The Gnoll clear-fell area as it looks at the moment
The clear-fell area (formally Western Hemlock plantation) near the car park in Neath's Gnoll Park has undergone a significant transformation this spring. The plantation was part of the Gnoll Park replanted ancient woodland, although you would have struggled to find any evidence for its ancient woodland status when the Western Hemlocks were there. A year ago this devastated area was largely devoid of any vegetation other than pioneer bryophytes, but now, native Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. montanum), a fairly good ancient woodland indicator species, is flowering there in profusion.
Large patches of native Yellow Archangel in the clear-fell area
Native Yellow Archangel
Coppiced woodland undergoes a similar transformation in the early phases of the coppice cycle, when the increase in light available to the ground flora results in the prolific flowering of woodland herbs. Other plants that are also responding in the Gnoll clear-fell area are Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) and Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum).
Common Dog Violet
The appearance of Woodruff (Galium odoratum), which I have never seen in the Gnoll before, was a pleasant surprise. Like Yellow Archangel, it is a good ancient woodland indicator species.
Nearby, the beech wood near Mosshouse Reservoir is putting on a spectacular bluebell display.