A Walk in Maggie’s Wood
When the Asby WI Committee planned their midsummer meeting – a guided walk in Maggie’s wood – they would have had hopes for a beautiful, warm sunny evening and, afterwards, refreshments out in the garden before the sun set. Unfortunately, the order of the day was warm clothes, rainproof outerwear topped off with beanies or hoods, following a very wet day!
However, the rain held off and the twelve members plus a guest were able to concentrate fully on the woodland walk with Dr Simon Smart, senior research scientist from the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Lancaster University. Heading for the wood, the group initially went through a magnificent field of buttercups where Simon indicated his first items of interest – pignuts, members of the carrot family, which to most members appeared to be ‘yet another umbellifer!’
Many more treasures were identified in the wood itself, among them: wych elm (a more resistant type of elm which survives the ravages of Dutch Elm disease), four different species of fern (identified by their different spores or tiny variations at the base of leaves), and fir cones (some smooth, some nobbly) typical of specifically identified conifers. The final ‘special’ of the evening was what Simon believed was almost certainly a false oxlip at its end-of-flowering stage.
The fascinating and most interesting evening’s walk concluded with refreshments served indoors by hostesses Maggie Johnson and Louise Reeve. However, as people emerged to walk and drive home, a great evening’s meeting was made even more memorable by seeing a glorious sunset in the west and a rainbow column in the direction of the Pennines. Very special!