Stanmore Country Park Nature Trail

Post 2: Ahead is a single small specimen of alder Alnus glutinosa. Alders love wet places, although they can tolerate drier locations and are often planted as street trees. They bear characteristic dark fruits that resemble pine cones.

To the left is a copse of aspen Populus tremula. The leaves, borne on long flattened stalks, quiver in the slightest breeze. Aspen trees sucker prolifically, and you can see many sapling-like shoots in the grass to the right of the path growing from the roots of the trees. Without its annual mowing the open grassland would rapidly become aspen scrub. Turn left and follow the well trodden path. This is a good place to see butterflies including the comma and speckled wood (see illustrations below), gatekeeper, common blue and small copper.

At the edge of the woodland note the small trees of goat willow Salix caprea on the right. This bears yellow catkins in early spring and attracts many insects that have just emerged from hibernation and are seeking nectar. The path curves right, entering woodland to reach post 3.

Image: Comma on water mint by Dave Watson.

Image: Speckled Wood by Marian Sartin

To description for post 3

Click here to learn more about the Harrow Nature Conservation Forum including guided walks and conservation workdays.