Chalkhurst and Hartnips Woods

Above the village of Eynsford across a wide fallow field freshly sprayed with herbicide, sits a long strip of broadleaved woodland.  Under a blue sky, a single swallow flies across the field calling. A slow worm rests under an old piece of matting and brimstones work the dandelions in the floristically dull field margin; a yellow on yellow encounter.

Hartnips Wood 1
Eynsford from the downs above

From a distance, the woodland appears nondescript in its winter colours and is composed of smooth-limbed coppiced trees, principally of ash and hornbeam but also oak, beech, silver birch and bird cherry. The understorey is sparse hawthorn, hazel and yew. The hornbeam, hazel and hawthorn and are in fresh leaf. There is no thick scrub or rolls of bramble but yellow splashes of celandine with occasional bluebell that soon gives way to a wide carpet of wood anemone.

Hartnips Wood 6
Celandine with wood anemone

Brimstones fly down the path. Red admirals sun in the wood and a speckled wood circles. A single blackcap and chiffchaff sing in the wood. A treecreeper calls and hides behind the trunk of a tree, stock still for a minute until a another calls and it is immediately gone. A sparrowhawk flies low across the gap in the wood where the pylons run. A raven kronks and buzzards mew.  Jackdaws cry and stock doves wheeze and clatter from a great beech tree; bullfinches quietly sigh above the holly.

Hartnips Wood 19
Bird cherry in blossom

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sherry Felix says:

    Lovely photographs and information.

  2. Lee says:

    Some lovely photographs. I think I spotted an early purple orchid in one photograph, growing in woodland. I’m used to seeing them on limestone grassland in the Peak District; they’re a beautiful wildflower.

    1. Steve Parr says:

      Yes you did and, agreed, they are just wonderful to come upon…I missed this one going and only saw it coming back.

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