Woodlands Farm Apple Day and half-term events for children

It’s Woodlands Farm‘s annual Apple Day event this Sunday, 13th October 2019, starting at 11am, and they also have some activities lined up for children in half-term week.

Maureen wrote with details of Apple Day:

Join us for a celebration of British apples on Sunday 13 October 2019 from 11am to 4pm. Discover and buy different types of traditional British apples. There will be music by Skinners Rats, tea and cakes from our Café, plus a BBQ. There will be a variety of activities including: apple pressing to make delicious juice, stalls selling local produce, including our own honey and homemade jams, and an opportunity to try some delicious Kentish cider. A great day out for all the family. Entry: Adult £1, Child 50p. All proceeds go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community. A great family day out!

I’m looking forward to trying some interesting apple varieties, and getting some of my favourite Egremont Russets.

Apple Day at Woodlands Farm
Apple Day at Woodlands Farm

Hannah, the farm’s Education Officer, sent details of their half-term activities for children:

October Half Term
Tuesday 22nd October Make a bead bracelet 1-3pm
Drop by to have a go making your own bead bracelet. Use your creative skills to create colourful and decorative bracelets using our selection of beads and buttons. No need to book, just drop in. £3 per child
Wednesday 23rd October Passionate about Ponies 10am – 12noon
Do you want to find out all about ponies? Then come down and see our pony Bob and have a go at our pony and horse fact trail before making your own pony craft to take home. No need to book, just drop in. £3 per child.
Friday 25th October Horrible Halloween 11am – 3pm
Drop by for a day of Halloween crafts and a trail. Explore the farm and try and find all our creepy hidden creatures and then make your own Halloween craft to take home. No need to book, just drop in £3 per child.

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

Lambing Day at Woodlands Farm
Lambing Day at Woodlands Farm
Apple Day at Woodlands Farm
Apple Day at Woodlands Farm

Woolwich Opera Works’ “Songs of September” concert on Sunday

The wonderful Woolwich Opera Works will be performing another concert, Songs of September, at All Saints Church this Sunday starting at 4pm. As usual they have a line up of talented, professional opera singers and “will feature music of Verdi, Puccini, Schubert, Finzi, Vaughan Williams, Britten and have a particular focus on art song but still with lots of classic favourites!”

The artists performing on Sunday are Tanya Hurst (soprano), Maciek O’Shea (bass), Dominic J. Walsh (tenor and artistic co-ordinator), Paul Plummer (pianist) & Angela Yang (soprano).

Woolwich Opera Works previous concerts at All Saints have all been inspiring musical occasions, even for those who aren’t great opera fans. We’re lucky to be able to experience such talented musicians in such an intimate venue. Their last concert, “Cooling Classics”, in June, finished with an audience sing- along to the Toreador song from Carmen led by Baritone Grant Doyle. I understand that the culmination of Sunday’s concert will be a similar sing-along to Volare by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno.

The concert is free but there will be a collection at the end. Refreshments are available in the interval.

Amar Muchhala (Tenor), Grant Doyle (Baritone), Jeremy Silver (Piano). Hollie-anne Bangham (Mezzo-soprano) and Clémence Gleizes (Soprano) at Woolwich Opera Works' Cooling Classics concert
Amar Muchhala (Tenor), Grant Doyle (Baritone), Jeremy Silver (Piano). Hollie-anne Bangham (Mezzo-soprano) and Clémence Gleizes (Soprano) at Woolwich Opera Works’ Cooling Classics concert

Bat Walks in Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands

With International Bat Night coming up it’s great that there are three local bat walks in the next couple of weeks, at Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands.

The first of the three is next Friday, 23rd August in Shrewsbury Park. Kris, Chair of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park, sent me details:

Bat walk Friday 23 August – 8.15pm
After a short intro next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park, Les Clark will lead us through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied.
Booking essential –
eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323
*Wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing
*Children must be accompanied by an adult
*Walk lasts about 1 ½ hours and small torches are useful
*Dogs must be kept on a lead
If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on werfsp@gmail.com and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass.
If it’s raining neither bats nor us will come out!

The Woodlands Farm bat walk is the following week, on Thursday 29th at 7.30pm, but I see from their web site that it is already fully booked.

The following day, Friday 30th August, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have their bat walk. Their August Update gave details:

Bat Detecting
Friday 30th 8pm
Meeting at dusk we will use bat detectors to track down these nocturnal residents in their natural woodland habitat.
The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands is a community organisation run by volunteers. Walks are free for members & under 16s, otherwise £3 and need to be booked at suereeve@virginmedia.com

Lots of opportunities for night-time walks in our local green spaces hunting for bats.

Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Hibernating Natterer's Bats in Highgate Tunnels
Hibernating Natterer’s Bats in Highgate Tunnels


Pet massacre memorial unveiling on Saturday

View of the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
The Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery

Three special new memorials will be unveiled on Saturday, 10th August, at 2.00pm at the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery, including one remembering the pets euthanised in the second world war in the British Pet Massacre. Liz, chair of the Friends of the Pet Cemetery sent me details:

Memorial event at the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
Saturday 10th August 2019 2.00 pm

At 2pm on the above date three new memorials will be unveiled at the old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
A plaque in tribute to all animals that have lost their lives in conflict in the service of their country
A plaque in memory of the 2,500,000 Domestic Animals euthanised during WW11 on government orders
A plaque depicting the collar tag of a dog named Bonzo, found on Greenwich beach by a local Mudlark
We look forward to welcoming you to the Pet Cemetery where there are over two hundred little Memorial stones some dating back over one hundred years

Headstone in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
Headstone in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery

The new memorials are the result of research by one of my favourite local artists, Nicola White, who creates art using objects discovered when mud-larking along the Thames Foreshore. One such object was a dog tag for a dog named Bonzo: Nicola describes how she found the Bonzo ‘s owner in her Tideline Art blog. The tag also led her to a book, “Bonzo’s War: Animals Under Fire 1939 -1945” by Clare Campbell which includes the story of the “British Pet Massacre” in World War II. Some 2.5 million pets were euthanised, including 750,000 in a single week . Nicola’s story inspired a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a memorial for these pets, leading to the memorials which are being unveiled on Saturday.

Headstone in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
Headstone in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery

Liz also sent information about how to get to the Pet Cemetery, further information is available on the Friends’ website:


Visiting the Pet Cemetery
There is no parking on site, please park in Farjeon Road SE3 8SA or Charlton Park Lane SE7 8QS
Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, and Victoria to Blackheath
Bus 89 from Blackheath Station to Hornfair Park Lido
Look for the blue road sign opposite The Fox Under the Hill and take the path running alongside the flats and wall which will bring you to the Pet Cemetery
The Committee of the Friends of the Pet Cemetery, FOPC, hope you will be able to join us for this event
If you are interested in having a plaque made in memory of a much-loved pet to go onto the Memorial Wall
Please contact Liz McDermott Chair Friends of the Pet Cemetery FOPC
mcdermott_liz@hotmail.com 07815558680
Jean Patrick Secretary Friends of the Pet Cemetery FOPC jmp179@sky.com 07977208362

Memorial plaques in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery
Memorial plaques in the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery

The Past in The Park Time Walk on Friday

Local Archaeologist Andy Brockman is leading a local history walk, The Past in the Park, this Friday starting at 6.30pm in the car park in Shrewsbury Park. The Shrewsbury House poster gave the details:

The Past in The Park Time Walk
Friday 26 July – 6.30 pm
Meet in the Car Park of Shrewsbury Park
Join the walking time machine and celebrate this Festival of British Archaeology. Free, all welcome. Walk will last approximately two hours ending in the gardens of Shrewsbury House – where the House bar will be open!
Local archaeologist and Shrewsbury House trustee, Andy Brockman, will lead a tour of the Park and the summit of Shooters Hill.
Itinerary; Oldest building on Shooters Hill, remains of the medieval woodland belonging to the Parish of Plumstead, the site of London’s first school for children with Special Health Needs, the housing development that never was, traces of the men and women who defended London during the Blitz and the place where you stopped being a Londoner and became a Kentish Man [or Woman].
Tickets and info available from wegottickets.com/shrewsburyhouse
-Or ask at House reception
An event for the Council for British Archaeology Festival of British Archaeology, organised by Shrewsbury House and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park

Andy has run a number of Time Walks and they’ve all been fascinating. A great way to learn about the history of Shooters Hill.

Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold’s air raid shelter
Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold’s air raid shelter

Two fairs on the hill this weekend

There are two fairs on the Hill this weekend: the Shrewsbury House Summer Fete on Saturday and the Shrewsbury Park “Lark in the Park”, including their marvellous dog show, on Sunday.

