DCS Local Heritage Event : Spring walk in Brampton Wood

Saturday 28th April 2018 Return to Alumni Events


George Cottam introduces the wood

false oxlip

A false oxlip plant

Brampton Wood is the second largest ancient woodland in Cambridgeshire and is at least 900 years old. The first records date back to the Domesday Book. The trees include aspen, oak, ash, field maple and birch. The entire wood was once clear felled and has since naturally regenerated, now some areas are coppiced and provide a habitat for dormice. The wood is owned by the Wildlife Trust of Bedfordshires, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire and their warden, George Cottingham, guided us very ably on the day. George has been the warden of the wood for many years and was a very knowledgeable guide who claimed he was only selected for warden because he had a chainsaw licence!.

A rather small number of DCS members joined George at the car-park at a slightly earlier than usual 10 pm. The morning was overcast but the predicted rain had not materialised and we were little bothered about the few drops experienced for the whole trip. George gave us a potted history of the wood before we started our walk. The wood has several very wide rides which were planned for flowers and insects, especially butterflies and cut soon after the wood was taken over by the Trust and, of course, George's stewardship.

Initially we were shown several species of spring plant such as primrose, wood spurge, wood anemone and a single false oxslip (the hybrid between primrose and cowslip) and a cowslip. The butterflies had sensibly gone into hiding! All the time George explained how and why all the conservation work had been done over the years, how it was bearing fruition and how further projects were envisaged. This made it quite different from other walks and it was quite fascinating. It was also obvious that our guide liked trees, knowing all about their identification, history and diseases including individual ones in the wood that we were introduced to.


Discussion about false oxlip


Being guided


Beautiful bluebells ....


....disappearing ...


...into the distance

Having walked across the wood on rides we moved off onto narrower tracks to see a mature wild pear (no use for eating) then under the woodland canopy to see some of the best and most spectacular bluebell displays to be seen in Cambridgeshire, all interspersed with white greater stitchwort. Lots of photography followed!

The Black Bull Public House which is the oldest public House in Brampton is not that far from the wood car-park and we did not arrive there much before our due time of 1.00 pm despite the earlier start. However any tiredness was soon dispersed by some excellent food and continued discussion with George who joined us for lunch.

Our thanks go especially to George but also the helpful people at the Black Bull for a good Spring Walk.


Photographers in their element

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

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