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A Living Landscape

Posted: Thursday 25th June 2015 by 30DaysWild2015

Woodland ride in Blackhouse WoodWoodland ride in Blackhouse Wood

An opportunity to purchase a nature reserve or protecting a link in a wild, living landscape.

A Living Landscape

Small leaved limeGill and I were lucky enough to be invited to take a special walk today through a special woodland.  Just a woodland walk?  That's a fairly normal act of wildness isn't it? Well, in a country that has one of the lowest percentages of woodland cover in Europe any woodland walk should be considered special, but Blackhouse Wood is particularly special.  Although parts of it show the signs of the ravages of commercial forestry from the 1960s, to even the untrained eye there are signs that this wood has a long history, probably stretching back to the ancient 'wildwood'. When I saw the signs, such as the small-leaved lime trees, I could feel my skin tingle.  Just a woodland?  Why do people not treat these places with the reverence that would be accorded to ancient cathedrals, after all they have been part of the landscape for longer and if we lose them we have no idea how to recreate the complex interactions between plants, animals and fungi which keeps them going.

Common spotted orchidBlackhouse Wood is particularly unusual in another respect too: Only 2% of Englands woods are of this ancient semi-natural habitat and only one in ten of these woods is larger than 2 ha; Blackhouse is 38.5 ha!  Blackhouse has another advantage too: it is adjacent to another, much less altered woodland, Crews Hill, already a Worcestershire Wildlife Trust reserve. It completes the woodland cover of the Suckley ridge which connects to the 'flagship reserve' at the Knapp and is within the Malvern Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There may be signs that animals such as birds and rare bats already move between these areas, through the wood.  There are patches of woodland which almost connect this ridge to the Wyre Forest in the north of the County.

Club-tailed dragon flyBlackhouse is a special link in a 'Living Landscape' where living things are able to move over a large area and are less suceptible to the pressures created by a large population living on a small island.

It's hardly surprising that this special place has been the subject of the Wildlife Trust's most recent appeal to raise the funds for its purchase.  It's hardly surprising that the appeal has been our most successful ever!

It's hardly surprising that this walk has been a very special Random Act of Wildness today.

...and that horse fly in the meadow where I parked the car managed to leave 4 puncture holes in my hand; it had its Random Act of Wildness too! Lucky I only type with one finger, my left hand looks like a football!

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