Monthly Archives: April 2013

Nature notes on an Easter walk

Stuffed with roast lamb and trimmings, we braved the cold for an Easter afternoon walk. It’s amazing what you can find outdoors when you scratch beneath the surface.


Take this stump. The tree itself was dead – perfect for firewood! – but at its base you can see the decomposition process already at work.

Once a plant or animal dies, bacteria, fungi and worms (decomposers) leap onto the remains and eat them. What they leave behind becomes part of the soil. See how already the decomposing tree resembles soil. Before long, new plants will be using this very soil to grow. And so the cycle continues!


Just centimetres away was this plant. Don’t let its demure appearance fool you. Its smell is overpowering – even ten metres away! Its name – wild garlic, also named bear leek. It’s a firm favourite of bears and boars, though no sign of those in Dorset (as far as we know).

But humans can eat them too, and we found plenty of delicious recipes, like wild garlic pasta and wild garlic mayonnaise. We’ve got a bunch of leaves waiting in the kitchen. Watch this space. But watch you don’t confuse wild garlic with its poisonous lookalikes: the Lily of the Valley, and other similar-looking plants.


There are a lot of deer in Dorset. We stumbled across this well-trodden deer track. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for antlers on the ground because it’s primetime shedding season now. Following the mating autumn months, when bucks (male deer) fought each other and competed for the roe (female deer), they have no more use for them. We’ll let you know if we see any!

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