Our rangers and volunteers cut back the scrub at the Callow Mounds area of Millennium Country Park back in the autumn and winter to expose more ground to the light along the edges of the paths, and in a different area each year. This rotational coppicing of hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood, willow and bramble leads to a patchwork of areas of different heights and ages of scrub and is perfect for increased biodiversity - on the newly coppiced areas an abundance of flowers grow, the plants and seeds responding to increased levels of light.

At the moment the Callow Mounds are a riot of yellow flowers – agrinomy, yellow wort, fleabane, St Johns Wort and various dandelion-like hawkweeds. Earlier in the year it rewarded us with a fine show of orchids – a couple of bee orchids (our County Flower), a few pyramidal orchids, loads of common spotted orchids (26 in one small spot!).

We also had our first Common Twayblade spotted. Others highlight of the floral display this year were the discovery of Lesser Centaury (Common Centaury’s daintier and pinker cousin). The insects, including numerous butterflies such as the marbled white, common blue, comma, ringlet and small tortoiseshell to name but a few which have been recorded this year.

In the depths of winter, as it pours with rain and you are getting colder and wetter, sawing through prickly hawthorn or lopping back grasping bramble it is good to think back to or look forward to the summer and it makes it all worthwhile.