Acorns in abundance
With the leaves changing colour on its trees, Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve prepares for the coming winter in good shape.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s rangers have reported that it has been a bumper year for acorns within the forest – thanks to weather conditions this year which have been near-perfect for acorn growth.
A hot start to the year was followed by an abundance of rainfall and warm and cool conditions in recent months. There have also been limited high winds to damage acorns in the final weeks of their development.
Around 120 people took part in the annual Seed Sunday event at the nature reserve on 21 October 212 to hunt for acorns and look at the development of other flora and fauna in recent months.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Paul Cook, assistant site manager at Sherwood Forest said: “The ancient Oaks (trees around 300 years old) have some acorns on them, which is good news. Meanwhile, the next generation of oak trees (below 300 years old) are literally laden with acorns.
“We should start to see the acorns fall and the leaves fall on top of them to protect them from the winter elements such as frost, and allow the acorns to begin to germinate.
“With autumn here Sherwood really does look stunning. The leaves are changing colours and as well as the oak trees we also have silver birches and beeches losing their leaves – reds, oranges, yellows, browns… even purple leaves add to what really becomes a ‘riot of colour’ over the coming weeks.
“The conditions have been good for acorns this year which is why we can see so many on the trees now – it therefore promises to be a good year for sapling development and helps the continued development of the forest and its lifecycle.”
Mr Cook explained that he had recently spoken with an officer from a nature conservation organisation in the south of the UK who in contrast had reported a poor harvest of acorns in their locality.
During Seed Sunday at Sherwood, an experiment to dunk the acorns in a bowl of water was carried out to check the vitality of the acorns which was again encouraging with the majority of the acorns sinking to the bottom - indicating their health.
Members of the group collected Sherwood acorns which were then potted and taken home to be nurtured and grow by the participants. Members are able to return in a couple of years’ time so the ranger team can plant them in the forest alongside the other saplings.
The group were also given leaflets with extra information entitled ‘How to collect acorns and grow mighty oaks’ generated by the Sherwood Forest ranger team, offering extra handy hints.