THE mild start to the year before this week’s icy weather saw the rare sighting of an adder at Brede High Woods.
Volunteer Dave Monk spotted the first adder of the year, basking in winter sunshine on Saturday January 28.
The adder, a species that countrywide is showing a worrying decline is a key species at Brede, particularly in the recently cleared heath-land.
Adders, the only venomous species native to Britain, can be distinguished by a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine and an inverted ‘V’ shape on the neck. They prefer rough, open countryside and habitats on the edge of woodland and the best time to see them is in early spring when they emerge from their hibernation dens.
Site Manager Dave Bonsall said: “This is a very early sighting and adds to the other signs of early spring that people are reporting for example daffodils and butterflies”.
The sighting is also a good indication that reverting the area of previously non-native conifers to heath-land to encourage native species is showing signs of success. The Trust has already removed 1,500 tonnes of conifers at Brede as part of its ongoing Planted Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) restoration programme.