Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Bluebells are Blue

Siccaridge wood is in the Frome Valley and is about half a mile west of Sapperton. It is adjacent to the Sapperton Valley and Daneway Banks nature reserves. This is semi-natural ancient woodland has been managed as coppice for hundreds of years and is situated next to the Thames and Severn Canal. Access to the reserve is either from the canal towpath or from the road to Daneway and Tunley.

The wood includes ash, silver birch and beech and there is a glade noted for its lily-of-the-valley. Uncommon species found in Siccaridge Wood include angular Solomon’s-seal, herb Paris and bird’s nest orchid. Bluebells carpet the woodland floor in spring. It was this display we had come to see and whilst there are carpets of indigenous single stalked bluebells emerging we were about two weeks early for the full display.

The reserve is part of the National Dormouse Monitoring Scheme, where monitoring takes place monthly. There are also huge wood ant nests throughout the woodland floor and the open rides attract silver washed fritillary and comma butterflies. 

Historical records have been traced to 1576. At that time it was called Sickeridge Coppice and it belonged to the lord of the manor, Bisley. The name Siccaridge comes from the old English sicor hyreg which means 'secure, safe ridge'. The Bathhurst Estate acquired the wood in 1861. 

The path runs picturesquely between the Frome and the disused Severn Thames Canal. The canal leaves with mixed feelings. Whilst there is a fascinating display where nature has reclaimed the canal, if restored it would make a wonderful rural addition to our canal system.

dismantled locks

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