• Those hidden limes continue to intrigue

    Last weekend took us back to a long unvisited yet favourite haunt - the path along the Pentaloe Brook below Haugh Woods & this time we walked further on to complete a bigger loop than we'd done before. Hardly surprising that the walk produced a few new discoveries. That any of the native limes survived in Haugh in the wake of blanket softwood reforestation by the Forestry Commission in the 50s, 60s & 70s is very fortunate, probably largely down to the fact that these trees grow on virtually inaccessible terrain for planting anything. Many of the limes survive in close proximity to the conifer blocks (a feature that I've also seen in some of the intrinsically native lime woods in Lincolnshire) - limes will not be denied! Walk the Pentaloe Brook and you will find these amazing old coppice stools - many precariously hanging on to the steep slopes above the stream. My favourite is this remarkable tree (I've posted it before) that has dropped a bough over the stream that has rooted and grown up as a secondary tree. Interesting to see how the deer have chewed off all the easily accessible leaves from the base, causing the tree to throw up numerous epicormics.

    Further round the loop we walked we found a beautiful small-leaved lime pollard, silvered by an abundance of flower bracts. Lime pollards are far less common than coppice stools in Haugh indicating historically different grazing regimes. One assumes that the stools within the wood were part of stands that were once periodically fenced off to allow them to regenerate. However this pollard sitting on the edge of the wood and overlooking a broad pasture would indicate that this has long been a cleared tract of land for grazing animals, as I'm sure early maps would confirm and perhaps hint at the actual age of the tree. I feel confident it's well over 200 years old, but it would be fascinating to do a bit more research.

    On our way out of the woods we spotted a couple of silver-washed fritillaries, but far too jumpy to get any decent shots.


Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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