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