Stackpole's woodlands and coastal flowers

A close-up of a pyramidal orchid at Stackpole

Explore Stackpole's acres of woodlands, most of the trees here are around 200 years old. Or head towards the coast for fantastic flora display on the clifftops, dunes and beaches.

Coastal flowers

To pick out just a few - in May, Stackpole Head and Saddle Point turn blue with the flowering of the spring squill. The beaches and dunes support specialist plants able to survive in such dry and salty conditions such as sea holly and sea kale.

Stackpole is full of colour when its orchids bloom, there is a great range here from early purple orchids to autumn ladies' tresses. Look out for bee and pyramidal orchids in the dunes, and marsh orchids in the damp sandy areas behind Broadhaven South and Freshwater West.

Stackpole is special for its soil lichens which are found on some of the thinnest and driest soils near the coast, where the competing vegetation is kept down by grazing and trampling. The rare scrambled egg lichen is so called because it looks like small splashes of scrambled egg.

Woodland wonders

Admire Stackpole's wonderful woodland, a combination of wet woodlands at the head of Bosherston Lakes and large areas of mixed woodland.

Most of the trees here are less than 200 years old, with many planted by the Cawdors, the family who created the designed landscape and lived at Stackpole Court.

These not only included the massive beeches and sweet chestnuts that you can see today, but also trees and shrubs collected from around the world. Some of these are now causing us major problems because they have spread well beyond the areas where they were first planted (these include laurel, Himalayan honeysuckle and holm oak).

Go for a walk around Lodge Park Woods
A woodland path at Lodge Park Woods
Go for a walk around Lodge Park Woods

The woods suffered mixed fortunes during the 20th century.

In the 1960s, large areas were planted with conifers, but these are gradually being removed to be replaced with broadleaf trees like ash, oak and, increasingly, sycamore.

Sycamore comes into leaf early and therefore favours those plants which flower early - like bluebell, primrose and wild garlic - and our magnificent fern communities, which like to grow in shady conditions. These give the Stackpole woods their characteristic appearance.