Woodlands Farm Summer Show

Woodlands Farm Summer Show 2018 poster

This weekend will be busy with the Plumstead Make Merry at Plumstead Common on Saturday 9th from 12 noon to 6pm and Woodlands Farm‘s Summer Show on Sunday 10th June between 11.00am and 4.30pm.

Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer wrote with details of the Woodlands Farm event:

Come along to our annual summer show which is part of Open Farm Sunday. Enjoy a sheep shearing display or have a go on our new tractor ride. There will be local stalls selling produce and crafts as well as children’s activities, a BBQ and live music. This event is free but donations are welcome. For more information call 020 8319 8900.

For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Once again this year the Summer Show is combined with  Open Farm Sunday – the farming industry’s annual open day when hundreds of farms across the country will be open to the public. It’ll be a good opportunity to see the farm’s new red tractor.

Also as in previous years Hannah has organised a set of surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna. The next ones are:

Thursday 14th June – Pond Survey, 2pm
Thursday 21st June – Bee Walk, 2pm.
Tuesday 26th June – Wild flowers survey, 1pm

All are welcome at the surveys, though it might be wise to let Hannah know if you are coming in case of changes.

Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show
The band at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
The band at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show
Clouds at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Clouds at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Bat walk poster

The recently formed Friends of Oxleas Woodlands are holding a bat walk next Friday, 27th April starting at 8.00pm at the Crookston Road entrance to the woodlands.  The walk is free, but places are limited and booking is necessary. Their poster gives the details:

Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk.
Friday 27thApril at 8pm
Come along and meet our local Bat population.
Use bat detectors to hear the bats in action as they hunt for insects, and try to identify which species of Bat there are in the woods. Bat detectors will be provided. But dress warmly for the evening and wear footwear suitable for walking in the woods. You may want to bring a torch too!
Numbers will be limited to 40, including children. So BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
Email the Friends’ Secretary, Sue Reeve at suereeve@virginmedia.com to book your place.
We will need to know your name and how many you are booking for; (Max 2 adults and three children per booking, but please contact us if you need to vary this or wish to book for friends too.) We will also need a telephone number to contact you in case there is a need to cancel due to bad weather. (Bat’s don’t like it when it’s raining!).
Meet at the Crookston Road entrance to the woods at 7.55pm.
We are planning another bat walk later in the year.

Serotine bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

This is the Friends’ first event since their inaugural general meeting on 7th March, but they plan to hold  other events such as history walks and  wildlife and plant surveys. They have also held a number of litter picking sessions; the next one is on Saturday 21st April meeting at the café at 10am, or at the traffic lights at the Welling Way/Rochester Way Junction at about 10.15.

The bats should be out of hibernation now, feeling very hungry after the long winter, and trying to make up ground on their feeding schedule which will have been delayed by the poor weather. Usually the females will form maternity colonies in May before giving birth to a single pup during June.

Recent bat walks in the area, such as those at Shrewsbury Park and Woodlands Farm have also spotted hedgehogs as they looked for bats, so if you get a place on the walk keep a look out.

The Friends plan to hold another bat walk later in the year, so if you don’t get a place on this one there will be a further opportunity later on.

Pipistrelle bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2018

Lambing Day 2018 Poster

It’s Woodlands Farm‘s annual Lambing Day fair this Sunday, 15th April 2018, and it looks like the weather is going to improve just in time.

Maureen from the farm sent me details:

All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Lambing Day. Come and see our new-born lambs, and enjoy the chance to buy quality local produce at reasonable prices, including home-made preserves, cakes and honey. Relax in our café, enjoy the treasure hunt or get involved in craft activities.
All proceeds from donations and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community.
Entry: £2 adult, £1 children under 16, £5 Family Ticket (2 adults & up to 3 children).
A great family day out! No parking, please use public transport. Buses 89 and 486 stop outside the farm. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Like last year the first lambs born in 2018 were the black Manx Loaghtans, but the others weren’t far behind. There’s a chance to see them all between 11am and 4pm on Sunday. The entrance price is £2 for adults £1 for children. The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.

Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
Some of Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018
The Manx Loaghtans were Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
The Manx Loaghtans were Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018
Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
Some of Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018

Falconwood Miniature Railway Public Running 2018

Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running

Welling and District Model Engineering Society  have just announced their programme of public running dates and other events for 2018, as their web site says:

We look forward to welcoming you back in 2018 for another summer of nostalgia, riding behind our steam and electric locomotives. The dates and timings have now been confirmed.
The railway and clubhouse will be open from 2:00-5:00pm. Train rides will be available for children and adults(!), with the last ticket issued at 4:30pm. Refreshments are available in the clubhouse.
Due to a reduction in car parking space, there is no parking on site on Public Running Days except for those with Blue Badges.
    Sunday April 8th 22nd
    Sunday May 6th 20th
    Sunday June 3rd 17th
   Sunday July 1st 15th 29th
    Sunday August 12th 26th
    Sunday September 9th 23rd
    Sunday October 7th (last running)

Santa Special 2018
Tickets for the 2018 Santa Special, to be held on Sunday December 16th, will be on sale at the last two Public Running Events, September 23rd and October 7th. Prices are yet to be determined. Please note we can only accept payment in cash. Tickets are prices are to be confirmed, with a maximum of 4 tickets per family, Admission to the Santa Special is by ticket ONLY.
The maximum age of children will be 8 years, and each ticket allows one adult to travel with the child. Please note that no parking will be allowed on site on the day of the Santa Special.
Open Day 2018
We will be holding an open day for visiting clubs on Saturday 6th October.

Before heading down to Falconwood it’s worth checking the Welling and District Model Engineering Society web site for any updates or late cancellations.

Details of how to get to the WDMES site, plus a sound recording and video of the miniature railway in action can be seen in previous posts about the model railway.

Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running
Welling and District Model Engineering Society public running

New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm

The meadows at Woodlands Farm
The meadows at Woodlands Farm

What better way to start  2018 than with a New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm? Hannah from the farm sent details:

New Year’s Day Guided Walk Monday 1st January 2018 11am – 12.30pm
Start the year with a bracing stroll around Woodlands Farm- a winter guided walk to counter the seasonal excesses. This will be an easy paced walk to look at the farm and animals in winter and the way the farm works with nature. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for walking across fields. This walk is not suitable for children under 10 years. Meet outside the cafe in the farmyard. Free, donations welcome.

For more information, see our website or email admin@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Woodlands Farm is located on the borders of the London boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich. At 89 acres, it is the largest city farm in the UK. Our priorities are education and conservation, and we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. Our education programme attracts visitors from pre-school to third-age groups. The Trust aims to involve local community groups, schools, volunteers and businesses in farming and conservation, helping to bridge the current town-country divide.

While at the farm there’s a chance to see two new calves: crosses between the farm’s British Whites cows, Snowdrop and Honeysuckle and Aberdeen Angus bulls. There may even be a third calf by Monday as the farm’s other British White, Clover is due to give birth any day.

Happy New Year!

One of the farm's British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves
One of the farm’s British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves
Clover the British White cow
Clover the British White cow

Happy Christmas

Nithdale Road
Nithdale Road

This year’s Christmas card photographs are of some of the lights that decorate the houses in Shooters Hill and Plumstead. They range from the sublime to the spectacular, from elegant monochrome Christmas trees to crowded front gardens full of brightly lit snowmen and santas. Thanks to everyone who entertains us in this way; their electricity bills must be horrendous.

Happy Christmas, and best wishes for 2018.

Ankerdine Crescent
Ankerdine Crescent
Warland Road
Warland Road
Swingate Lane
Swingate Lane
Wickham Lane
Wickham Lane
Flaxton Road
Flaxton Road
Flaxton Road
Flaxton Road
Flaxton Road
Flaxton Road

 

New Friends of Oxleas Woodlands group

Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics

A new group, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands has been set up to help look after our precious local woodlands. Tom wrote to tell me about the group:

The group is evolving out of and alongside the Shooters Hill Woods Working Party, and is a response to what we see as the growing threat to the woodlands from a wide range of sources, and to the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees initiative. We are working with the Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Dept. and are in the process of recruiting members.

