Woodlands

st'helens park map - click for larger image

Two circular walks guide you through the most beautiful parts of the estate. Follow the yellow arrow 2 km (1 1/4 mile) long trail or the much shorter green arrow 1km (1/2 mile) trail. The routes can be muddy underfoot and moderately steep in places, the green route is more suitable for the less able.

There is a mixed variety of trees within the estate, with some areas of ancient broad-leaved woodland. The woods come alive in spring, with scattered carpets of Wood Anemone and Bluebell bursting forth before the tree canopy blocks out the summer sun. The woodland is home to 40 species of nesting birds including Tawny Owls. It also supports Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch and Jay. Early summer sees large numbers of Chiffchaff flitting to and from the hedgerows to feed.

 

Barbecue site

This central and attractive glade within the high Oak / Beech woodland is in the heart of the woods. A wide ride runs from north to southwhich connects to the entire path network and provides a sunny environment for woodland flowers and insects. The barbecue is available only upon request to the preservation society council.

Arboretum & Gowers field

commemorative tree Princetown Gold

Formally allotments, this area now boasts a fine selection of unusual trees from around the world, including the Monkey Puzzle. The grass is mown in late summer to encourgage wild flowers and hopefully the return of a rare orchid that once flowered here. You will also find here the commemorative tree Princetown Gold, which was planted in celebration of the Societies 50th anniversary in 2010. The tree is a beautiful Canadian Golden Maple. Here it is in leaf

 

Hillside fields

st'helens park woodlands

These steep slopes are teaming with life. Goldfinches flock to these fields for seeds. Ant hills, grasshoppers and butterflies can be seen and even the mysterious light from glow-worms on a warm summers evening. This ancient semi-improved meadow is grazed by horses to help promote more unusual flowers like, Yellow Rattle and Red Bartsia together with clovers and trefoils to provide rich sources of food for insects.

 

Waterways

The estate has a total of 5 ponds. All are rich in wildlife, especially dragonflies, toads & frogs. The ponds vary, some are free flowing and deep, whilst others are choked with vegetation, becoming wet only in winter. These differences allow each to support its own unique wildlife. The stream running through the vaalley feeds into nearby Alexandra Park.

De Roemer Field

st'helens park woodlands

This meadow is scattered with mature trees, it has a light open feel with far reaching views over the estate towards the sea. In Spring the delicate blues and violets of the Bluebells, Common Milkwart and Dog Violets are abundant. By the start of Summer the pink spikes of the Common Spotted Orchid and the distinctive yellow flower of the Yellow Rattle take over.

The copse to the west has been created in memory of Alderman Arthur Blackman, the farther of Isabel the estates main benefactor. In 1987 an oak tree was planted to the east of Carp Pond to mark the centenary of Grey Owl's birth.

 

Bill Vint Meadow

This semi improved grassland meadow was once grazed by ponies. Remnants of an old orchard hark back to the days when it was part of a large private estate belonging to Ore Place. Now the dense grassland vegetation has become a haven for insects and butterflies such as Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown.