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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com
It’ll be fascinating to find out more about the events that led to the farm and woods being saved for the local community.
Thu 31st Aug 19:30 – 21:00 Join us for a bat walk around the farm. Woodlands Farm has a number of different species of bats, using bat detectors we will try to find some. The walk will start at 7.45pm. Please bring a torch and wear sturdy shoes. £6 adults, £4 per child. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.
Friday 1 September 8.00 pm Shrewsbury Park
• Walk is free to members, £2 others (but free to join on the day)
• Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather
• Children must be accompanied by an adult
• Walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and torches are helpful
• Dogs must be kept on a lead
If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass.
If it’s raining, neither the bats nor us will be coming out!
Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park at sunset using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
It’s been a good year for bats in my experience. The National Bat Monitoring Programmefield surveys in July went well. At Woodlands Farm volunteers detected a good number of pipistrelles, and also overflying noctules. We even detected pipistrelles in our Canning Town survey area which in previous years has had none, or perhaps a single pipistrelle detected at Canning Town Recreation Ground. It doesn’t help that the area has the noisy and polluting A13 running through it. There were also quite a few pipistrelles in the May Shrewsbury Park bat walk. As a bonus hedgehogs were seen at both the farm and Shrewsbury Park.
One of my batty highlights of this summer was a bat walk at South Mere in Thamesmead led by Karen Sutton the Biodiversity Team Manager at Thames Water. There are lots, and I mean lots of insects flying over and around the lake, and these attract a large number of bats: noctules and the larger bats and possibly Daubenton’s bats over the water and common and soprano pipistrelles in the lakeside trees. It was a spectacular display of agile bats flying close to us spectators, and so many that it was difficult to distinguish their calls on our bat detectors to decide exactly which bat species were present.
The highlight this year so far though was our waterway survey along the River Cray near Hall Place. For the first time since the Waterway Survey has been carried out here there were definite detections and sightings of Daubenton’s bats feeding over the river. They flit about very close to the water surface capturing their insect prey using their large feet or tail membranes. I recorded some of the echolocation calls using my new toy, a Peersonic bat recorder: the result is shown in the trace below which was analysed using the Audacity free audio editing software. I can foresee hours of fun analysing the details of bat calls!
The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding another of their marvellous summer festivals this Sunday, 9th July. The event kicks off with the official opening of the new drinking fountain, The Watering Hole, at 12.30pm by the Mayor of Woolwich, Peter Brooks along with “at least two” of our local Councillors. The new fountain was partly funded by the councillors’ ward budgets as well as money raised over the years by the Friends.
This year’s festival is packed with events and music. As well as the amazing dog show, there will be community stalls, crafts people, ice cream, face painting and yoga. Local Tai Chi teacher Dorothy Ng will present a Tai Chi demonstration from 1pm to 1.30pm, and the StepZ Dance troupe will be showing their skills. Intriguingly Emergency Exit Arts will be revealing the secret life the urban meerkat in their Meerkat Menagerie and the astronomers of the Royal Observatory’s Flamsteed Society will be bringing along their specialist telescopes and equipment for some solar observing.
Musical entertainment will be provided by Jazz Nights, folk duo Pytchwood, Susan Turner and Mark (Gilly) Evans of the Gillies and the Bexley Ukulele Band.
Registration for entry to the dog show events starts at 12.30pm, costing £2.00 per class, with the following competitions: