Sue Bradley from the Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust ex­plores the wild side of Barn­wood

Au­tumn is here and there are plenty of places to visit dur­ing the ‘sea­son of mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness’ in the Cotswolds, many of which are looked af­ter by Glouces­ter­shire Wildlife Trust. Sue Bradley ex­plores Barn­wood and meets a re­tired GP who is a g

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

Barn­wood sits on the old Ro­man road link­ing Glouces­ter and Cirences­ter and once ex­isted in glo­ri­ous iso­la­tion as a vil­lage.

Nowa­days it’s widely re­garded as a sub­urb of Glouces­ter, al­though the ex­pan­sion of the city has not wiped out its abun­dant pop­u­la­tion of wildlife.

One of the rea­sons for this is its small wa­ter­ways, in­clud­ing the River Twyver in the south and Wot­ton Brook, which crosses the mid­dle of the parish; along with the Hors­bere Brook flood stor­age ar­eas and wet­land, all of which at­tract a range of in­sects, am­phib­ians and birds, such as king­fish­ers, egrets, mal­lards and moorhens.

An­other spot that’s par­tic­u­larly rich in wildlife is Barn­wood Park, with its pic­turesque ar­bore­tum, once part of the land­scaped grounds of Barn­wood House, a build­ing de­mol­ished in 2001. The site off Church Lane is now owned by Glouces­ter City Coun­cil and looked af­ter by vol­un­teers from ‘The Friends of Barn­wood Ar­bore­tum’, a group ini­tially set up to care for the wood­land.

Their ef­forts have not gone un­no­ticed, with a Green Flag Award for 2018/9, and a ‘Bees Needs Award’, which recog­nises parks and com­mu­nity spa­ces that have made im­prove­ments to en­cour­age pol­li­na­tors, in 2016/17.

The park and ar­bore­tum con­tain a va­ri­ety of ma­ture trees, most of which are or­na­men­tal, with some more than 150 years old. Among their num­ber are six gi­ant red­woods, along with

At­las cedars, dawn red­woods, turkey oak and In­dian bean tree, to­gether with newer ad­di­tions of Per­sian iron­wood, red oaks and liq­uidambar, all of which con­trib­ute to a glo­ri­ous dis­play of colour in Oc­to­ber. The sites usu­ally host a wealth of fungi too.

The ar­bore­tum has a large area of unim­proved grass­land and an abun­dance of wild­flow­ers, which at­tract a num­ber of but­ter­flies on sunny days and moths as the light falls, along with a wildlife pond fre­quented by dragon­flies and am­phib­ians. Mean­while the park boasts a bed of nec­tar-rich peren­nial flow­ers.

Both sites are home to a range of an­i­mals, and pro­vide a valu­able habi­tat for birds, with black­birds, blue, great and long-tailed tits, dun­nocks, goldfinches, lesser black backed gulls, mag­pies, wrens and robins among the species recorded. Great spot­ted wood­peck­ers are reg­u­larly seen, along with oc­ca­sional green ones. A pair of ravens started vis­it­ing at the end of last year.

Dur­ing the sum­mer months it is grazed by Dex­ter cat­tle, while sheep take over in au­tumn and win­ter, a time when the Friends of Barn­wood Ar­bore­tum are par­tic­u­larly ac­tive in terms of their work to plant and main­tain trees and hedges, put up fences, clear scrub, plant bulbs and wild­flow­ers, lay chip­pings on the paths and put up bat boxes. The ar­bore­tum closes at 4.30pm from Oc­to­ber to March and 7pm from April to Septem­ber.

For a tree trail and more in­for­ma­tion visit: barn­woodar­bore­tumpark. yol­a­

King­fish­ers © Jon Hawkins Sur­rey Hills Pho­to­graph

Barn­wood Park tree carv­ing, by Candia Mckormack

Long-tailed tit © Chris Lawrence

Great tit © Chris Lawrence

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