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Love Oakley - Go Green!

Oakley Community Association Love Oakley - Go Green!

Bluebell Walks in Oakley and in Countryside Nearby

The outdoors is great for your wellbeing. It is a place for relaxation, peacefulness and activity. And at this time of year the bluebell woods are a wonderful place to enjoy with your family, a walking companion or on your own armed with camera or your senses fully engaged!

Finding your start point for Oakley and Local Bluebell Walks:

For households who are new to the area, or unfamiliar with these woods, we have provided a ‘what3words’ description for each start point, so anyone can find their location using GPS.

1. Open the what3words App on a mobile device or website

2. Type in the 3 word code (3 words separated by a dot, ".")

3. Press "Navigate" to navigate to the precise location through either the in-app compass, or through your mobile's map app (Google Maps or Apple Maps).

example: Great Deane Wood start location has the 3 words: ‘seagull.clerk.tracker’

Important Notes:

Parking: should you wish to drive to any of these start locations, please always park considerately as the space available is often limited. Make sure you do not block any field, driveway or track access routes.

Where are the bluebells? Most of these woods have either bluebell carpets or a lovely mixture of bluebells intermingled with many other wildflowers and other woodland plants. There may also be some along the hedgerows.

Footwear: depending on the weather some pathways could be muddy so do ensure you wear nonslip footwear if wet.

Marked pathways: please remain on the marked pathways at all times and do NOT pick or walk on the bluebells.

Dog control: wherever there are woods, there will be wildlife. At this time of year the ground birds will be nesting. Some of the bluebell woods you are passing by, or walking through, are active pheasant shoot woods under gamekeeper control. In addition, there is a high wild deer population [woods and woodland edges]. In the open fields, there are many hares as well as groups of wild partridges.

So please, for each walk, do keep a watchful eye on your dog, and not get too distracted by the bluebell sights! If he / she is a hunt type breed, we recommend you put him / her on the lead near the wood edge or when walking through the wood. In the note section for each walk there will be more information where there is an especially high wildlife presence.

Woodland Nature Notes:

Woodland glades are full of fresh green buds, trees and flowers in bloom, attracting insects and a variety of birds. Share the sunny glades with bees and butterflies, such as the early brimstone, peacock or red admiral.

Springtime wildflowers

Wildflowers open early in a race to bloom before the leafy canopy closes over. The woods become awash with colour, casting hues of white, blue, purple and yellow. First come primroses, wood anemones, wild daffodils and lesser celandine, then violets and early purple orchids, then later still, swathes of bluebells.

This patchwork of species spreads across the woodland in a wave of uplifting colour, as sunlight filters through the canopy and hits the woodland floor.

Bluebells 

In the spring bluebells stretch as far as the eye can see, filling the warm spring air with their heady scent.

Bluebells are an indicator species for ancient woodlands and provide a great source of nectar to a host of insect species including butterflies, bees and hoverflies. In the woodland, the bluebells have been springing up to form a gorgeous blue carpet that undulates across the woodland floor. 

Did you know?

•         Bees can steal the nectar from the plant by biting a hole in the flower at its base to reach the nectar without actually pollinating the flower.

•         Bluebell plants are poisonous if ingested as they contain glycosides.

•         English bluebells are being threatened by the Spanish bluebell. The two species are hybridising which is seeing a decline in our native English species. A good way to tell the two species apart is that English bluebells have white or cream pollen, and the Spanish ones have pollen that is either green or blue.

Information on Birds:

The drumming of the woodpecker... Keep your eyes peeled and ears tuned in for our more common and rarer birds. Immerse yourself in melodic bird song as you walk the woodland paths. You may spot great tits, blue tits, robins and blackbirds. Also look out for nuthatches, tree creepers, jays, wrens, chiff chaffs, black caps and chaffinches. Listen too for the drumming of the greater spotted woodpecker and the keening cries of buzzards that have been spotted regularly, circling effortlessly above the woods. 

Nesting birds in Spring

The birds are fantastic at this time of year, they chirp with gusto and vigour perched on high branches trying to attract a mate. As the weather gets warmer, birds start their nesting to make the most of the food supplies. Some species will even manage to have two broods if the first nest fledges early enough.

Early morning bird choruses are truly a delight to behold.

Watching birds in woodland can be very rewarding but, at the same time, very frustrating! The old adage "can't see the wood for the trees" certainly comes into play. You can be surrounded by bird song yet not see a single one. Birdwatchers then have to rely on the one piece of equipment they forget all about – their ears! Knowing your bird songs and calls is helpful, as tracking a bird using binoculars as it flits though thick cover can be almost impossible. Knowing what to expect is also useful. While there are some birds like chaffinch that occur in all woodlands, there are some that are more common in say deciduous woods and others like the goldcrest and coal tit that prefer coniferous woods. Once you have assimilated all that you can walk through a wood without binoculars, and even with your eyes shut, and still get a reasonable species list!

RSPB bird song identifier. A great link if you love birdsong, and want to know which bird it is:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-songs/what-bird-is-that/

What birds you see will also depend on the time of year. Winter can be a lean time. You can walk through a wood one day and see nothing at all and on another day – loads of birds. In winter birds such as tits, goldcrest, treecreeper, etc. tend to move around a wood in mixed flocks so unless you come across the flock you see nothing! Within these flocks you find the various species feeding on slightly different foods and at different heights.

Blue tits for instance can feed along more slender branches than heavier great tits. This all helps to avoid competition.

Come spring birds start to set up territories and become more vocal and of course we start to get the summer migrants. Which species you find will depend on the type of woodland. Oak woods will attract redstarts, if there is a stream running through you might find pied flycatchers; if there are clearings then tree pipits might appear. Lots of scrub will attract wood warbler, blackcap and garden warbler. It can be fascinating to survey the different types of wood and look at the species occurring in each. Eventually it is possible to look at a wood and predict what species you will find!

In late summer the woods go quiet as birds have nested, the young have moved off and the adults become secretive as they moult. By late autumn, most of the migrants have left and we start to get roving bands of tits and finches as they search out the fruits of the season. The first winter migrants – fieldfares and redwings arrive. They visit the woods for berries but also to roost, sometimes in flocks numbering hundreds or more.

Other Useful links:

https://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/tree-identification/