I was really pleased to hear that Woolwich Opera Works are still going and will be presenting another free concert at All Saints church on Sunday, 28th April, starting at 4pm. Their previous concerts at the church have been really good, with excellent professional singers singing in the intimate surroundings of All Saints, in front of Hans Feibusch‘s marvellous mural depicting the Ascension.
Although the organisers are happy for people to just turn up on Sunday, it would be helpful to them if attendees booked a ticket here: https://billetto.co.uk/e/wow-it-s-springtime-tickets-351821. The concert is free to attend, but there is a collection at the end to help cover the costs. WOW’s previous concerts were all very well attended, with enthusiastic audiences of over a hundred.
The concert is organised by Dominic J. Walsh who has recently been appointed as the Artistic Coordinator of Woolwich Opera Works. The performers are all established, professionals with a wealth of opera experience: Lucy Hall (Soprano), Emma Stannard (Mezzo Soprano), Samuel Stopford (Tenor), Jamie Rock (Baritone) and Janet Haney (Piano). The programme includes Delibes’ Flower Duet and La ci Darem as well as music from Handel, Tosti and Tchaikovsky.
Sunday’s concert will be tinged with sadness because this is WOW’s first concert since the passing of one of the founders of the company, distinguished soprano Sally Silver, who sang in some of the earlier WOW concerts at All Saints. About two years ago Sally discovered she had a very advanced brain tumour, diagnosed as a Glioblasoma Grade 4 brain tumour. She passed away last November. Her obituary in the Times describes her as: “a dazzling soprano who put young singers at ease. In performance her tuning was effortless, her tone bright, her phrasing warm and her enunciation gloriously clean.” She will be much missed.
The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have had an amazing first year, and continue with a full programme of events for 2019, including a Family Walk this Sunday, a Bat Walk on May 10th and activities in May to mark the Tree Council’s Walk in the Woods month. They have made great progress in the restoration of the rose gardens in Castle Wood and Jackwood, have set up additional Conservation Working Party sessions and litter picks and continued to campaign for the preservation of the woodlands. And that’s not to mention the Houses in the Woods walks, their Gardeners Question Time at Shrewsbury House and rose pruning workshops.
The work on the rose garden restoration has been particularly impressive, with many volunteer hours put in to clearing and mulching the beds, in association with the Royal Borough of Greenwich Parks Department. They have plans to re-plant the beds with 265 roses and create interpretation boards, which will include information about the varieties of rose planted, the history of the woods, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands and the names of donors. They are crowdfunding to pay for the roses and boards: to donate go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freindsofoxleaswoodlands-fow
Each £15 donation will sponsor a rose in either your name or the name of a loved one, which can be displayed on the new interpretation board.
The Friends’ next public event is the Family Walk on Sunday. Their events flyer gave the details:
Guided Walk : Seasonal Family Walk – Sunday 28 April at 10.30am. FEEL a tree, SEE spring plants, LISTEN to birds and other forest animals. This guided walk is designed for accompanied children aged 5 years and upwards. Please note that all places on Guided walks must be booked in advance and you are advised to let us know if you are coming to any of the activities as there may be changes to where and when we meet. You can contact us at email@example.com for activities or firstname.lastname@example.org for general enquires or visit our website www.oxleaswoodlands.uk
The Friend’s programme for May is included below, though I suspect there will be additional events to mark Walk in the Woods month:
Celebrate Oxleas Woodlands by joining us on Monday 6th May at Oxleas Woods Café from 11am. This Bank Holiday Special is part of the Tree Council’s Walk in the Woods month. We will have free activities for all the family, including guided walks, maps, tree dressing, bark rubbing and more. Guided Walk: Dawn Chorus on Saturday 4th at 5am. An early morning walk identifying the birds as they fill our ears with their morning songs, followed by an optional breakfast at the café. Booking your place on this walk is essential. Rose Garden Restoration: Saturday 4th at 10am. As well as weeding the beds we hope to be choosing the mix of rose varieties for the eleven beds that we will be planting in Autumn Walk in the Woods Celebration of Oxleas Monday 6th from 11am onwards. A range of Free activities for all the family. Including guided walks, maps, tree dressing, bark rubbing and lots more. Rose Garden Restoration: Friday 10th at 3pm. The weeds are really growing through now but together we can ensure the old roses take centre stage. Guided Walk: Bat Walk on Friday 10th, 8.30pm Join us as the sun sets to explore the darkening wood, listening for bats and identifying their calls. Booking your place on this walk is essential. Shooters Hill Working Party: Saturday 11th at 10am The Shooters Hill Working Party meets on the second Saturday of every month at Oxleas Café. Woodland Conservation: Friday 17th at 10am. We’ll get dirty hands and have fun doing woodland management activities to ensure a variety of flora and fauna flourish. Litter Pick: Saturday 25th at 10am There are always some incredibly strange finds on our litter pick days, and we have a surprising amount of fun working together in the thick of it.
Amongst the objectives of the Friends is to support the aims of the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees, Woods and People which includes ensuring that the woodlands continue to provide a rich ecosystem with habitat for a diverse range of animals, and to advocate and campaign for stronger legal protection for trees and woods, especially those which have SSSI status. Recent concerns, and action, have been about the type of rodenticide used to control rats near the old police station, and the felling by the council of mature oak trees at the back of Crookston Road at the behest of insurance companies dealing with subsidence claims. The oak trees have been in place much longer than the properties for which it is alleged they cause subsidence!
I’ll post again about the Friends’ Walk in the Woods month activities when I get more information, but now is a perfect time for a walk in the woods, with new leaves on the trees and the bluebells and many other wild flowers in bloom.
