Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust

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The Calcium Flush

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Although much of the soil across the reserve is acid as a result of the Rhododendron invasion, a small area of dry woodland has a decidedly alkaline soil.  This is thought to be due to the presence of calcium in the rock layers beneath.  

The ground flora in this area is much different from that elsewhere on the reserve.  No Rhododendron grows here.  Trees such as Ash can be found and Hart's Tongue Fern grows in proliferation close to the ground.  What is surprising is that the boundary between acid and alkaline soil is very clear.  The Hart's Tongue Ferns only occur within a sharply defined area.  They are not present growing in the acid soils which surround this small "alkaline island".

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