Friends of Howsham Mill Newsletter. April 2014 Edition.
Since the last newsletter we have said good bye to Mo MacLeod as chair and trustee. After 10 years in the position, she had a good send off at the AGM in February. Her energy and commitment have been pivotal to the success of the project and she will be missed. In her final presentation to the University of the Third Age (U3A) at Kirby Misperton Village Hall in March, she spoke to over a hundred people about the story of the Mill and how far the project has come.
We also welcome Amy-Jane Beer and John Renel as new trustees. We hope they will enjoy their new vocation.
|Spring has sprungThe island is a small area of ash woodland and after a mild winter it is showing signs of spring. The first plants to appear are the non-native yellow aconites and snowdrops, now almost over. Also coming through are green shoots of dog’s mercury, an indicator of mature woodland. Leaves of ramsons (wild garlic), wood avens, wood anemone and the triffid-like shoots of butterbur are all emerging. In places you might find the small flowers of dog violet. An all too common component of the plant community is stinging nettle, encouraged by the flooding and deposition of nutrients in the silt. You can tell the ash trees without their leaves by their black buds whereas the non-native sycamore has green buds. Ash does not produce its leaves until May and this allows the early growing ground flora to get enough light to flower and set seed. Sycamore produces large leaves much earlier and this favours more shade-tolerant plants like stinging nettle. This is why our woodland policy is to thin sycamore. Look around and you’ll see a few small oak, hawthorn, and on the banks alder and willow. Another native tree is the wych elm whose tiny pink flowers are just emerging. By April you’ll also see the large round seed leaves of Himalayan balsam, an unwanted invasive alien. Why not come later in the summer and help pull a few!|