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Girdlers Coppice Nature Reserve

Wonderful displays of betony and cow wheat in summer with lots of other flowers too including orchids in spring


Girdlers Coppice:

Post date: Saturday, 20 August, 2016 - 07:49

Girdlers Coppice is not a large reserve, one can walk around it in 45 minutes, but is it a really pleasant place (provided you like woodland). Despite the fairly busy road that runs alongside it I did not feel it detracted from my enjoyment of my visit at all.

A traditional copse that became over grown and neglected with the decline if the traditional craft of coppicing a lot of work has been put in by the Dorset Wildlife Trust to coppice the central area of the reserve to restore the habitat. The produce of the coppicing has been used to make a large hurdle fence which has been built around the restored area which I presume is to keep the deer out and let the vegetation restore naturally. This also means, though, that human visitors are kept out of this area as well but before you complain remember this is a reserve for nature not human beings!

One of the things I found most interesting is the marked difference between the flora at differing levels on the reserve. The coppice is on moderately steep slope down to the banks of the River Stour and higher up the slope the ground is dry and the tree canopy more open and so suits betony, saw-wort and devils-bit scabious; flowers often associated with meadows. Lower down the canopy closes in and the ground becomes wetter and so there are primroses, bluebells, enchanter's nightshade and plants more usually associated with woodland.

The slope means that it can be bit of a challenge for the less mobile and it can be rough walking in places.

 If you are going to pay a visit why not follow it up with a walk alongside the River Stour from near by Fiddleford Mill?


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