The woodland habitat in this area appears in three forms: the lane, the open hazel and ash woodland which this leads to, and limestone grykes, though the latter are few here.

The flora in the lane show that the trees lining it are remnants of past woodland. They include patches of Herb Paris Paris quadrifolia, Goldilocks Buttercup Ranunculus auricomus, Wood Sorrel Oxalis acetosella, and the diminutive Town Hall Clock Adoxa moschatellina. These are plants that appear early in the season before the leaves of the trees block out the light. The dry-stone walls offer some shelter and partial shade.

False Oxlip

False Oxlip,
Oxenber Woods. Photo Christine Bell.

On entering Oxenber wood the colour is breathtaking, with Bluebells, Primroses Primula vulgaris, Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa, and interspersed, a few Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula. Primroses are shade loving and Cowslips P. veris are meadow flowers, so the hybrid flowers, False Oxlip P. x polyantha are found where the woods merge into more open spaces. It is here where the Bluebells, English species in the woodland, are becoming more robust with thicker leaves suggesting they are hybrids with the Spanish variety. Grykes in the limestone pavement offer shady, sheltered areas for ferns, where today we saw Maidenhair Spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes, Wall rue A. ruta-muraria, and Hart’s Tongue A. scolopendrium. The last patch of woodland is more  dense, though recent coppicing will alter the light levels, and it is here we found Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris.
Josephine Drake