Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Cheddar Gorge trees

A couple of weeks ago my wife, Rhi, and I went for a walk on the southern side of Cheddar Gorge, in part of the coppiced woodland and limestone meadow area known as Black Rock Reserve. The gorge is the largest in Britain and was formed by regular meltwater events during periglacial conditions over the last 1.2 million years (i.e. the area was frozen, preventing water flow through the permeable limestone but not covered by a glacier).

Here in the first photograph is a view from the top with Rhi in the centre and directly beneath her on the cliff a specimen of, I think, the rare Sorbus anglica. Sorbus anglica, Cheddar Whitebeam, is an apomictic (asexually reproducing) hybrid between Sorbus acuparia (the Rowan or Mountain Ash) and Sorbus aria (the Common Whitebeam).

There are numerous wind sculpted trees on the edge of the cliffs, here is a common hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna.

There are also beautiful medow and downland flowers up here, which of course attract insects. Hre is a Five-Spot Burnet, Zygaena trifolii, a day-flying moth, feeding on the nectar of Thymus serpyllum, Wild Tyme.

No comments:

Post a Comment