Friday, 26 January 2018

During the winter of 2016-2017 a section at the western end of Wall Wood next to Woodside Green was commercially coppiced. Wall Wood is a ‘purlieu wood’ meaning that it is not part of the Forest but is subject to most or all of Forest Law. A visit was paid in January 2018 to assess the level of regeneration. The results are shown in the photographs below. There is a before and after. 

The wood has been deer fenced to try and prevent browsing damage. The notice tells people what Natural England and the Forestry Commission are trying to do in terms of regeneration of the ancient woodland. As you see not everyone agrees!

The great majority of trees coppiced were very old hornbeams. It is questionable whether they will regenerate.

Badger tunnels have been installed and are in good use-hopefully not by Muntjac as well.

Where some regeneration has taken place it has been browsed back as it is obvious that deer are not being totally excluded.

I believe the trees were cut with a ‘timber harvester’. The brash has either been piled into heaps or is just lying about. A year later there is little sign of seed germination or growth of vegetation on the Forest floor.

Monk Wood adjacent was coppiced in the same way a few years ago and seems to have recovered well. Let's hope Wall Wood does the same!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

BSNHS Visit to Therfield Heath, Sunday 12th of July 2016.

BSNHS Visit to Therfield Heath, Sunday 12th of July 2016. The target species were butterflies and members were pleased to see both Dark Green Fritillary and Chalkhill Blues. The weather was warm, in the high 20s degrees C with a strong, warm breeze blowing which made photography difficult. As before, members were treated to good views of Red Kite flying over the chalk escarpment.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

New tern raft launched.

On Tuesday 12thMay a new Tern raft arrived at Hatfield Forest Lake having been driven down from Huddersfield.

The raft is unloaded and bolted together. It is made of fibreglass with built in polystyrene floats and sides which do not allow access by Mink, ducks and geese.

It is then manhandled into the water.

A mixture of the shingle and gravel is loaded onto the raft. ‘Shelter tunnels’ for the chicks will be added later when it is on site.

Finally a solution is found to getting one of the helpers back onto dry land!
The raft will be moored near to the existing raft to allow the Terns to acclimatise before the old raft, which is falling to pieces is removed.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Visit to Battles Wood, Saturday 11th of April 2015.

In the region of 15 members visited this wood to have a look at and enjoy the spring flowers. We also made a species list of everything we found and recorded over 100 different types of plant, bird, mammal, mosses etc. It was a wonderfully sunny afternoon after a wet morning but with a chilly, blustery wind.

Please note that this is a private wood and we were given permission to visit by the owner Mr Toby Lyons who accompanied us. There is no public access or rights of way.
There was a fine show of Primroses in many parts of the wood.
We recorded both False Oxlips and proper Oxlips.

In some parts of the wood there were large areas of Ramsons or Wild Garlic.
In other areas there had been a wonderful display of Wild Daffodils which unfortunately were just about over.

On the other hand it is obvious that there is going to be a good display of Bluebells shortly but at present most of them are in bud. Similarly we found good numbers of Goldilocks-the woodland Buttercup which was also still in bud.

Birds in evidence included Buzzard, Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush. One Blackbirds nest was found with three eggs.
Everyone had a great afternoon of natural history and we were pleased to be able to continue a tradition for this Society which has been visiting the wood at least since the 1940s. Thanks to Mr Lyons for allowing the visit.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Lichens in Hatfield Forest Coppice february 2015.

The cold, damp and wet conditions prevalent in Hatfield Forest during February favour the growth of lichens. During our last coppicing session on 7th February there were not only pieces of lichen on the forest floor, presumably broken off from trees along with the twigs on which there were growing, but also on a large Field Maple that had been felled as part of the coppicing process. The bark of the latter tree seems to particularly favour the growth of lichens. I have given photographs of several species found with a tentative identification!  As might be expected in this situation all the lichens found are nitrogen and acid rain tolerant. I think that the first one is a fruticose lichen Ramalina farinacea.

The second one is a species of Lecanora showing the reproductive structures or sordaria. This is a crustose lichen.

The next is a type of Parmelia, a foliose lichen.

And the last one has got me stumped but it could be a type of Cladonia.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Hertfordshire Barbel.

See a shoal of feeding Barbel at

Monday, 9 June 2014

Little Hallingbury Marsh survey.

On the afternoon of Saturday 7th June 2014, nine members of the society met at Gaston Green and walked down  Mill Lane onto the Marsh.

There had been very heavy rain showers during the morning and threat of thunderstorms but the afternoon was warm and sunny. The group crossed the backwater and were excited to see a large pike holding station in the quite fast flowing water.
During the afternoon 106 species of plants and trees were recorded on the marsh and the towing path along the river.
We were pleased to see a Little Tern fishing in the river and had to sightings of a Heron one being very close-up as it took flight. Other birds recorded were the Whitethroat singing from a Blackthorn thicket, Wren and Chiff Chaff .
Damselflies recorded were large numbers of Banded Demoiselles, the males of which were engaging in chasing females and fighting between themselves, the Common Blue and Azure Demoiselle.
We were pleased to see a number of large mayflies being the Green Drake- Ephemera danica.  

We were pleased to see a number of large mayflies being the Green Drake- Ephemera danica.  It was pleasing to see that cattle grazing had returned to Tednambury Farm but it was commented upon that there was very little water weed growth in the Navigation. A very pleasant afternoon was enjoyed by all.