Many will be aware of this piece of woodland down Black Pit Drove. Our Parish Council and Willingham Action Group have been working on this area over the past year to convert it into a pleasant area of woodland for families and dog-walkers to explore. Apart from clearing rubbish and planting a double hedge down the length of one side we have also been investigating the history of the field and its biodiversity. An outdoor lectern, similar to the ones at the orchard, with this information was commissioned. The cost of the research and production of the display was due to the award of a Magic Little Grant from the organisation Local Giving, to whom we are most grateful.
Quiz sheets for the nature trail will be available again from the beginning of April 2023 and are placed by the lectern at the entrance from Black Pit Drove.
It is named after the Barton family who managed the field for around 50 years, mainly for flower growing. For the past few years the plot has been left untended, undergoing a natural re-wilding process.
The small areas of broad-leaved woodland at each end include semi-mature ash, a few pedunculate oak and wild cherry, plus horse chestnut at the far end. Shrubs include hawthorn, hazel and dogwood.
Remnants of the previous use are evident, such as cultivated roses, gooseberries, plus sumach, conifers, orchard trees and a walnut.
The ground flora are dominated by rough meadow grass, but there is abundant false-oat-grass, cock’s foot, bearded couch, cow parsley and field bindweed. More rare are common cat’s ear, common mouse-ear, timothy, white clover, common vetch, smooth tare, smooth hawk’s beard, perennial ryegrass and common ragwort.
The newly planted native species hedge on the northern boundary includes hawthorn, blackthorn, wild rose, hazel and wild privet.