Shrewsbury House‘s Fair on Saturday 20th July starts at 12 midday and ends at 5.00pm. Their invitation says:

Our Summer Fete and Craft Fair is just around the corner, with lots of fun activities for children such as face painting, a bouncy castle, belly dancing, a toy tombola and more – there is lots to keep little ones entertained!
Maritime Radio will be on the decks spinning some tunes and taking your requests, and of course we have a huge range of wonderful craft stalls with everything from Art to Body Products to Bags, Leather Goods and Homewares.
Come along and join in the fun!

Shrewsbury House is aiming to raise money to buy a defibrillator: you can donate by test as follows:

To donate £1, text HEART to 70201 To donate £3, text HEART to 70331 To donate £5, text HEART to 70970 To donate £10, text HEART to 70191 http://easydonate.org/HEART

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s summer fair, the Lark in the Park, is on Sunday 21st July between midday and 4pm. It sounds even better than usual, with music from Jazz Nights, Pytchwood, Flatfoot Johnny and the Wandering Rhythms and the Bexley Ukeleles, plus a range of stalls, various street foods and a beer tent. And then there is the amazing dog show which includes competitions for the scruffiest dog and the dog that looks most like its owner.

Here’s some pictures from the Friends’ previous dog shows to whet you appetite …

Eaglesfield Park playground clean up and paint this weekend

Eaglesfield Playground Clean-up and Paint Poster

The Friends of Eaglesfield Park and some local parents are planning to clean-up and paint the children’s playground in the park this weekend and would welcome help.

Bridget from the Friends sent me details:

Friends of Eaglesfield Park need your help
We want to tidy up our playground in time for the summer, as we think it’s looking a little tired and old.
Can you volunteer some time?
Clean Up: Sat 20th July. Any time between 10am-1pm
Paint: Sunday 21st July. Any time between 3-6pm.
We will provide as much equipment as we can. But if you can bring any of the following that would be great: wire brushes, shovels/hoes, brooms, paint brushes/trays and anything else that will help us to prepare and paint the equipment or clean the floors/surfaces.
Light refreshments will be provided. So, stick on your old clothes, bring along your friends and family and we hope to see you over the weekend!
For further information e-mail foepse18@gmail.com

Sound like a good way to spend some time in lovely Eaglesfield Park.

The Friends are also hoping to set up a team to begin fundraising over the coming winter to get some new play equipment into the park next Spring. Do get in touch with them if you can help with this.

Eaglesfield Park Playground
Eaglesfield Park Playground
Eaglesfield Park Playground
Eaglesfield Park Playground
Eaglesfield Park Playground
Eaglesfield Park Playground

Woolwich Opera Works’ “It’s Spring Time” concert on Sunday

Woolwich Opera Works "It's Springtime" concert poster

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.

Peter Knapp, Tristan Stocks, Chiara Vinci, Tony Baker, and Jeremy Silver at Woolwich Opera Works’ “Incanto” The Magic of Naples at All Saints Church
Peter Knapp, Tristan Stocks, Chiara Vinci, Tony Baker, and Jeremy Silver at Woolwich Opera Works’ “Incanto” The Magic of Naples at All Saints Church

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.

Sally Silver presenting the prizes for best hat at All Saints 150th Anniversary Concert
Sally Silver presenting the prizes for best hat at All Saints 150th Anniversary Concert

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands events and activities

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

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 suereeve@virginmedia.com for activities or oxleasfriends@virginmedia.com for general enquires or visit our website www.oxleaswoodlands.uk

Ladies Smock (Cardamine pratensis) in Oxleas Wood
Ladies Smock (Cardamine pratensis) in Oxleas Wood
Stitchwort in Oxleas Wood
Stitchwort in Oxleas Wood

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.

Places on the guided walks need to be booked: e-mail suereeve@virginmedia.com

Bird Cherry flower in Oxleas Wood
Bird Cherry flower in Oxleas Wood

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.

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus Ficaria) in Oxleas Wood
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus Ficaria) in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Sorrel in Oxleas Wood
Wood Sorrel in Oxleas Wood
Wild Garlic in Oxleas Wood
Wild Garlic in Oxleas Wood
Wild Cherry Blossom in Oxleas Woods
Wild Cherry Blossom in Oxleas Woods
Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood
Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood
Butchers Broom in Oxleas Wood
Butchers Broom in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

Spring events in Shrewsbury Park

108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park
108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park

Lots going on at the Friends of Shrewsbury Park this spring: a tree identification walk this Sunday, 28th April, then a bat walk and foraging walk, plus there’s news of their Summer Festival and calendar photography competition.

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 werfsp@gmail.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

To book a place on the bat walk go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park

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 werfsp@gmail.com 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!

Some great reasons to visit the park this spring!

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park