Celebrating the Moss Valley Nature Reserve

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of spending two early mornings in the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s Moss Valley Nature Reserve. In this protected landscape it is possible to see a range of wildflowers growing together in such density that it has to be seen to be believed. The site is a mixture of semi-natural and replanted ancient woodland and features plants such as red campion and yellow archangel that are far from common in this part of The Pennines.

These are the photographic highlights of the wildflowers you will find growing in Owler Car Wood in early May. For more botanical and tree photography visit: fran-halsall.co.uk

English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are a useful indicator species, as where they exist in high concentrations it is reasonable to assume that the woodland is ancient (dating back at least 400 years).
Lamium galeobdolon
Yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) is another of the ancient woodland indicators that grow here. While the leaves are similar to stinging nettles, the yellow hooded flowers are quite different.
Red campion (Silene dioica) grows in woodland glades, old hedgerows and roadside verges. Flowering between May and October, it is a food plant for bees, butterflies, hoverflies and more.
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) grows in the damp soils down by The Moss, the brook from which the valley takes its name. Wild garlic is just one of the many ancient woodland indicator species growing here.

Extra woodland photo workshop – Sunday 27th October

Thanks to the enthusiastic uptake for the earlier photography workshop at Ecclesall Woods, I have organised a second date for Sunday 27th October.

If you are interested in learning about how to photograph trees and woodland habitats then why not book yourself on this half-day workshop at South Yorkshire’s largest ancient woodland.

Tickets cost £25 and are available through Eventbrite here.

Woodland photography workshops

If you are interested in learning how to photograph trees and woodland habitats then why not book yourself on one of two upcoming half-day photography workshops in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The first session is taking place in Ecclesall Woods on 19th October 2019 and the second is organised for Woolley Wood on 2nd May 2020.

Come and explore the autumnal atmosphere of Ecclesall Woods where the diversity of tree species means many opportunities for creating great photographs.

Both workshops will cover: getting the most out of your camera equipment; matching the lighting conditions to the subject; and how to produce eye-catching compositions. All of which will be supported by the expert botanical and seasonal knowledge of your host, photographer and nature educator Fran Halsall.

All types of camera are welcome although some of the workshop will be devoted to using SLRs. If you have them, please bring tripods and filters with you. A spare tripod will be available to try out if you wish to do so.

If you want to get to grips with photographing bluebells then Woolley Wood guarantees one of the best displays in Sheffield.

These workshops have been created with the support of Sheffield City Council and tickets are available at only £25 per person with a maximum of ten participants per course.

Tickets for the autumn workshop are available here and tickets for the spring date can be found here.

An afternoon among the wood anemones

On 19th April 2018, I ran a photographic workshop at Gillfield Woods, Totley, Sheffield – postponed from the week before due to rain and fog.

The calm weather and mellow afternoon sunshine made perfect conditions for photographing these delicate wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa), which form carpets of starry white flowers through throughout the woodland each spring.

All photographs © Fran Halsall

Oaks in Ladies Spring Wood

Photogenic oak trees recorded on a walk through a mist-cloaked Ladies Spring Wood, Sheffield.  Some of these trees bear the signs of having been coppiced many decades ago, typically the ones that branch lower down the trunk.  This ancient woodland all but adjoins Ecclesall Woods, divided only by the River Sheaf and the road that runs along the valley bottom.  Photos © Fran Halsall.