Monday, 23 November 2020

Free tree trail is a really wild show

A SELF-GUIDED tree trail around Clayfield Copse in Caversham launches tomorrow (Saturday).

The trail around Blackhouse Wood encourages visitors to discover 10 different trees and the wildlife that lives there.

They will get to see the “lovers’ tree”, the “Queen of the Woods” tree and the “super carbon recycling” tree.

Visitors to the site, off Caversham Park Road, will also be able to learn which wood makes the best brooms and the story of its ash trees.

The trail, which runs until November 29, starts in the car park at Clayfield Copse and directional signs will be put in place.

Organiser Jude Oliver, who is also a member of the Friends of Clayfield Copse, said: “Clayfield Copse is home to an ancient woodland that has been there for hundreds of years and you can see things that grow here that you won’t see anywhere else.

“It has trees such as the wild service, which only grows in ancient woodland, and is nearly 100 years old. It also has little brown berries that used to be used in the brewing of beer.

“There is a very interesting dead tree which is home to a lot of wildlife. It is used by birds of prey because you have an unimpeded field of vision and you can also see a woodpecker who uses it as a drum. Because the tree is dead the sound really reverberates.”

Jude added that during the first national lockdown the copse was very popular with visitors.

She said: “During the first lockdown people discovered the copse for the first time and if you go there at almost any time you will find the car park more than half full.

“A lot of people have said to me that they didn’t know this existed and that it was absolutely beautiful.

“There is a big open field where dogs can run and in addition to the old woods we have regenerating woodland and a footpath that runs through it.”

She added: “You really feel that you are in the middle of the country. It’s a big site — it’s a full mile and a half to walk round it.”

The woodland paths are uneven and may be muddy and slippery, so visitors are advised to wear appropriate footwear.

Guided walks that were due to take place on the afternoon of November 29 have been cancelled due to the second national lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, visit the conservation volunteers’ website at

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