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Travel; Dymock Woods, Gloucestershire and the wild Daffodils

March 30, 2011 8 comments

Dymock Woods are made up of 17 separate woodlands on the UK’s Gloucestershire and Herefordshire county border, close to the Forest of Dean. Probably the best known of these woodlands is Shaw Common, registered also as a special ‘seed-stand’ (where acorns are collected in the autumn for use as seedlings) for the Sessile Oak, one of two species of oak tree native to Britain.

Around Eastertide each year, these woodlands are the scene of intense visitor activity as people come to view surely one of the most beautiful – and increasingly rare – sights in Britain; the diminutive and lovely wild daffodil. These were once relatively common in damp woodlands and undisturbed grassland. The countryside around Newent, Ledbury and Dymock constitutes such an area, known locally as the ‘Golden Triangle’ containing as it does large numbers of these exquisite little daffodils. Nowadays loss of habitat and cross pollination is proving to be a significant threat.

There are two wild daffodil species native to Britain; one found in the Tenby / Pembroke area and these – the Lent Lily or Narcissus Pseudonarcissus – within the Golden Triangle. In the 1930’s and right up until the 1950’s, special trains would run to this area bringing hoards of daffodil tourists to view this wonderfully uplifting natural spectacle. 

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is custodian of two small but historic wild daffodil meadows near to Shaw Common; evocatively called Gwen and Vera’s Fields Nature Reserve. As well as being the national flower of Wales, the daffodil is also – quite rightly – the county flower of Gloucestershire.

Promise yourself you will visit the area sometime. It’s truly worthwhile and hugely inspiring.

Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 14; Wye Valley  & Forest of Dean = Map ref SO 677285

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