The weather conditions were ideal for todays visit to Ox Close Wood - cloudy, mild, fine (no rain) which made for an enjoyable day out. I covered several contrasting habitats: the lanes (drier and sunnier than the woodland), an area of wetland and marsh, the estuarine habitat around the River Wharfe and the woodland with its glades also meadow area. To my surprise the car park on Crabtree Lane was almost full when I arrived ( no room for an ice cream van). However people must have set off in different directions and completely bypassed the wood as I didn't meet a sole there.
Notable flowers growing on the sides of the lane were meadow cranesbill, dog rose and red campion. On the field margins were lesser burdock and poppy.The marsh /wetland area was a golden carpet of meadow buttercup. Russian comfrey and marsh thistle were also growing. From the bridge I saw a stand of willow herb just about to flower. A tortoiseshell butterfly was enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on the lane. Several red kites were circling in the sky. Two cormorants flew past over the marsh and a black headed gull was seen from the bridge.
Following a climb up a steep path I followed the main path through the wood. The flowers were varied and lush. They included dogs mercury, dog rose, bramble (in flower), hedge woundwort, lesser burdock, perforate St John's wort, fox glove and sweet cicely. I spotted a small mouse foraging on the woodland floor. A short while following I saw two very special plants of thistle broomrape a red data species and Yorkshire speciality. They were growing on the woodland edge ( I would have anticipated seeing them in a more open habitat). It was my plan to reach a meadow that I knew was being managed for broomrape and orchids. There was much evidence of conservation management, hawthorn bushes had been chopped down, also stakes and netting were in situ. However the only orchid evidence was of faded early purple orchids also no spikes of thistle broomrape were seen.This is an excellent area for limestone loving spring flora also summer flora such as rock and burnet rose.
Insect life was present in the woodland with good numbers of banded demoiselles also speckled wood butterflies.
Ox Close wood has excellent spring flora but can be recommended for a worthwhile visit at other times of the year.