Bellhurst Wood, Hurst Green

Field meeting reports

Meeting date: 4 May 2002

(Leader: Rachel Nicholson)

On a bright but fresh morning 19 members found their way down the track to Bellhurst Farm for the first meeting of the year. Late spring is surely the best time to walk in woods, and most of the typical plants were in flower.

Bellhurst is part ancient woodland (Hornbeam appeared to be the dominant tree, with evidence of past coppicing) and a deep ghyll runs north/south with a small waterfall where Luzula sylvatica (Great Wood-rush) grew plentifully. In a hollow on the eastern edge of the wood there were several specimens of Cardamine bulbifera (Coral Root). Interesting records included Ribes nigrum (Black Currant), Ranunculus auricomus (Goldilocks Buttercup) and Orchis mascula (Early Purple Orchid). About 30 species indicative of ancient woodland were found.

Later in the afternoon, on the way back to the start via a lane and a private drive, there were some very large specimens of Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted Orchid) not yet in flower, looking almost too perfect. They had been carefully mown around. Nearby in a meadow which looked unimproved there were several spikes of Orchis morio (Green-winged Orchid), along with Genista tinctoria (Dyer’s Greenweed) and Carex caryophyllea (Spring Sedge).