On the evening of August 14, 2013 a small group of 14 people went on a nature walk. The walk began at the Resource Centre and was led by Liz and Ralph Sheppard. Liz and Ralph are well-known for the vast knowledge of the natural world. Starting from the Resource Centre the group walked up the Hillhead brae then turned right down the lane to Miller’s old mill.
On reaching the Kinnycally road the group turned left and headed back to St Johnston. On the way Ralph and Liz pointed out the various plants/flowers and ferns growing in the hedgerow which included the following: Marsh woodwort; rosebay willowherb; mugwort; angelica; cow parsley; meadowsweet; figwort; tufted vetch; knapweed; bush vetch; wood sorrel; liverwort; navel wort; bracken fern; rustyback fern; broadbuckler fern; heart’s tongue fern; polypody fern.
We also came in contact with some butterflies, moths and a buzzard that came to take a closer look! We all learnt a little about the growing along our hedgerows that we so often see only as “weeds”. Hedgerows are wildlife sanctuaries for birds, insects and invertebrates. They are a rich heritage that needs to be protected and preserved.
We returned to the Resource Centre and ended with a short prayer. Thanks to Liz and Ralph for sharing their knowledge with us and thanks to all who participated on the walk.
By Oliver McCrossan
Photos courtesy of Maureen McLaughlin