Exciting things are happening at the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve this week! We are launching our brand new Winter Tree Identification self-guided trail which will be ready for the weekend. For regular visitors to the reserve you will have seen our Wildflower trail along the boardwalk and the tree trail will follow the same concept.
Each species of tree will be represented with a small panel with information about identifying features and an interesting fact about it. As you walk along the boardwalk look out for these panels either on or next to the tree. We have been very lucky to have this trail beautifully illustrated by one of my very talented interns, Rebecca Crawford. The boardwalk is only a short 5 minute walk onto the reserve from the village of New Lanark so there is no excuse not to come out and learn some tree ID.
One tree that will be under the spotlight is the alder or if you want to be fancy – Alnus glutinosa. Alder is one of my favourite trees and loves wet areas and being alongside rivers and streams. It’s beautifully ‘adorned’ with miniature cone-like fruits which can be found throughout the winter. It also has amazing purple “boxing glove” shaped buds which make this tree really easy to identify.
It is said that alder leaves, when placed in your shoes at the beginning of a long journey will cool the feet and prevent swelling. Something to remember the next time you go out for a walk on the reserve, although you might get a few funny looks! Green dye can be derived from the flowers and it was said to be used in camouflaging the clothing of outlaws like Robin Hood, as well as the clothes of faeries, to conceal them from human eyes!
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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