After a series of incidents involving four wheel drive vehicles entering the old wood and causing problems we blocked off the southern part of the woods with tree trunks.
However the move proved unpopular with walkers who accessed the wood that way. We have now cut a way through the tree trunks so that walkers can once again access the wood from that direction.
Small Teasel (Dipsacus pilosus) is not a common species in Shropshire but it has appeared on The BreadWalk. It differs from the more frequently seen Teasel (D. fullonum) by its having smaller and spherical flowering heads compared to the conical heads of Teasel. The latter is often found around Ludlow on waste ground and churchyards etc. whereas, Small Teasel has been spotted in Ludlow Castle last year. Now we have it growing nicely along the Breadwalk. It is biennial and likes damp shady conditions, si its present site on Whitcliffe is ideal and the plants can be admired by passing walkers.
Three trees down and two paths blocked so the volunteers were in action to clear up, and when they did so they found a view down to the River Teme, unseen for many years, had been restored.
The casualties were a hornbeam and an oak, both uprooted by the heavy rain. We also took the opportunity to clear some paths of leaves.
A further casualty has left the BreadWalk temporarily closed. It’s too big and too precarious for the volunteers to tackle so awaits the attention of the professionals.
several walkers are still scrambling under and over this tree, despite signs saying the path is closed. Please be aware this tree weighs many tonnes and, if it shifts as you scramble under it, we are not responsible for the consequences.
The Friends of Whitcliffe work team have been hard at work removing scrub and overgrown branches alongside the main road above Ledford lay-by in order to improve the sight lines for vehicles leaving the lay-by.
Friends of Whitcliffe Common Trustees have welcomed plans for the memorial soldier on Whitcliffe to return for a week each side of Remembrance Day but decided that having the silhouette there all year round would make it less special.
Rick Summers said the soldier had been absolutely right to celebrate the centenary this year but would would lose its poignant effect if it was there all the year round.
“We already have a permanent memorial bench and we should welcome the silhouette back into position for a week each side of Remembrance Day as well as look at any future special anniversaries.
Fungi of Whitcliffe Common
Autumn on Whitcliffe is a beautiful time. Golden colours, stunning light but above all its fungi. The array of habitats and mix of trees mean a diversity of toadstools.
Fungi and trees have evolved together for millions of years and have become mutually dependant. The red and white-spotted fly agaric associates with birch and is a frequent sight at the top of the Common.
In the meadow around the toposcope look out for colourful little jewels that are waxcaps. These thrive in old grassland not poisoned with fertilizers and pesticides.
The fungal stars of Whitcliffe are its ancient trees – oaks, beeches and sweet chestnuts. These have been hollowed out by the action of fungi. Far from making the trees dangerous, it helps them to survive by reducing the forces from high winds. Hollow trunks and branches become homes for wildlife such as owls and even pine martens.
So the next time you take a walk on Whitciffe and spot a mushroom sprouting out of the ground or on a tree, just remember that without fungi there wouldn’t be the wealth of wildlife and the Common would look very different indeed.