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  • hilly 7:39 pm on August 22, 2016
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    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park 

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    Brown long-eared bat at Bat Fest

    Next weekend, 27/28 August, is International Bat Weekend, which is marked by batty events across the world. Locally both Woodlands Farm and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding bat walks in the coming weeks, and London’s Bat Fest is being held over the weekend at Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney.

    There seem to be plenty of bats around this year. The NBMP field survey at Woodlands Farm in July detected quite a few pipistrelles and some noctules. Pipistrelles have also been detected at the Wide Horizons Constitution Rise woodland, Manor House Gardens, Hall Place and Hervey Road sports field. Even normally sterile Canning Town had more than its usual solitary pip in this year’s NBMP survey. However the waterways survey along the River Cray at Hall Place once again found no Daubenton’s bats.

    Woodlands Farm BatWalks 2016

    Woodlands Farm’s bat walks will be held on Wednesday 24th August and Thursday 1st September. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    Join us for our annual bat walks. Starting with a brief introduction to bats we will then go on a walk round the farm trying to see and hear bats using bat detectors. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. Children must be accompanied by an adult (not recommended for children under 6 years). £6 per adult, £4 per child (under 16 years). To book go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-woodlands-farm-trust-8448478250

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk is on Friday 2nd September at 8.00pm. Kris sent me details:

    Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
    The walk is free to members and £2 for non-members (but you can join on the night). Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather and paths. Children must be accompanied by an adult. And dogs must be kept on a lead.
    The walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and a torch is useful.
    The car park may still be open but not at the end of the walk so remember to leave cars outside of the Park. If you have any mobility queries please contact us on fspdog@hotmail.com and we will help you participate.
    If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

    Let’s hope it stays dry for all the bat walks!

    Shrewsbury Park Bat walk poster 2016

  • hilly 5:24 pm on August 19, 2016
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    Pet Cemetery Open Day 

    The Friends of the Pet Cemetery Open Day2016 poster

    The Friends of the Pet Cemetery are holding their first open day on Saturday 20th August 2016 from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm. Liz, the Friends’ Chair, wrote with details and with an update on their achievements to date. They will have various stalls including a toy tombola, Blackheath Pet Supplies, a quiz and a children’s stall. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery and browse the pet memorials.

    There seem to be more improvements at the pet cemetery every time I drop in. The most notable recent changes are the new circular benches around the trees in the cemetery, funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Parks and Gardens Association and installed by Eltham  Men in Sheds, and a trellis arch with a stone seat funded by the Greenwich Community Projects Scheme. The garden beds have also benefitted from hard work and lots of new plants, and more of the old memorials to deceased pets have been cleaned up. They have also recently completed mapping the memorial stones and have put up a notice board at the entrance to the cemetery.

    The Pet Cemetery Charlton showing the new Benches around the trees

    View of the Pet Cemetery showing the new Benches around the trees

    New decorative arch and stone bench at the Pet Cemetery Charlton

    New decorative arch and stone bench at the Pet Cemetery Charlton

    The most interesting part of the pet cemetery to me is the old memorials and the enigmatic stories hinted at by their inscriptions. One that I noticed when I first visited the Pet Cemetery a few years ago looked like it had recently been cleaned, revealing its moving inscription more clearly. It was to a dog called Simba:

    TO E.A ε R.C.M.
    HE DIED ON 4TH DEC 1935


    The Pet Cemetery is opposite the Fox Under the Hill Pub on Shooters Hill Road, follow the path down between the wall and the flats, the entrance is on the  left marked by a Blue Plaque.


    Memorial to Simba at the Pet Cemetery

    Memorial to Simba at the Pet Cemetery

    Simba's memorial in 2013

    Simba’s memorial in 2013


  • hilly 8:40 pm on June 30, 2016
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    National Meadows Day at Woodlands Farm 

    National Meadows Day at Woodlands Farm

    There’s another chance to take a guided tour of Woodlands Farm‘s hay meadows this Saturday, 2nd July, when the farm are taking part in National Meadows Day. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    As part of National Meadows Day there will be a guided tour of the stunning hay meadows at Woodlands Farm. The farm has almost 30 acres of traditionally managed hay meadows bursting with wild flowers, bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife at this time of year.
    The meadows are managed as part of Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.
    The walk will be for about 2 hours on Saturday 2nd July 2016 and will start in the farmyard at Woodlands Farm at 1.30pm. If you like meadows and flowers this is the walk for you.

    This is the second year that National Meadows Day has taken place: it is planned  to hold it each year on the first Saturday in July, when the country’s wildflower meadows are at their best. It is organised by a number of organisations led by Plantlife, a wild plant conservation charity. There are about 100 events taking place across the UK including guided walks, open days with family activities, kids craft days, scything activities and photography walks. They are also holding a National Meadows Photography Competition with a deadline for entries of 31st August 2016.

