The woodland is bursting into life at this time of year and, as I walk through the trees, I can hear the skylarks singing above my head and curlews calling from the banks of the River Severn.
Hector’s and Joy’s woods were planted in March 2015 and the woodlands are made up of holly, oak, alder, black poplar, field maple and birch, all species native to the UK and commonly found in Shropshire. The trees are now fully established with some up to six feet tall.
Not only are the trees flourishing but the wildlife around them is thriving. Before the trees were planted the land was used for agriculture. Now, native flora and fauna have colonised the area. Cuckoo flower (also known as Milkmaids or Lady’s Smock) can be found in Joy’s Wood and is said to appear at the same time as the first cuckoo can be heard. Orange tip butterflies, a true sign of spring, can be seen feeding on the flowers. Nettles and brambles have also colonised, providing precious shelter and food for butterflies such as the Comma and Speckled Wood.
Foxes have also taken up residence in Joy’s Wood and a newly dug den can be seen in the hedgerow. At this time of year, the female fox or vixen can give birth to up to six cubs, who will remain in the den for four weeks before venturing outside.
Hector’s and Joy’s Woods are truly special places, stabilising the vulnerable River Severn floodplain, absorbing carbon dioxide and providing a habitat for local wildlife.