of the ancient woodland, then heads into the heart of the wood where you find yourself surrounded by enormous oaks. Here you will see numerous other native tree species including beech, ash, willow, holly, birch and lime, as well as a magnificent cedar of Lebanon. Along the way, you will encounter woodland plants such as wood anemones, wild garlic and bluebells.

The second trail starts by moving from Wales into England by crossing the brook then heading up a hillside of Douglas fir trees, interspersed with sycamore, willow, yew and elm. The path then descends through a wildflower meadow, back across the brook into Wales and past our mighty redwood to the yurts. As well as a profusion of flowers, the meadow is an excellent place for spotting butterflies.