To satisfy pent-up demand, the March mid-week walk at Greys Green, organised by Sally Rankin, took place a record-breaking four times. There were two walks on each of Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 March, with Sally leading the first walk each day and Jan and Jerry Welsh leading the second. The Tuesday was the second hottest March day ever, with the morning temperature rising to 20⁰C. Continuous but thinning cloud cover on the Wednesday kept the temperature lower. The route started out around the village cricket pitch and into the wood to the north. Beside the path was a large area covered in daffodils. Some were large and looked like garden escapes, but others were smaller, with the typical pale tepals and narrow yellow trumpet of the Wild Daffodil. Brimstone and Peacock butterflies were seen here. Nuthatch, Stock Dove and Chiffchaff were calling, and from further away, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard. The footpath led steeply down through the wood and across a grassy field to Rocky Lane. The roadside banks were yellow with Lesser Celandines. Amongst them were pale purple Early Dog-violets, each with a darker purple un-notched spur. Blackcap and Mistle Thrush were singing and a Green Woodpecker called. After a short distance along the lane, the next footpath turned left up across another grassy field and into Sam’s Wood. A clump of white Sweet Violets was found near the entrance to the wood and further on was a small patch of Wild Daffodils. Bluebell leaves carpeted the woodland floor and amongst them were the first blue flower spikes. The leaves of Woodruff were noted beside the path. On the approach to Shepherd’s Green, the sustained trill of a Firecrest was heard coming from a tall group of conifers a little way back from the path. The footpath crossed the village green and continued towards Satwell. There followed a short diversion, with the owner’s permission, to the edge of an area of private woodland, where there was a wonderful display of Wild Daffodils. Some were growing strongly on the edge of the grassy field beside the wood. The rest were dotted amongst the dense cover of Bluebell leaves within the wood. A Bee-fly was spotted here. The walk continued into Padnell’s Wood, where logs delineated the footpath to protect the Bluebells from trampling and another patch of Wild Daffodils was admired. A Chaffinch was remarkably camouflaged by the leaves on the woodland floor. The next section of the route led back along Rocky Lane. White Sweet Violets grew in profusion on the roadside banks and Barren Strawberry was also in flower. A Goldcrest called, with its song clearly different to that of the earlier Firecrest. Further on, there was a pond beside the lane. One section of bank was purple with Early Dog-violets, while another section was carpeted with Primroses. The next footpath led down through Overland’s Wood, where the leaves of Goldilocks Buttercup were found beside the path. One group also found Wood Anemone and Moschatel here. The first Bulbous Buttercups of the year were in flower in the grassy field beyond the wood. A Brimstone, several Peacock butterflies and a pair of Pied Wagtails were spotted on the open village green at Shepherd’s Green. Several clumps of Orpine were found beside the track which led back to Greys Green just before it entered Sam’s Wood, then another Firecrest was heard from the trees next to the footpath along the edge of the wood. Finally, bright blue Common Field-speedwell flowers and abundant Field Wood-rush were dotted amongst the grass of the cricket pitch at Greys Green.
Pictures by Sarah White, Fiona Brown and Laurie Haseler