The Friends‘ e-mail gave the details of the upcoming walks:
Tree Identification Walk – Sunday 28 April 2019 at 2pm Led by John Denton, an expert in local flora and fauna, you’ll learn more than you ever dreamt of about the trees in the park, how they’ve survived and thrived, how old they are and much more! Meet at Plum Lane (Car Park area) by the information board
BAT WALK – Friday 3 May, start time 8pm – 1 ½ hours approx Our knowledgeable bat guide, Les Clark, will be leading this spring walk around the park, starting at the notice board next to the car park. He’ll give a quick briefing on bat facts and how to tune in the bat detectors. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a small torch as eyes adjust to the dark. The walk includes a mix of terrain so please bear that in mind when booking. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead. Any questions please contact email@example.com Pre book on EventBrite (link to follow) as we have a 50 person limit. The event is free, but donations are welcome as they go towards a second bat detector for members’ use. Another bat walk is scheduled for 23 August in case you miss this one. If it rains neither bats nor humans will turn up!
Foraging Walk – Sunday 12 May at 2.30pm The amazing Kevin Godby will be leading a walk around the park, demonstrating what you can and can’t eat. He’ll also talk about how our ancestors would have selected particular leaves and berries to supplement their diet. Meeting point will be the Dothill (Garland Road park entrance) | No dogs please | spaces limited to 30
The Friends have announced the date for this year’s Summer Festival: Sunday 21st July from 12 to 4pm. If you’re interested in having a stall at the Festival, which is part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s well-publicised “ParkFest” then you’ll need to send in an application form, available on the Friends’ website, by the end of April.
The Summer Festival includes the Friend’s Calendar photograph competition. They e-mailed details:
Annual Calendar competition If you have been with us for more than a year, you’ll be aware that we run an annual photography competition for our members to contribute the great photos which appear in our calendar. Winners receive a copy of the calendar – and the glory of having their picture and name in print! We’re sure you have some super shots that you’ve captured in the park – so why not enter them? You can enter a maximum of 3 photographs. they must be at least 2mb in size You need to be a member, but membership is free and you can sign up via our website. Send us your entries today Deadline for Entries Entries will be judged at our Festival on Sunday 21 July – entries should be emailed to us along with your name! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by our deadline of midnight on 28 June 2019. All photos entered need to be of good resolution – typically at least 2mb (megabytes) in size. We’re printing it in square format so do make sure it will resize successfully. Don’t forget a catchy caption to go with it!
There’s a lot going on at Woodlands Farm at the moment: their annual Lambing Day fair is this Sunday, 14th April from 11:00am to 4:00pm, then there are Easter event for children over the holiday, crafts courses for adults and a guided bird walk on 28th April.
Maureen from the farm sent me details about Lambing Day:
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 a tractor/trailer ride (weather permitting) or get involved in various activities and games.
All proceeds from donations and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community.
Entry: Adult £2, Children under 16 £1; Family £5 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
A great family day out! No parking on site, please use public transport. Buses 89 and 486 stop outside the farm. Sorry, no dogs allowed.
Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer, sent details of their other April events:
Tuesday 16th April The Stick Man Day 11am – 3pm
Inspired by the Julia Donaldson story of Stick Man come down to the farm to try our Stick Man trail. There will be story readings, wild art and minibeast hunts throughout the day. £3.50 per child which includes activities and a Stick Man Activity Pack. No need to book, just drop in.
Wednesday 17th April Silly about sheep 10am – 12noon
Come along to our sheep activity day. Have a go at our fun sheep facts trail and make a sheep craft to take home. There will also be the opportunity to see our new born lambs. £3 per child. Just drop in.
Thursday 18th April Eggs-cellent Easter Trail 10am – 2pm
It is time for our annual Easter Trail round the farmyard. Can you find all the Easter eggs hidden round the farm? If you can then you can get you chocolate egg prize! No need to book, just drop in. £2 per child.
Adult Crafts Courses Beginners Wet Felting Course
Sunday Mornings, 10am – 1pm starting from 28th April for 4 weeks
This 4 week course will provide the opportunity to experiment and learn different felting techniques to create beautiful creations including wet felted jewellery, a landscape pictures as well as the final project of a scarf or placemat. You will cover the topics of basic wet felting, 3D wet felting as well as the opportunity to experiment with Nuno techniques. This course is run in conjunction with South East Yarn Academy (SEYA) London. £100 includes all tuition and materials required on the course. For more information or to book go to our website: www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
Beginners Crochet Course
Sunday afternoons, 2-4pm starting from 28th April for 4 weeks.
This 4 week beginner’s course will teach you all about crochet from starting and finishing your work, to different types of stitches as well as about different types of yarns. The course allows you to learn the basics of crochet and develop the skills culminating in making a final special project of a crochet dreamcatcher. This course is run in conjunction with South East Yarn Academy (SEYA) London. £100 includes all tuition and materials required on the course. For more information or to book visit www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
Sunday 28th April Guided Bird Walk 10am – 11.30am
The first in our series of spring bird walks around the farm. This will be a great opportunity to find out about the spring arrivals to the farm as well as those birds which are here all year. Meet outside the mess room in farmyard at 10am. This walk will involve crossing muddy fields, so is not suitable for buggies. Please wear suitable footwear and bring your own binoculars if you have them. In the event of bad weather this walk will be cancelled. £2 adults, £1 children.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on email@example.com
The Farm’s volunteers will be very busy again during April, after the long hours lambing in March.