Whitwell Wood is semi natural ancient woodland on the limestone belt. However, a lot was clear felled in the 1930's and replanted with both conifers and broad leaved trees. On the northern side of the wood, there is a freshwater spring known as the Ginny Spring which is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
This was my introduction to the SYBG, and being a botanical novice I greatly appreciated the advice and guidance provided by Graeme, John Scott and Steven Dixon.
Just off the main forest track, we were led to a small group of Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), which was a first for me.
Proceeding to the small pond we noted Broad Buckler Fern (Dryopteris dilatata), Scally Male Fern (D. pseudomas), a Cowslip/Primula hybrid, Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) on the way, and there found Wood False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), and Sweet Violet (Viola ordorata).
Returning to the main track again, we noted Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Hairy Brome (Bromus ramosus), and then some non-flowering Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), which still had last years white seeds attached.
We then wandered into the woodland finding Mountain Melick (Melica nutans), Early & Common Violets, Black Bryony (Tamus communis). Further on we spotted the parasitic Toothwort (Lathraea squameria) at the base of a tree at the side of the path, Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) and Woodruff (Galium odoratum). A Hawthorn Tree was examined as to the possibility of it being the Midland Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata): I think we were undecided.
At the Ginny Spring we found Broad Leaf Cotton Grass (Eriophorum latifolium), Marsh Valarian (Valeriana dioica), Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa), Black Bog Rush (Schoenus nigricans) and White Beak Sedge (Rhynchospora alba).
Returning along the stream-side footpath we noted HardShield Fern (Polystichum aculeatum), Wood Melick (Melica uniflora), Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), Wood Barley (Hordelymus europaeus), Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina), and then Spurge Laurel (Daphne laureola) on reaching the main forest path again.
A most enjoyable day in such knowledgeable company.