Littlewood



Announcement:

Littlewood, off Claverham Drove, was purchased in 2003. It is a 6 acre former plantation dating from about 1830, with some veteran alder trees that are at least as old as the wood itself.  Littlewood is important for these old and unusual trees and the fungi and insects that depend on their life-giving decay.

It is also a valuable shelter for birds on Kenn Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest and attracts flocks of small birds to feed on alder seeds in winter.

Inside the wood natural processes are being allowed to take place and it is left as undisturbed as possible. Visits to the wood are usually organized through open days and guided walks.

Educational use or personal visits are by prior arrangement with the warden (email us).

Read more about  The History of Littlewood.

See the  Littlewood Fact File   for more information including the main known species list.

 flickr photos of this reserve.

News bulletins for Littlewood are listed below.

High-rise home for bees – 22nd March 2015

A Warre hive has been installed in our small woodland reserve at Littlewood.  Woodlands are very good habitat for bees and we hope that this hive will soon be populated with honey bees. The bees will be left to live in a natural way and no honey will be taken from them by YACWAG.  Many thanks are due to Janice and Andrew Hunter for their help and expertise in siting and securing the hive, and to the Blake family for donating it.

 

The photo of the bees taken today is through the inspection hatch of a
similar hive.

Even more barn owl success September 2014

We are delighted to report more barn owl chicks, this time ( and for the first time) in our Littlewood reserve. Chris Sperring MBE, from the Hawk & Owl Trust has ringed the five owlets, and he described it as a great conservation success story.  It is remarkable in that as well as being very late, Chris ringed two Tawny Owlets from the same box in May and after that a pair of Stock Doves nested in it. Three species nesting in one box is something of a record and as Chris pointed out it is unusual for Barn Owls to nest in woodland. There is one small chick but provided the weather over the next month isn’t too wet the prospects look good.

This is the third ‘YACWAG’ barn owl nest this year with a total of 14 young, both records and all the more welcome in view of the precarious state of the local population following rain, floods and cold springs in recent years.

 

 

Tawny Owls at Littlewood May 2014

Tawny Owls have successfully produced 2 owlets at Littlewood.  (Photo by Noah – one of our younger members.)  These have been ringed by Chris Sperring.

 

Littlewood Tawny Owlets

 

Noah and friend at Littlewood

Littlewood news – April 2014

Littlewood nest – April 2014

A walk through Littlewood in April brought a few surprises.

The first was a nest lying on the ground – probably cleaned out of a nesting hole by a new occupant.  It was woven almost entirely from single nylon threads from agricultural string used to bale hay.

The second surprise was blossom on a  wild cherry tree. We have not planted this tree but nature brought it to us to add to the wood’s diversity. We have been watching it grow for the past ten years but this is the first time we have seen it in flower. Hazel is another new incomer.

Flowers were also on the many redcurrant plants throughout the wood. There were many fine clumps along the eastern ditch where we cleared bramble last year. It was also exciting to see Hemp agrimony and common valerian coming up to flower along the ditch edge. The insects will be very pleased to have some new nectar sources within the wood.

It was good to see the re-emergence of many dog violets, enjoying a bit more light on the eastern side, and an inconspicuous flowering plant called three-nerved sandwort.

Looking up into a blue sky the new alder leaves are gradually opening.

It was nice to see a fox slinking away from us into the blackthorn thicket, waving its very large brush.

More pictures of Littlewood taken on the visit are in the Flickr folder.

Tony & Faith

Small Mammal Survey at Littlewood 19th-21st October 2013

On Friday the 18th October 40 Longworth Traps and 10 Tube traps were placed along the length of Littlewood reserve either side of the path running through the east side of the wood. The traps were each checked 5 times, twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday and on Monday morning when they were collected.
 
We had a total of 55 catches which is about half the number compared with a similar survey in October 2012. This time we fur marked all of the mammals caught so can confidently say that we caught 41 different Woodmice, 1 Bank Vole and 1 Field Vole.
 
This continues the trend we have found in surveys of other YACWAG reserves this year where Vole numbers are significantly down, 12 Bank Voles in Littlewood last year, although this was the first time that we have recorded a Field Vole in the wood. Woodmouse numbers caught were higher than last year but this year we failed to catch any Shrews. Last October we caught both Common and Pygmy Shrews in the wood.
 
If size alone is a good indication then it would seem that a large number of the mice were juveniles. Before we start surveying next year I will be looking into the value of recording weights of small mammals and whether this will give us an indication of the health and age of the population.    Richard Croucher

Exciting moth found at Littlewood Reserve 29th June 2013

 

Scallop Shell Moth

2 moth traps were set up at Littlewood Reserve and 30 different moths were recorded.  The star moth was the Scallop Shell (rheumaptera undulata) of which there are only 17 records from the Bristol Region. The Moths of the Bristol Region  describes them as ‘thinly distributed and uncommon resident’. Its habitat is woodland in marshy areas. From 1990 onwards it was designated as very local and very scarce. It is said to be found in the Gordano Valley and some of  the larger woods and known to feed on sallows.  We will pass this record to BRERC (Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre).

Littlewood Breeding Birds Survey Spring 2012

The latest  LITTLEWOOD SURVEY BOOK  produced by Trevor Riddle and his team is available here.

Littlewood moth trapping 24 July 2012

Faith and Tony Moulin took advantage of the improvement in the weather and set some moth traps at Littlewood.  Over 100 moths were caught and later safely released –  31 macro species and  2 micros. The largest single count was Smoky Wainscot. 

Smoky Wainscot Littlewood 24 July 2012

      

Large Emerald Littlewood 24 July 2012

 

First Littlewood Bird Survey of the season

The first Littlewood bird survey took place today (5 April) in conditions totally removed from the warm sunny Strawberry Line survey last week – it was dull and very cold.

Nevertheless 6 chiffchaffs and 3 blackcaps were singing in the wood. A major surprise were 5 redwings perhaps wondering if it was wise to fly further north. On the other side of the coin, a flock of 20 swallows were on the moor adjacent to the wood, with another 40  near the black ditch. A single lapwing was seen north of Littlewood, no doubt attempting to nest.  Trevor Riddle