10 members met at Sandown Station last Wednesday for a walk up to Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve and Youngwoods Copse, led by Dave and Hazel Trevan.There was a rare “window” of pleasant weather for the duration of the walk, in an otherwise dull and wet few days.
We were fortunate in having Mary Edmunds with us from Wight Nature Fund who was able to give us some interesting information about the history of Wight Nature Fund and their management of Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve and Youngwoods Copse.We walked past Sandown Golf Club and onto Alverstone Mead,past Skinners Meadow which Mary explained was a riot of wild flowers earlier in the season.Highland Cows, which are used for habitat management were seen and we were told how Kevin the bull, in spite of his inability to perform was purchased by well wishers and now lives his days out on a farm!
The botanists in the group observed some good late flowering stands of Lamium album “White Dead Nettle” and Silene dioeca “Pink Campion”.In the hedgerows some excellent “Butchers Broom”, Ruscus aculeatus were observed, many with large red fruits.In Youngwoods Copse a fine example of the “Hard Fern” Blechnum spicant was observed by Jackie.
Two Red Squirrels performed on cue as we approached the hide.Mary was able to open the locked viewing room which is available to anyone paying a £10.00 annual fee.
As we walked through the woodland, a new Paul Sivell Tree sculpture could be seen by the fishing lake. It has only recently been completed and features the Green Man, Owls, a Squirrel and Kestrel.We walked along a shaded path where an “Earthstar” Geastrum triplex was observed.
Youngwoods Copse was very pleasant with trees still showing autumn colours. As we left the copse, we saw some very fine Birch Polypore Bracket Fungi(Piptoporus betulinus) on a mature tree.We then walked along the river back to Alverstone and then rejoined the old cycle way for the walk back.Jackie Hart spotted another couple of interesting fungi “Shaggy Scalycap”Pholiota squarrosa and Suillus granulatus the “Weeping Bolete” which was growing under Pine Trees.