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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

11 May, 2014

Wilkswood (Langton West Wood)

This wood is known locally as Langton West Wood but as it is signposted Wilkswood and the National Trust sign says Wilkswood that is the name I use. The Ordnace Survey map has no name for the wood.
Whilst Wilkswood is not considered to be ancient woodland it does contains many of the indicator species that one associates with ancient woodland including wood anemone and butchers broom. These are plants that spread very slowly and
therefore colonies of them that exist have often been in that location for many, many years. This particular woodland appears on maps that date back before 1800 and the woodland itself is almost certainly much older.
A stream runs through the wood which has steep banks on each side which form a wooded valley and that is why it has escaped agricultural improvement, it would be very difficult to farm this area. This also means that the paths are often very muddy and quite steep in places so, sadly, this is a site for the more physically able- bodied only!
The best time for any woodland of this nature is the spring, before the leaf canopy opens. The woodland floor is ablaze with golden lesser celandines, yellow primroses, white wood anemones and green dogs mercury. Birds are then singing as they feed amongst the scrub and early insects, especially hoverflies, abound. There are few better ways to spend a warm spring day than wandering slowly through broad leaf woodland and Wilkswood is certainly one of the best in southern Dorset.
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