Limekiln Wood, Wednesday 13th April 2016
Twelve of us gathered on a lovely warm spring morning at the entrance to Limekiln Wood at Steeraway. Cars were parked neatly so as not to impinge on access to the farm and residences.
Limekiln Wood is a part of the former Royal Forest of Wrekin and is, according to Natural England, one of the most botanically interesting woods in Telford supporting a range of limestone flora. In the past the area has been used for quarrying and mining and remnants of these activities remain visible today.
We set off and had immediate success when a pied shieldbug was found. This was the first one I had seen for two years – where have they been hiding?
After a short distance we strayed off the path and came across former lime kiln workings.
And a second success – a green shieldbug in its brown winter colour. Thinking that such early finds were indicative of great invertebrate things to come I did not photograph them – what a poor decision - invertebrates proved to be very elusive during the rest of the day. However this is one of the most botanically interesting woods in the area so I shall not dwell on its lack of invertebrates!
The path we took passed many sunken areas. I attempted to photograph one but trying to show a three dimensional effect on a two dimensional photograph does not do it justice. Anyway here it is.
These are the sites of former bell pits. These were small mines where a vertical shaft was sunk into the seam of material to be extracted then a chamber developed sideways as extraction took place. Little support was used so when the structure became unsafe the pit was abandoned and another shaft sunk nearby.
Our wanderings brought us to a small clump of Common Tamarisk-moss.
And then to a couple of areas of grassland.
Plenty for the botanists to study; very few invertebrates – but I am not dwelling on that. We moved on.
In amongst the trees the ground flora was beginning to blossom. Wood anemone and bluebells were to the fore with smaller patches of lesser celandine and the occasional outcrop of wood sorrel making an appearance on moss covered logs.
Another plant found in profusion was wild garlic which carpeted vast areas of the woodland floor. This had yet to come into flower although a few had blossomed. This will make an impressive sight in a little while.
What is this?
A desirable residence overlooking a lake in need of a little TLC? An adventure playground?
We lunched, well most of us did.
Close to the lunch spot was a wet area where several streamlets made their way down the slope with large areas of deep mud between – I know it was deep mud as I tested it and I got stuck – only temporarily I must add as I managed to extract myself without assistance.
This area proved a haven for the fungi hunters. Of particular interest was a small cup fungus that appeared to be growing from plant bulbs, possibly wood anemone.
Our meanderings continued until we found ourselves back at the spot where the cars were parked. We returned home after an excellent day in an excellent site.