Although suffering from 'man flu' I took Bramble along for a walk around one of my favorite local walks at Nercwys forest. Over time man has had a huge impact upon this area, changing the landscape quite dramatically. With these many changes the effect upon local flora and fauna has also been dramatic. In an evolutionary timescale the changes have occurred within just the blink of an eye which means wildlife has been hard pressed to adapt or evolve to the swiftly changing landscape. After centuries of sheep farming and open moorland the land was used for lead mining in the mid to late 1800's with some remains of the sturdier buildings still visible. There are remains of a Bronze age burial cairn and remains of more recent farm buildings tucked away along the trails. The site of what was once a large walled vegetable garden has had its dry stone wall reconstructed and now contains a wildflower meadow where old breeds of pig and sheep can sometime be seen, used to graze the area as it would have been done many years ago.
Then in the 1960's the area was acquired by the Forestry commision and large areas of non-native conifers such as Silver pine were planted for the timber industry. This managed woodland is pleasant enough and is home now to a reasonable amount of wildlife but I always feel that a large part of these areas should be given over to native trees which would, in my opinion, support a much larger and more diverse amount of wildlife.
The walk itself was a little bittersweet if I'm truly honest. I've mentioned in previous posts that this year it would appear a far greater number of trees have been felled for timber and the place has lost some of its atmosphere and its feel of a 'slightly spooky fairy tale forest'. Also a lot of the trails have been 'improved' by being flattened, widened and hard-cored, to allow easier access for people which has also had an effect upon the atmosphere by losing many of the twisty and narrow pathways. Easier access also attracts folk who have no idea of the impact on such areas they can have. I always try to abide to my rule of leaving no trace of myself being there, apart from the footprints of my walking boots, and leaving the area untouched. But even this early on in the year the detritus left by folk is alarming. I suppose it's not just folk being bone idle but also a lack of understanding of the effect of all the discarded drinks containers, food wrappers etc have on wildlife. I picked up tin cans, plastic bottles and crisp packets which filled my small knapsack by the end of the walk, with each item a potential death trap for small creatures. What really gets my goat is that the bloody things are lighter once empty than when these imbeciles started walking with them!
|Just some of the detritus I picked up...|
|A mountain of moss with spore cases just starting to appear.....|
|Something so primitive about Lichens, probably why they appeal to me...|
|Sometimes the minute can look scary...|
|Colt's-foot, the flowers appear before leaves...|
Of course Bear was not to be out done by a few photographs of flora....
|On the walls of the old mine buildings...|
|In her natural habitat once again....|
|Nope I'm not coming out yet dad......|
Another sign of Spring was the vast amount of frogspawn found in one of Bear's favorite watering holes...
|She just has to get in on the act.......|
All in all Nercwys forest still holds some magic, especially when the sun is shining through the trees and the paths are free of people.....
|Old breed sheep in the wildflower meadow......|
I hope you enjoyed this stroll around Nercwys forest, till the next time take care....