nest about half meter across, for about 3 meters around the nest just lots of ants.
No interactions present.
Until very recently you would have called these Formica rufa. It has emerged now that most of the 'F. rufa' in England and Wales are actually fertile hybrids between rufa and polyctena, and that there are some true F. polyctena and true F. rufa nests as well. So far they can only be told apart by biochemistry.
It would be safe to call all wood ants that are not aquilonia (Scotland only) or lugubris (Scotland and N England) 'Formica rufa group', and no-one will mind if you just carry on calling them F. rufa.
Await similar developments with White-tailed Bumblebees Bombus lucorum s.l. You ain't seen nuthin' yet!
recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.
Lat/Lng: 51.7, -2.6
OS grid ref: SO6409