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August 2011

From mid April to mid May the wood produced its annual spectacular display of bluebells and wild garlic carpeting most of the woodland floor in brilliant blue and white flowers. Since then however much of the woodland vegetation has succumbed to the shading effect of the very dense tree canopy, no doubt enhanced by the heavy rainfall in late Spring.

Late Spring also brought some of the strongest winds we have experienced for many years bringing down one or two mature trees and several large branches, reminding those who walk regularly in the wood of the dangers present during periods of high winds.

It was interesting to note three buzzards circling over the fields south of Redcar last month probably indicating that our resident pair of buzzards had successfully reared at least one chick.

It is very encouraging to see the lower path being so well used, to its full extent, as far a the Toll Rocks. How wonderful it would be if sufficient resources were to be found to extend this path with further board walks as far as the boundaries of Redcar, the large house on the left just out of the Village.

Tom Mack

Ivy agony *

The latest Menstrie Matters suggests:

If anyone is walking in the woods, why not take some secateurs in your pocket and snip at the ivy growing up the trees. Ivy eventually kills the trees and if you just cut it at ground level it will die away and leave the trees to thrive. We are always looking for people to help maintain the wood, please phone 763549 if you are willing to help.

This site's editor, on the other hand, counsels care and caution:

Ivy provides greenery (particularly in the winter), and food and shelter for wildlife; it is a native evergreen plant and part of the natural order in woodland such as Menstrie Wood. It does not harm healthy trees, but may eventually grow enough to make old and moribund trees top-heavy and susceptible to gales.

The Woodland Trust and the Virtual Ranger also have something to say about this.

Perhaps the moderate approach would be to concentrate on keeping trees overhanging the paths clear of ivy, but not to extend the extermination too far into the wood.

Check the links and see what you think.

* Q. Where does the phrase "It's agony, Ivy" come from?
A. If you aren't old enough to remember, here's the answer.

August 2011

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