Rob Stallard picked a day of strong sunshine for his circular walk, starting from the Six Bells at Beenham. 7 members set out along the village street towards the church on Wednesday 20th April. The daffodils in the churchyard were past their best, but 10 days earlier they had been identified as Wild Daffodils. A footpath led from the churchyard into Old Copse, where there was a superb display of Bluebells, together with Wood Anemones, Wood-sorrel, Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, Yellow Archangel, Wood Spurge and about a dozen Early-purple Orchids. High above the wood, the blossom of the Wild Cherry Trees was white against the blue sky. The walk continued down a lane which was edged by a mossy earth bank, with abundant Common Polypody ferns on the top of the bank. The next footpath led across a grassy field. There were new leaves on a hedgerow oak, a Swallow flew overhead and an Orange-tip butterfly flew along the hedgeline.
Continuing to Upper Woolhampton churchyard, Meadow Saxifrage was found on an old grave and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen in a nettle patch. The route then led to Channel Wood, where there was another splendid display of Bluebells, together with Common Dog-violet, Moschatel and Cuckooflower. Towards the end of the walk, a large area of standing water and mud in a ploughed field split the party into the ones who waded through and got their boots very muddy, and the ones who took a drier alternative footpath. Grayfield Wood had some fine Wood Spurge plants in flower, and several Brimstone butterflies were seen nearby. Following the walk, lunch was enjoyed at the Six Bells.
Pictures by Rob Stallard and Jan Haseler