A pleasant riverside walk along the banks of the River Stour (no dogs!)
Shapwick: down by the riverside -
If, like me, you enjoy a quiet walk by a river in the middle of summer then you can do little better than take a stroll along the Stour Valley Way, east from Shapwick church. The Stour is a slow moving, meandering river rich in opportunities for wildlife to flourish.
The meadows along the riverside are a bit boring but the river itself and the bordering vegetation is packed with flowers and insects which, in turn, attract birds. If you have a dog then this walk is not for you as dogs are not allowed because there are always cattle grazing in the meadows. I guess, if you are uncomfortable with cows then this walk is best avoided too but actually the cows are, of course, harmless albeit inquisitive!
This is by far the best place I have found to see the rather special Roesel's bush-cricket, a recent coloniser of Dorset. With the aid of my bat detector I was able to hear numerous males stridulating but finding them in the long grass is a real challenge. In summer this is also a good spot for the brown hawker which is not that common in Dorset.
|NVC Community||Description||No of Species|
Lolium perenne [Perennial ryegrass] and related species grassland
Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland
Lolium perenne - Cynosurus cristatus [Perennial ryegrass/Crested dog's tail] grassland
Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland
Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland
Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub
Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland
Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Prunus spinosa - Rubus fruticosus [Blackthorn/Bramble] scrub