Saturday 10 May – Lower Woods Nature Reserve

 What a pity only four members turned up for this meeting on a lovely sunny morning! Lower Woods is one of the largest oak-ash woodlands on heavy clay soils in England. Bill Heslegrave, a volunteer with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, led us through some of the grassy trenches, rides and 23 coppices in this ancient wood. Birds were surprisingly scarce but we did see or hear Swallow, three species of Tit, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Jay, Grey Partridge, Buzzard, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush. Song Thrushes appeared to be present in most areas we visited. Sadly we did not hear or see any Nightingales – there are only one-two pairs here now compared to 12-15 pairs ten years ago. We walked through some beautiful flower-rich areas where we saw Early Purple Orchids, Twayblade, Pignut, leaves of Meadow Saffron and large swathes of Bluebells. Bill showed us some Cotham Marble as we walked along the Little Avon River and we learnt a lot about the history and management of this lovely area. Thanks to Bill for leading.

Rosemary Brown