You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Blogger: Kim Matthews, Campaigns Officer
Hello and welcome to the Hintlesham OakeyDoke Awards after-show party. The bubbly is flowing and the nibbles are being passed around as we celebrate our winners...
You missed the OakeyDoke awards?!
Goodness me, Stephen Fry will be devastated! Oh ok, so he wasn’t actually there, but it was still packed with stars and celebrities...of the woodland kind! Thankfully it’s not too late to get involved, just head on over to our RSPB in the East Facebook page and get voting.
To be honest all the life that exists in this ancient woodland is special and important, and it needs our protection. But I’ll come to that in a moment.
Firstly, what makes a wood ’ancient’? Well, ancient woodlands are classified as having had continuous cover since at least 1600 AD, now that is a mighty long time. No wonder they harbour a wealth of plants and animals!
Allow me to introduce you to some of these amazing inhabitants, many of whom don’t have photos or even common names so you will have to excuse the sprinkling of Latin and marvel at the beauty of the language and the rarity of the creatures instead.
Almost all of the characters we met in our first category are classed as birds of conservation concern. The song thrush and marsh tit are red-listed species, whilst the nightingale and nuthatch are amber-listed. Only the great spotted woodpecker is doing well.
Plants and trees
The early purple orchid, green hellebore, herb-paris, spurge-laurel, hornbeam, wild service trees and small-leaved lime trees are all important woodland denizens. In fact, all but the orchid are classed as very good Ancient Woodland Indicator Species. These are species that seldom occur outside woodland and are generally slow to colonise new areas.
You’ve already met the red-listed pauper pug moth, but what about Acleris literana another moth found in only a handful of sites in Suffolk, including Ramsey Wood (which forms part of the Hintlesham Great Wood). There is also the beautifully named Mesosa nebulosa, a Red Data Book beetle that lives in deadwood in the canopy. I hadn’t even realised you could get deadwood in the canopy!
Finally there is the nationally scarce flat-backed millipede, Propolydesmus testaceous, that we met last week. Hintlesham is the most northerly site in Europe where you can find this millipede, plus it is the only site in the whole of the UK where all five species of Polydesmus millipede occur. Impressive huh!
As well as the marvellous mammals you have already met, there are also bats and possibly even dormice. They have just been found in the nearby Wolves Wood so we are all keeping our fingers crossed!
But the rub is that National Grid may well be about to stick pylons smack bang through these woods, running parallel to an existing line that was in place before the woods received their SSSI status (marking them as hugely important for the species they contain). These new pylons would require, at the very least, a 35m wide swathe to be cut through the heart of the woods, dividing and fragmenting them drastically.
If you would like to help us spare this remarkable woodland that has been around for centuries from unnecessary destruction then please follow the link, read the briefing and write to National Grid to encourage them to choose their alternative route which avoids the woods completely.
If you would like to see the wonders of Hintlesham for yourself, why not join us on our ‘Last chance to see...’ guided walk at Hintlesham woods on Saturday 5th May at 9am. To book a place please contact Mark Nowers on 01206 391153 or email email@example.com