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Friday, April 8, 2011

Wed 6th April 2011 - Haylands Plantation.

GG visited this site way back in June 2007 so it was nice to see how it has developed. For our readers who are unaware of it's location, it is behind the allotments on the Ryde / Upton Cross road. There is a small play area with swings etc and some lovely circular walks through the plantation area. This GG meeting seemed to be particularly well attended - a rough headcount was around 40 people there. The sun was shining.....the birds were singing.....and we were wheelbarrowing stone chippings from a huge pile ( just had an e-mail from Colin telling me it was 6 tonnes...!) down to the bottom of the site to form a mud free pathway. Other GG members were giving the site a general makeover - trimming back bramble and branches - opening up a clearing and generally making the whole area walker friendly. Most of our tasks were completed and the whole area looked more cared for by the time we came to leave.

“Carrie’s Nature Lesson”

This week we found some lovely Wild Cherry trees (Prunus Avium), which is a species of Cherry native to Europe and western Asia. It is the species from which most sweet cherry cultivars are derived, and is a deciduous tree growing up to 15m tall, and can attain an age of up to 200 years. It prefers a sunny position and is found in woods and hedgerows throughout the British Isles except Northern Scotland. The bark is shiny brown and peels away in horizontal strips, and it is sometimes grown for its reddish brown timber which is used for turnery products, furniture, veneers, decorative panelling and pipes; it also makes good firewood and you can smell the fragrance of the blossom as it burns. The mid-green leaves are elliptical in shape tapering to a point, and in autumn they turn a mosaic of vivid reds and yellows, orange, crimson and purple. The masses of snow white blossom appear before the leaves in March or April, and the flowers are usually white to pink with five petals and five sepals. Clusters of fleshy small cherries are produced in July, which provide food for a variety of birds including the rare and elusive hawfinch, which can actually crush the cherry stones with its massive bill.

At the time of publishing, I haven't received any photographs. If they arrive later I will attach them - watch this space...! They thanks to Carrie for sending them (again!) and for her nature lesson.

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