Hunt for the black poplar

I had never knowingly seen a black poplar (Populus nigra) and I wanted to put that right.

On my way home from the Big Welsh Walk I stopped at Hanbury Hall, the National Trust property in Worcestershire.  The Worcestershire Ramblers were organising a Welcome to Walking weekend of walks from the hall and I was keen to see how it was going.

1 Hanbury Hall

Hanbury Hall

I joined this event last July (see here) and went on one of the walks through the park.  Afterwards I discovered to my chagrin that I had walked past rare black poplars without noticing!  So I decided to retrace my steps this year and find them.

25 Hanbury Hall black poplar

Black poplars at Hanbury Hall

Arthur Lee and Marika Kovacs, who had also been on the Big Welsh Walk, joined me at Hanbury.  After a cup of tea with Worcestershire Ramblers’ chair, Clare Stallard, who had once again organised the event, the three of us set off across the park.

We soon found the black poplars, by a pool at a crossroads of footpaths.  I would probably not have known they were black poplars without the National Trust information.

26 black poplar trunk

Black poplar trunk

27 black poplar flower

Black poplar in flower







Black poplars were common in the middle ages but are rare today, due to modern agricultural and woodland management.

We then walked back past a wood where Clare Stallard had told us that she had seen a lesser-spotted woodpecker.  That was ten years ago and although we peered in we did not see one.

28 lesser spotted woodpecker wood

The wood where a lesser-spotted woodpecker has been seen

We came to the dodgy couple of stiles and bridge which I encountered last year and reported to Worcestershire County Council.  They have been somewhat improved but there are complications because they are on the boundary between two landowners.  I know the council intends to sort this.  The intrepid, visually-impaired, Marika managed to scramble over.

29 footbridge

Marika negotiates an awkward stile

Then we headed back across the buttercup parkland to catch the café before it closed.

30 Buttercup parkland

Hanbury parkland


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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