    Ragwort at Woodlands Farm

    Ragwort at Woodlands Farm

    Teasel at Woodlands Farm

    Teasel at Woodlands Farm

  • hilly 10:27 pm on June 21, 2016

    How Shooters Hill voted in 2016 

    Percentage of votes cast for London Mayor in Shooters Hill

    Percentage of votes cast for London Mayor in Shooters Hill


    Sadiq Khan was Shooters Hill’s choice for London Mayor, taking 48% of the vote in the ward, against Zac Goldsmith’s 28% according to the breakdown by ward of the capital’s votes published by London Elects. The Green’s Sian Berry was third with 7%, followed by UKIP’s Peter Whittle and the Lib Dem’s Caroline Pidgeon. This compares to the 2012 result when Ken Livingstone got 46% of the Shooters Hill vote, against Boris Johnson’s 37%. Across the whole of London Sadiq took 44.2% of first preference against Zac’s 35%, so Shooters Hill was a bit more pro-Sadiq than the rest of the capital

    Sian Berry got the most second preference votes, with 24%, though of course these votes don’t count under the system adopted. Only the votes of the top two candidates count, and Sadiq again beat Zac in Shooters Hill with 16% against 10%.

    In the ballot for the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency member of the London Assembly, Labour’s Woolwich-born Len Duval once again out-performed the mayoral candidate, taking 52% of the Shooters Hill vote, well ahead of the Tory’s Adam Thomas on 19%. Green Imogen Solly was narrowly beaten into third place by UKIP’s Paul Oakley. The BNP and Britain First did not put up a candidate for the constituency member. Len increased his margin of victory from 2012 when he got 51% of the vote against the Conservatives’ 22%.

    The turnout in Shooters Hill ward for the London elections was just 44.24%, excluding postal votes which made up some 22% of the total votes cast. Let’s hope this week’s referendum on whether to stay in Europe gets more voters voting.


    Percentage of votes cast for London Assembly Constituency Members in Shooters Hill

    Percentage of votes cast for London Assembly Constituency Members in Shooters Hill


    One of the striking trends in the ward-by-ward breakdown of the elections for London Mayor is how the balance between the two major parties has changed in Greenwich over the last three elections. This is shown in the three ward maps below showing which party had most votes in each Greenwich ward in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Back in 2008 the borough was split between Labour North and Conservative South, with Shooters Hill ward very much on the cusp voting for Tory Boris for Mayor and Labour’s Len for London Assembly member.  Over the course of the three elections Labour have had the largest share of the vote in more and more wards, moving southwards, until in this year’s mayoral election the conservatives had most votes in just three, and in the London Assembly ballot Len Duval narrowly topped the polls in Eltham North too.

    UKIP have also seen an increase in support over these three elections. In the London -wide assembly member polls, where we vote for a party rather than a person, UKIP’s share of the vote in Greenwich has gone from 2.78% in 2008 to 5.67% in 2012 up to 9.35% this year. I understand that we may get a ward level break-down of referendum results: it’ll be interesting to see how this correlates with the parties’ polling in this year’s other ballots.

    In the meantime, I’ve finished all my deliveries of Remain leaflets, and freed up Thursday to help with leafletting and reminding Remainers to vote. Fingers crossed that the nation sees sense.


    2008 London Mayoral Elections Greenwich Ward Map

    2008 London Mayor Election Results

    2012 London Mayor Election Results

    2012 London Mayor Election Results


    2016 London Mayor Election Results

    2016 London Mayor Election Results

  • hilly 3:51 pm on June 16, 2016
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    Mid-summer hay meadow walk at Woodlands Farm 

    Midsummer hay meadow walk poster

    The traditional hay meadows, with their many and varied wild flowers, are one of the wonders of Woodlands Farm and there’s an opportunity to see them at their best on Sunday (19th June) when the farm hold the latest of their monthly walks. Maureen from the farm wrote with details of the mid-summer hay meadow walk which starts at 10.00am:

    Join us at Woodlands Farm for a two-hour leisurely stroll around our traditional hay meadows. The meadows are at their best at this time of the year, bursting with wild flowers, bees, butterflies and all manner of wildlife. The walk will be led by a Woodlands Farm volunteer pointing out many of the interesting plants and animals in these traditionally managed hay fields. The walk includes climbing a small stile and is not suitable for buggies. Meet in the green Education Building at 10am.
    So pull on those boots and come along with us on this unmissable walk.
    Free activity – donations welcome!

    For an even closer view of the meadows join the farm’s enthusiastic conservation volunteers on Thursday 30th June at 2 o’clock for the meadow plant survey, when you’ll find them in the meadows surrounded by plant guides examining the wild flowers and grasses. This is one of a series of surveys in the next couple of months, Hannah recently sent round the full  list:

    Wednesday 15th June, 3pm –  Survey of the wildlife pond
    Wednesday 22nd June, 2.30pm – Bumblebee Walk
    Thursday 30th June, 2pm – Meadow plants survey
    Friday 1st July, time to be confirmed – Bat survey
    Monday 18th July, time to be confirmed – Bat Survey
    Wednesday 20th July, 10.30am – Butterfly survey
    Wednesday 27th July, 2pm – Bumblebee walk

    The weather forecast for Sunday is currently “dry with sunny spells” – perfect for a wildflower meadow walk.

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm, looking towards the golf course and water tower

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm


    Wild flower meadows at Woodlands Farm

    Wild flower meadows at Woodlands Farm

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