Fraggle Report- Castle Eden Dene- April 2018- Part 1

Last weekend Sophie and I  managed a day out at Castle Eden Dene, it stayed dry and it wasn’t too cold which was enough for us to get out and about.  Spring hadn’t quite arrived, but some flowers were popping up, and there were plenty of mosses and lichens for my new lens to have a look at.

The Dene itself is the largest, and biologically the richest, of a series of deep ravines that have been incised by streams flowing into the North Sea through the Magnesian Limestone and overlying boulder clay of coastal Durham. It is the largest area of semi-natural woodland in north-east England and, because the steep valley sides are mostly inaccessible, it has suffered relatively little from human interference. Over 450 species of plants have been recorded in the wood, many of which are typical of ancient woodlands that date back to pre-medieval times.

It didn’t really look very inviting as we set off along the path

but I put my new macro lens to good use, discovering the little things you don’t normally see when just walking on by

loving lichen

Catkins are a sure sign Spring is on the way..

Hazel Tree catkins

Goat Willow catkins have separate male and female trees. Male catkins are clad in golden stamens; female catkins are spiky and green. Both secrete nectar – key energy for bees and butterflies in early spring.

Goat willow – Salix caprea

We walked up a main pathway to start with, and to the right of us people’s gardens were on the opposite side of a big fence, but bits and bobs poked through it here and there..

variegated ivy
a plant 🙂

we turned off the main path onto a track that led through the woodlands and found our way to Gunners Pool bridge. The bridge is one of sixteen that cross the Castle Eden Burn. It was fabricated in Hartlepool in the late 19th century for the Rev. John Burdon, whose family owned Castle Eden Dene, and is thought to have been erected in June 1877.

Gunners Pool Bridge
Looking down from the bridge

It was quite vertiginious and I was glad to get to the other side

the far side of the bridge

More to come so stay tooned!