In Spring woodlands are fantastic places to be; the birds are singing to mark their territories, invertebrates are emerging and wildflowers are bursting into colour. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has a number of woodland reserves all with a variety of Spring flora currently emerging!
The UK has the lowest percentage of woodland areas in Europe; approximately only 12% of the UK is considered woodland. Despite there being so little, the array of wildflowers found in British woodlands is a sign Spring is underway.
Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are a woodland species which carpet the woodland floor and produce a sweet scent. They are commonly used as an indicator for ancient woodlands. The flowers are on the end of a long stalk, where they droop to one side. Half of the world’s population of Bluebells is found in the UK! This species should not be confused with the non-native Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), which has upright stems and no scent. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manage several woodland reserves where Bluebells can be seen, such as Coed Penglanowen, in Ceredigion, and Brynna Woods, on the outskirts of Rhondda. On some reserves such as Brynna Woods a management technique known as coppicing has been undertaken, allowing more dappled sunlight to reach the woodland floor and encourage growth of species such as Bluebells and Wild Garlic.
There are a number of other wildflower species to be looking out for at this time of year including Wood Anemone, Lily of the Valley, Lesser Celandine and Red Campion, to name a few. Some species such as Cow Parsley are hard to miss as it can grow up to a metre in height.
Some of our reserves are ideal if you fancy a woodland walk to spot the wildflowers emerging, including: Pengelli Forest in Pembrokeshire, Coed y Bedw in Cardiff, Coed y Bwl in Bridgend, Castle Woods in Llandeilo, Poor Man Woods in Llandovery and Gelli Hir Woods in Swansea.
When visiting these woodland sites it’s important to watch your step and not to pick the wildflowers, allowing them to reseed for another beautiful display next year.
Find out more information about how you can encourage wildflowers in your garden, or become a member of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales to help us carry out our vital conservation work.