Wildlife: Support our bluebell appeal

Hertfordshire's wonderful ancient woodlands are under threat. The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust asks for your support to raise �20,000 for woodland restoration...

WOODLANDS are a defining feature of our local landscape; naturally rich habitats, home to an amazing array of wildlife, including some of our rarest and most threatened species.

The problem is our woodland habitats are disappearing across Britain. The decline in traditional management techniques has had a dramatic effect – 44% of ancient woodland has been lost. As a result the future for many local species hangs in the balance.

We need to safeguard this irreplaceable natural resource.

With your support we can continue to manage and restore Hertfordshire’s woodlands for everyone to enjoy.

Every donation we receive to the Bluebell Appeal, however small, will make a real difference to our woodland management work.

Donate Now!• Donate online at www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/donate • Call our Donation Hotline on 01727 858901 • Post your cheque payable to ‘Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’ to HMWT, FREEPOST 76, St Albans, Herts, AL3 4BR Visit www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/bluebellappeal to help us protect woodland habitats and their wildlife for the future.

Our fragile bluebellsYou might think that bluebells are common – hardly a struggling species. You’d be right if you were talking about the Spanish bluebell, which was introduced to the UK around 300 years ago and is capable of growing almost anywhere. Our smaller, bluer, more strongly scented native species is fussier though.

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It likes ancient broad-leaved woods, plenty of shade and spreads much more slowly than its Spanish relative, which has escaped from gardens and is now out-competing the natives. Inter-breeding between the Spanish bluebell and the English bluebell has created hybrids, which also threaten to oust the native variety from our woods.

You get an idea of the fragility of the English bluebell when you take a look at how long the plant takes to grow and spread – around five years from seed to flower, and in 30 years they might not manage to spread more than 150 feet. Couple all this to the loss of our ancient woodlands and you can see how easily we might lose this beautiful wildflower from our landscape.

Wildflower walks

Spring is such a wonderful time of year to visit your local woodland nature reserve, the floor covered in a blanket of beautiful bluebells and other wildflowers. Join us on a guided walk and see them for yourself! Your �3 donation will go straight to The Bluebell Appeal.

Diary dates

Thursday May 5 and Sunday May 8POTTERS BARJoin the Warden June Redgrave at Gobions Wood Nature Reserve and enjoy the stunning sight of the bluebells in this ancient woodland. Meet at the car park, Gobions Open Space. 2pm. Booking essential. Donation: �3 towards our Bluebell Appeal.

Saturday May 14 HERTFORD HEATHCome on a spring walk at Balls Wood Nature Reserve to see the wildflowers, including the rare herb paris. You will also get a chance to see the work we’ve been doing over the winter. Meet on the green next to the College Arms pub, Hertford Heath at 2.30pm. Booking essential. Donation: �3 towards our Bluebell Appeal.To book, call Sarah Buckingham on 01727 858901 x 228 or email info@hmwt.org

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trusts

To visit any of our nature reserves or to find out more about our work, contact us on 01727 858901, email info@hmwt.org or visit www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk