DCS Local Heritage Event : Spring walk in Upwood Meadows and Lady Wood

Saturday 7th May 2016 Return to Alumni Events


Matt talks about the meadow


Cowslips, green-winged Orchids and a photographer

Darwin College Society has been very lucky with the weather for it's past Spring Walks but although rain held off, the cloud and north-easterly wind made it cold enough to bring out warmer wear and chill hands. However our guide for the day, Matt Hamilton, who is in charge of all Cambridgeshire Reserves for Beds., Cambs. and Northants. Wildlife Trust (BCNWT), proved once again that he had the ability to fascinate and inform and so to banish all thoughts of cold.

We started in Upwood Meadows where Matt introduced the history of the meadows pointing out that one still had ridge and furrows from about the time of the Black Death whereas others had been improved up to 40 years ago. He outlined how the Trust was trying to re-establish the latter to flower meadows before we went to the former, where cowslips and green-winged orchids were in flower all over the meadow. These were admired by all and many photographs taken.

Matt took us around pointing out plants which would be flowering later in the year, ponds with great crested newt colonies and even one with tubular dropwort, an unusual plant in this part of the country.


Matt and the group discussing conservation


Searching around the pond


passing between bluebells

We then took the short path through the agricultural fields to Lady Wood where despite the weather, there was a non-stop rhapsody of songbirds as we admired the expanses of bluebells interspersed with the white flowers of greater stitchwort. Despite arranging a walk at approximately the same time as other years, the early, dry spring that we have been experiencing meant that we were a little late and the bluebells were sometimes in a mixture of those at their best and those going over so that the glorious scent that permeates bluebell woods at their best, was weak. However there were enough in good flower to appreciate their beauty. We stopped at the woodland pond the banks of which have been covered with primroses in the past but again they were all over except for a couple of blooms. From there we returned to the Cross keys Public House in Upwood who had kindly allowed us to meet and leave our cars in their car-park and we consumed a good lunch.

Our thanks go to the Cross Keys for their help and food and of course especially to Matt who kept up a stream of interesting information about conservation, plants and history over the trip and to the Wildlife Trust for buying and maintaining such a valuable gem in the countryside.


The Lady Wood pond

Pictures by Helen Moore (Click on the pictures for larger versions)

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