A short walk through Ox Close Wood last Sunday proved very fruitful.
A number of fungi are still showing including the common Orange Peel fungus that grows on the soil of unploughed fields and (pictured) the Yellow Brain fungus. This is a parasitic fungus that gets its nutrients from other fungi that feed on dead wood.
Mandarin Ducks are frequently seen on the river. There are eight here.
After not being seen in the area for six or seven years, we thought that the Wall butterfly had become extinct locally. Their numbers throughout the UK have declined rapidly over several recent decades and they now have a High Conservation Priority. Their decline is likely being caused by climate change…. it is thought that warmer summers are causing them to start an additional brood which is laid too late for their under-developed larvae to survive autumn and winter.
So how lovely it was to see their return with quite a few adult butterflies being seen in and around Ox Close Wood and on the way up to Woodhall.
Another new butterfly for the parish this year has been the Dark Green Fritillary. It has been expanding through Yorkshire and had been seen ovipositing in Ox Close. Unfortunately we don’t yet have a good photo of this butterfly. But if you have….!
For those who are unable to join us on Fridays, on the Sundays of 1st December and 2nd February we will be holding Weekend Workparties. Families included. Tasks will include hedge planting and making brash piles. Please bring a snack, gloves, suitable clothing and footwear.
Meet in Crabtree Lane car park at 10am. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Rose briars are bearing strange fruit this time of year. It would seem that the lazy owner of the dog that resulted it this ought to be on his, or her, lead. It’s a shame that all dog owners can’t be responsible people. As with football hooligans; it’s the actions of a minority that gives the rest a bad name.
Ox Close is a nature reserve. Our activities and aims are for the enhancement of nature and the enjoyment of the public. Please respect our wishes…. dogs must be ona lead and clean up any mess.
For the first time since the 18th century, cows are grazing in Ox Close Wood!
The cows will graze the paddock for a few weeks after which they will go to another reserve to continue their conservation grazing.
Once part of the Common lands of EastKeswick, Ox Close was a wood pasture where wood and timber could be cut and extracted during the winter months and animals grazed during the summer by the Commoners of the village – usually the most prominent residents. By the end of the 18th century, the management of Common lands was deemed inefficient so increasing numbers of individual parish Parliamentary Enclosure Acts were passed to provide the legal framework for privatisation. All Commoners rights to graze in Ox Close ceased at the beginning of 19th century on the enclosure of East Keswick when the wood became part of the Harewood Estate.
The photos show three cows, each with a calf being let into the wood. Because Clarita (below) has horns, she had to be transported separated from her calf and separately from the other cows.
Clarita walks out of the trailer, looking for her friends.
In July, the Trust ran another successful course with Flora Locale on woodland management to improve biodiversity. The photos show the group looking at the newly created coppice coupe in Elliker Wood and discussing the fluctuating water temperatures in the River Wharfe
During the winter months, the eastern boundary of Ox Close wood has been cut back. Trees that were overhanging the field have been removed or trimmed back to allow more light to the field edge thereby benefitting any growing crops. To maintain a boundary a new hedge has been planted along this side of the wood. Thanks go to The Woodland Trust for supplying the plants, guards and supports.