Where to See Five of the Planet’s Most Mysterious Geoglyphs

A geoglyph in the UK features in this article on April 20th 2017 Where to See Five of the Planet’s Most Mysterious Geoglyphs in the Smithsonian Magazine.

The Oxford dictionary defines geoglyph as – A large-scale image or design produced in the natural landscape by techniques such as aligning rocks or gravel or removing soil or sod, the complete form of which is visible only aerially or at a distance.

It’s surprising and pleasing that the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire is regarded as one of the five most mysterious geoglyphs. Research into the age of the Uffington White Horse considers it to have been created between 1200 BC and 800 BC, making it over 3,000 years old. There’s more about the White Horse at Wiltshire White Horses, and the National Trust. Below is a NASA satellite image of the Uffington White Horse.

Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger spring update for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog

The entrances to the heathland off Red Road, and into Brentmoor Heath display a Spring update notice from Ben Habgood, the Surrey Wildlife Trust ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. He can be contacted at info@surreywt.org.uk

In Ben’s Spring update notice he mentions to be on the lookout for orchids, which he says can be seen from mid-May onwards. I walked on the track alongside Folly Bog yesterday and found no evidence of their arrival. But then I’m no botanist. I’ll make a trip down to Folly Bog and see I can spot signs of the Early Marsh Orchid.

I think nature is a bit late this year. Our large camellia has only recently ended its flowering. In the past it’s finished its flowering in January.  [Click on the image to expand].

Wych Hazel at Cyril Hart Arboretum

Another of our walks, with friends, in the Forest of Dean was to the Cyril Hart Arboretum. It’s a compact arboretum, benefiting from having the tree names on labels, so often missing at National Trust gardens, making it fun to guess the tree name before reading the label.

Got a couple right, Wellingtonia, coastal redwood and common oak. O the large variety of pines left the only one I got close to getting correct was the Scots Pine, and even then with so many similar pines I wasn’t sure. If you’r in the area, it well worth a visit. There’s plenty of forest walks nearby and the Speech House Hotel for post walk refreshments.

There was one tree/plant in flower – Fothergilla major – American wych hazel – which presented its flower at eye-level. Here’s my photos of it – click on photos to expand.

Look out for and appreciate our native bluebells

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote about bluebells. I see no reason not to return to the topic. The joy of bluebells in our woodlands, hedgerows and roadside verges makes this time of the year special. Is there anything as lovely as a carpet of bluebells in a wood? I think not.

I heard on radio last week that the soil in Britain is perfect for our native bluebell – Hyacinthoides non-sripta. It appears we have half the world’s population. They are protected, and it’s a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells, with a fine of up to £5,000 for each bulb.

The Spanish variety Hyacinthoides hispanica is an introduced species, though similar, it doesn’t have the intense blue of our native bluebell, and sadly easily hybridises with our native variety, reducing the stock of our native variety.

If you’re intending to buy bluebells for your garden do please ask for the native variety. Here’s how you can tell the difference – taken from Wikipedia. Radio Solent has a photo montage of bluebell carpeting woodlands. The Natural History Museum has extensive comment on bluebells, should you wish to learn more.

Gardens to visit in Surrey at Easter

The National Garden Scheme is the biggest garden-based charity fundraiser in England and Wales. With 79 gardens open in Surrey in the year, there’s sure to be a garden to suit your taste.

Over Easter the following gardens are open,

  • Sunday 16th April: Caxton House, 67 West Street, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 9DA. Lovely large spring garden with Arboretum, 2 well stocked ponds, large collection of hellebores and spring flowers.
  • Sunday 16th April: The Chalet, Tupwood Lane, Caterham, Surrey, CR3 6ET. The Chalet sits on top of a steep hill with magnificent views towards the South Downs. Ponds have encouraged a myriad of wildlife, including newts, frogs, grass snakes, ducks and herons.
  • Monday 17th April: Coverwood Lakes, Peaslake Road, Ewhurst, Surrey, GU6 7NT. 14 acre landscaped garden in stunning position high in the Surrey Hills with 4 lakes and bog garden.
  • Monday 17th April: Timber Hill, Chertsey Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8JF. Beautifully kept 15 acre park like garden and woodland with views to N Downs.

Don’t forget to put Sunday 11th June in your diary, it’s the Frimley Green Gardens Open Day. There are 4 gardens to visit, and if memory serves me right, there’s tea and cake in each one. See HERE for more details.

Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog Ranger posts his Spring notes

The Surrey Wildlife Trust Ranger for Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog – Ben Habgood [info@SurreyWT.org.uk] – has posted his Ranger’s notes for Spring 2017 on the kissing gates leading into Brentmoor Heath and Folly Bog. Here they are below [click on image to enlarge],