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Stoke Row – 19 September 2018

Marion Venners and Maggie Bridges led a walk which started from the Cherry Tree Inn at Stoke Row on Wednesday 19 September. The route led steeply down through Beech woodland where, despite the prolonged dry weather conditions, a few Parasol Mushrooms were found. Pale leaves and a few stout red berries on the ground betrayed the presence of a Whitebeam tree next to the path. After crossing Newnhamhill Bottom, the walk continued along the lane towards Nott Wood. A Crab Apple tree, Scaly Male Fern, Wall Lettuce and Nettle-leaved Bellflower were noted here. A Raven was calling from the tops of the trees in Nott Wood and a fresh Puffball was found. Near Howberrywood, there was an arable field whose surface was covered with flints and other stones. Star finds here were a number of plants of Corn Spurrey, which is listed in the Oxfordshire Rare Plants Register and classed nationally as Vulnerable. The next footpath led through several more arable fields, with far-reaching views on both sides. Red Bartsia and Chicory were found here. One of the fields had more Corn Spurrey growing up between the crop. The path then ran next to a small wood which had a deep chalk pit. A herd of brown and white longhorn cattle were grazing in a field beside the track. The walk continued past English Farm, which had a range of attractive flint and brick buildings and a magnificent old barn. Turning back south-eastwards, the next track led gently down the valley bottom and into woodland. In the hedge beside the path was a thornless wild plum with sweetish purple fruits and a Speckled Wood butterfly was spotted in a sunny sheltered spot. Common Hemp-nettle was in flower beside the path. The final section of the route climbed steeply back up towards the village. The walk was followed by lunch at the Cherry Tree Inn.

Pictures by Marion Venners and Jan Haseler