Exploring through your senses
The Woodland Trust recently worked with the Sensory Trust to design and install a brand new sensory trail at Everdon Stubbs wood. Situated west of Northampton and south of Daventry, Everdon is a beautiful ancient woodland, which stands out in a predominantly agricultural landscape. Creating an engaging way to explore the site, the Woodland Trust has installed 12 ‘sense’ posts scattered amongst the trees. The aim is to add another dimension to a woodland walk, enriching a visit to the wood by inviting and encouraging people to use all of their senses.
The posts are positioned at sensory ‘hotspots’ and are simple to interpret. For example, visitors are invited to look in log piles to see what bugs they can find, to use their sense of touch to feel the roughness of tree bark, or to listen out for birdsong. Tree species are also marked, so people can learn one or two identifying characteristics of certain tree species, such as the shapes of leaves or the fruits and seeds.
This fun trail not only provides a suggested route through the woods, but encourages visitors to stop and take a moment to appreciate nature in all its glory – hopefully sparking a sense of curiosity about the greenspace around them.
Everdon stubbs is a wonderful woodland, offering a calm and tranquil place to relax and unwind. It is a much loved site, during the Spring carpets of bluebells appear and bullfinch and chiffchaff provide additional flashes of colour. The wood contains a number of old trees, including rown, field maple and wild cherry, with hornbeam present in smaller areas. Fallen and standing deadwood provide habitat for wildlife species, and there are also sections of glade. The largest population in Northamptonshire of the rare wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus is found here.
The term ‘stubbs’ is thought to refer to the management of wood as coppice, a practise whereby trees are regularly cut down to a stump (stubb) to encourage the tree to produce multiple stems. This woodland has a rich history dating back to Medieval times, evidence of it’s past land use can be seen in the remains of ancient ridge and furrow, ditch banks and a probably prehistoric burial site.
In the past sweet chestnut and hazel coppice have provided firewood and enabled the production of furniture, bean poles and baskets. This once was a busy woodland, as people managed the site for its productivity, but now this hustle and bustle has been replaced with a tranquil and quiet atmosphere. In order to manage the site in the best way possible for wildlife, the Woodland Trust continues to run a coppice cycle, which benefits flora and fauna.
Next time you are in the area do consider visiting Everdon Stubbs to try out the trail and experience its calming environment, it is well worth it!
Amanda Brookes – Volunteering Development Officer (Central England)
With thanks to Jenny Carpenter (Engagement and Comminucations Officer: Central England) and Steve Reynolds (Site Manager)
Feature image by: Everdon Stubbs. Photo by: Richard Faulks / WTML