Quantock Hills Blog

Spring is in the air

- Nic our ecologist and volunteer co ordinator has been out enjoying the joys of spring.

Nichola Penn

Posted by Nichola Penn on 29 April 2014

Spring is in the air I love this time of year; when everything comes alive and the greens are so vibrant. The days are getting longer and there is more time to be active, to get out into our lovely countryside. So I thought I’d share with you some of the wildlife awakenings I have spotted recently.

The larch is the only deciduous conifer that is native to central Europe.  It was introduced into Britain in the 17th Century and is now scattered far and wide across our landscape.  The reason I mention it is that they are beautiful at this time of year; their new needles are sprouting in bright green tufts and the female flowers (which will ripen into the brown cones once they are pollinated) are beautiful pink ‘larch roses’.  They can also be green or white but the pink ones look like raspberries dotted about on the sprouting twigs.

Other trees are gradually unfurling their leaves, the horse chestnut leaves are bursting out of their sticky buds, initially with their fingers closed, soon to open wide ready for the sunshine.  My personal favourite, the beech is starting to look green and vibrant. It looks its best just after the rain, the contrast of the dark smooth bark and the lime green leaves is fantastic.

The verges are being over taken by spring flowers; primroses, greater (and lesser) stitchwort, red campion, and cuckoo flower to name but a few.  Alexanders, once eaten in abundance (similar to angelica or parsley) is one of the first things of the year to flower near the sea, although they are everywhere now.  It has yellow-green flowers and was introduced to the UK by the Romans, who called it the ‘pot herb of Alexandria’ because every part of it is edible.

Not only are the plants coming alive after a long winter, so are the animals and birds, the invertebrates are emerging too.  Look out for the brimstone butterfly - unmissable flash of yellow on a warm day along with the peacocks and small tortoiseshells - a sure sign that summer is on its way.  We have just started to survey the butterflies around Fyne Court and Cothelstone Hill so if you see people walking along with their clipboards on a sunny day that is what they are looking for.

I was positive I heard a swallow a couple of weeks ago but didn’t spot it - they have been reported in Somerset though so listen out for their chattery calls, they won’t be long.

If you would like to join us on one of our events, follow this link to book on.  I will be running a Wildlflower Wander in June - date to be confirmed, so do come if this is something you are interested in.

Nic.

Photo: cuckoo flower

 


Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)

Add your comment

  • There are no comments for this entry
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Stay in the loop

Annual Reports

View Annual reports from the Quantock AONB Service

Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund

The Quantock Hills AONB Service now has a Greater Quantock Landscape Development Fund providing grants of up to £20,000 to local communities, farmers, landowners and individuals. The fund has been provided by EDF Energy and is part of the mitigation measures associated with the Hinkley Point C development.

Information leaflets

Find out more about the geology of the Quantock Hills AONB, why the heathland is so important for birds, the red deer on the Quantocks and why the history of the landscape is so special.

Other organisations and activities in the Quantocks

A few things you might find interesting from organisations we work with in the Quantocks

Photography Competition Entry Form

Please down load and return with your fabulous entries

Policys and Codes of Conduct

Everyone enjoys spending their time on the hills doing different activities. Below are some guidance and policy documents to ensure they are carried out safely and that wider regulations are followed.

Quantock Deer Count Results

Annual deer count results for 2010 to 2017

Quantock Hills and Planning

Downloadable documents for you to better understand the Quantock AONB and planning processes

Quantock Hills Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) Papers 2014 - 2017

Papers from the partnership committee the Joint Advisory Committee

Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019

This is the the Quantock Hills Management Plan 2014 - 2019. It will guide work carried out to protect and enhance the Quantock Hills by the AONB team and all our partners. It has been agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment and adopted by Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Quantock Hills Visitor Guide

Recreation Leaflets

a full range of leaflets from circular walks to event guides and leaflets to allow you to enjoy the best of the hills

Terms and Conditions for Quantock Hills Facebook page

Terms and Conditions for http://www.facebook.com/Quantock.hills

Tick Leaflet

Ticks are becoming more common and a bite from this spider-like parasite could lead to Lyme Disease. This is a treatable infection caused by bacterium transmitted by ticks when they bite. Not every tick carries Lyme Disease and it is important to realise that the disease is relatively rare.

Information

Useful Contacts

Quantock AONB Service
Tel: 01823 451 884

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01823 652 400
www.somersetwildlife.org

National Trust
Tel: 01823 451 814
www.nationaltrust.org

Forestry Commission
Tel: 01278 732 319