The friends are actively looking for members and have been out in the woods and at the Oxleas Cafe encouraging people who use the woods to join. It is also possible to join through the contact page on their website.

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood

The web site also lists the group’s objectives:

a) To assist with the general management of the woodlands
b) Undertake conservation and practical maintenance (through the Shooters Hill Woodlands Working Party)
c) Undertake activities to support the use and enjoyment of the woodlands, focussing on both adult and children’s engagement with the woodlands
d) Provide a focus for local (and wider) support for the woodlands and to build links with local residents, schools, businesses and other organisations
e) Undertake cultural activities to encourage knowledge, appreciation and personal investment in the history, flora and fauna and general environment of the woodlands
f) Fundraising

The Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees  initiative “was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.”  This Charter signed in 1217 by Henry III protected common people’s rights such as ‘pannage’ (grazing for pigs), ‘estover’ (collecting firewood), ‘agistment’ (grazing) and ‘turbary’ (cutting of turf for fuel). The new one aims to celebrate the importance and value of woodlands to people today and to protect trees and woods from the threats of development, disease and climate change.

There have been some major threats to Oxleas Woods over the years, not least from proposed new motorways: it’s good to have a group focussed on defending them in future.

Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Horse riders on Eltham Common
Horse riders on Eltham Common

Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday

Christmas Fair poster 2017

Father Christmas makes his annual visit to Woodlands Farm on Sunday when they hold their Christmas Fair. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair.  Come and meet Father Christmas, sip mulled wine whilst browsing stalls of local produce and crafts for early Christmas present ideas, or relax in our café while the kids enjoy crafts and games.  A great festive day out for all the family.  Entry is free, but donations are welcome – all money raised helps us to care for our animals. A great family day out!

Admission is free, though donations are welcome, and the event runs from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

Father Christmas arrives at Woodlands Farm
Father Christmas arrives at Woodlands Farm
Father Christmas' scarecrow helpers
Father Christmas’ scarecrow helpers

Apologies to regular readers of e-shootershill that the blog has been unavailable for the last few weeks.  Our hosting company decided to cease trading and we’ve had a few technical difficulties moving the site to a new host. There’s still one or two things to sort out, for example not all images are displaying at the moment, but we’ll get those fixed as soon as we can.

In the meantime here’s a couple of photos to prepare you for Sunday: some of the Christmas craft gifts created by farm volunteers, including the snowmen with wonderful trompe-l’œil carrot noses and one of the farm’s sheep in the snow. Newshopper are reporting that London might have snow in the next couple of days.

Christmas gifts made by farm volunteers
Christmas gifts made by farm volunteers
Sheep in the snow
Sheep in the snow

October at Woodlands Farm: sloe gin, Apple Day, half-term activities and ecological surveys

Hedgerow liqueurs 2017 poster

There’s lots going on at Woodlands Farm during October: a Hedgerow Liqueurs course on Sunday, the annual Apple Day fête, half-term activities for children and the regular range of ecological surveys.

Hannah, the Education Officer at the farm, wrote with details of the Hedgerow Liqueurs course:

HEDGEROW LIQUEURS
Sunday 8th October 2017     12.00—4.30pm
Price £12 (£8 members)  18+ years only
Sloes are scarce, so we will be using a mixture of fresh picked fruit and frozen fruit, to make together our delicious sloe gin this year, in good time for Christmas
Bring your own gin or spirit of choice together with at least a one litre, wide neck (>2.5cm) container. Kilner type jars, 1.5 litre, will be available at cost price. Sugar and sloes will be provided by Woodlands Farm.
Book early via the Farm Office, numbers limited

 

Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm
Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm

Apple Day Poster 2017 colour A4

This is followed by the annual Apple Day fair on the following Sunday:

Join us for a celebration of traditional British apples on Sunday 15th October 2017, from 11am-4pm. Discover and buy many different types of traditional British apples. There will be a variety of activities including a treasure hunt, apple pressing to make delicious juice, stalls selling local produce, including our own honey and home-made jams, cakes and try some Kentish Cider. A great day out for all the family. Entry is free, but donations are welcome and go towards the running of the Farm. No parking on site. Please use public transport.

Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram, should be out in the field with the ewes by then: he’s getting a bit frustrated in his current home in the barn. The farm will also be getting some longhorn cattle soon as they start to focus more on rare breed animals.

Archy, the farm's new Manx Loaghtan ram
Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram

At the end of the month it’s half term week, and as usual the Farm have laid on some interesting and educational activities for children. Again Hannah wrote with the details:

October Half Term Events
Wednesday 25th October   Farm Rhymes and Riddles 1pm-3pm £2 per child
Test your skills at solving rhymes and riddles as you try our trail. Can you figure out what animal each riddle is about, while exploring the farm. Work them all out and get a prize! There will also be a chance to meet some of our animals. No need to book just drop in.
Thursday 26th October   Leaf Lanterns 10am – 12noon and 1pm-3pm £4 per child
Join us for an autumn walk round the farm to find out about different types of trees and leaves. We will be collecting what we find to then use to make and decorate a leaf lantern to take home. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.
Friday 27th October     Halloween Trail and crafts 11am-3pm £3 per child.
Halloween is just round the corner so join us for a day of spooky crafts. There will be a creepy animal facts trail round the farm where you can find out all the gruesome and scary things about British wildlife. Come dressed up to get in the full spooky spirit. No need to book, just drop in.

 

Some of the farm's awards this year
Some of the farm’s awards this year

 

The farm’s regular schedule of ecological surveys continues through the month. Previous months have seen surveys of pond life, bees, moths, bats and wild flower meadow plants (lots of magical missile-repelling Corky Fruited Water Dropworts), and the first mammal surveys. The mammal surveys continue this month and there is the last of the monthly bee walks of 2017. The currently planned survey activities for October are:

Wednesday 11th October 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Thursday 12th October, 9am – Mammal survey collect traps
Tuesday 17th October, 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Wednesday 18th October 9am – Mammal survey, collect traps
Wednesday 18th October, 2pm – Bee walk – last of the year
Monday 30th October, 10am – Dipping pond maintenance. Wellies or waders recommended!

If you’d like to help with the wildlife surveys contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Sexing a Wood Mouse

Sexing a Wood Mouse
Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm
Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm

Woodlands Farm 20th Anniversary Family Fun Day

Woodlands Farm 20th anniversary poster

It is 20 years since the Woodlands Farm Trust was established to run the farm following the successful People Against the River Crossing campaign to save the farm and Oxleas Wood from being destroyed to create a motorway, and as part of their celebrations the farm are holding a Family Fun Day this Sunday, 10th September.

Hannah, the Education Officer at the farm wrote with details:

Woodlands Farm 20th Anniversary Family Fun Day
Sunday 10th September 11am-3pm
Woodlands Farm is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Join the celebrations by coming along to our Family Fun Day. Find out all about how the farm was saved 20 years ago as well as what is involved in the day to day running of the farm with a chance to meet the animals and find out about animal care. There also will be guided foraging walks and apple pressing. Our activities include children’s crafts, trails, vintage tractors and lots more for all the family. On the day we will be collecting memories from people who remember the farm from years ago or even memories of recent years. If you previously volunteered or assisted the farm please join us at our memories area to catch up with old faces and share your experiences at the farm. A fun day out for all the family! This event is free, but donations are welcome.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

It’ll be fascinating to find out more about the events that led to the farm and woods being saved for the local community.

Sheep Shearing at Woodlands Farm Summer Show
Sheep Shearing at Woodlands Farm Summer Show
Bob the pony cart rides at Woodlands Farm Summer Show
Bob the pony cart rides at Woodlands Farm Summer Show