Category Archives: Stowlawn Wood

Patch Listing: Stowlawn Wood

As I mentioned in my previous post about the new ‘Nature Friendly Zone’ created by Wolverhampton Council at the back of my house, I’ve started recording the wildlife that I see there.  Here are the lists so far…  In 2016 I’m going to ‘patch list’ the site properly, but I think it’s promising!

Grasses, Sedges & Rushes (13)

Yorkshire Fog     Cock’s Foot     False Oat Grass     Timothy Grass     Common Bent     Smooth Meadow Grass     Common Couch     Crested Dog’s Tail     Marsh Foxtail     Perennial Rye Grass     Creeping Bent     Sharp-Flowered Rush

Flowering Plants (26)

Broad-Leaved Dock     Dandelion     Common Knapweed     Ragwort     Meadow Buttercup     Red Clover     White Clover     Self-heal     Spear Thistle     Wild Carrot     Yarrow     Common Mouse Ear     Creeping Thistle     Creeping Buttercup     Creeping Cinquefoil     Bush Vetch     Cat’s Ear     Bird’s Foot Trefoil     Daisy     Ribwort Plantain     Greater Plantain     Black Medick     Ox Eye Daisy     Lady’s Bedstraw     Silverweed      Autumn Hawkbit

Invertebrates (18)

Hornet Mimic Hoverfly     Common Soldier Beetle     7-spot Ladybird A Leaf Cutter Bee     A Mining Bee     Small Tortoiseshell     Ringlet     Large Skipper    Gatekeeper     Red Tailed Bumblebee     Early Bumblebee     Buff Tailed Bumblebee     Small Skipper     6-Spot Burnet Moth     Tree Bumblebee     Meadow Brown     O. lurida (A flower beetle)    Vestal Cuckoo Bee

(My ‘best find’ so far is the Hornet Mimic – an amazing species that I unfortunately didn’t manage to photograph – you can see it pictured at the top of the page – taken on the Wyrley and Essington Canal in 2014.)

Vertebrates (5)

Red Fox     Sparrowhawk     Blackbird     Magpie     Wood Pigeon

Do not adjust your set.

Magical things are happening in Wolverhampton. Behind my flats there is an ‘open space’ (NOT a nature reserve or park, I hasten to add – just an area of open grassland criss-crossed with desire lines.) called Stowlawn Wood.  Until last year it was mown regularly and kept as short amenity grassland, which was just fine. I was pleased to have an area of greenery right outside my flats, and had on occasion found some nice invertebrates there, a family of foxes, and once had a close encounter with a sparrowhawk sitting in a tree. This year things are different, as the site is one that was selected by Wolverhampton Council as a ‘Nature Friendly Zone’ in which they mow wide paths along the desire lines, and leave the rest of the plants to their own devices throughout the spring and summer.

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What an incredible difference it makes!  The grasses (Yorkshire Fog, Perennial Rye Gras, False Oat Grass, Cock’s Foot and Annual Meadow Grass) are tall and blowing in the breeze, and wild flowers (Ox-eye Daisies, Common Knapweed, Meadow Buttercups, Bird’s Foot Trefoil and White Clover, to name a few) are interspersed here and there with busy butterflies (Ringlets and Large Skippers abound!) and bumble bees (Lots of Red and Buff-tailed workers out in force!) visiting them.

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I just wanted to take a moment to thank Wolverhampton Council for this fantastic change, and it is sure to go from strength to strength if the regime continues. I can’t tell you how delighted I am.  I took these pics on my phone as I walked over the area this morning. As you can see, it looks cared for and manicured along the paths, which are well-maintained, and interpretation signs let people know that it has been done with intent.

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I think that it is a fine example of how urban biodiversity can be improved immensely with just a little thought and planning, and, let’s face it – probably LESS effort than it took in previous years to mow it to within an inch of its life.

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I just love what they’ve done with the place. Kudos, Wolves Council, you have a very happy resident here, and I’ll keep blogging about & recording the wildlife of Stowlawn Wood in the coming months!

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The final picture, below, was taken as I approached the flats, and not ten seconds later a fox bounded out of the long grass some 15 feet in front of me, stopped just long enough to throw me a glance, and then trotted off into the trees.

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