Opportunities for Wildlife Enthusiasts

Woodlands Farm Wildlife Surveys Leaflet

Woodlands Farm are offering anyone interested in local wildlife  the opportunity to be trained in ecological surveying and to take part in the monitoring of key species at the farm,  they announced at a Launch Event last Thursday.

The Launch marked the award of a £38000 grant to the farm from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Farm Conservation project, as their web site says:

The Woodlands Farm Trust is delighted to have received £38,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new Farm Conservation project in Shooters Hill. Through the HLF funded Farm Conservation project, The Woodlands Farm Trust will be working with local communities and volunteers to increase awareness of the farm’s biodiversity and local conservation priorities, and to inspire local people to become actively involved in biodiversity conservation, This will include working with volunteers to to survey the farm’s biodiversity, and to establish a long-term monitoring programme and conservation management plan. The Trust will also be inviting local community groups to take part in wildlife and conservation activities at the farm, and will hold a series of public walks and talks on the wildlife found at Woodlands Farm.

In a presentation about the project, Lorraine Parish, the farm’s new Wildlife Officer said that the farm intended to survey and monitor species of conservation importance such as bats, birds, butterflies, dormice, dragon flies, great crested newts, moths and reptiles. As well as training wildlife enthusiasts in surveying techniques, they will run a programme of public events such as wildlife days, bat walks, moth mornings and nut hunts. The results of the work would contribute to London and local Biodiversity Action Plans.

The new project complements the farm’s work in sustainable farming, exemplified by their acceptance into Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

The launch event was opened by the new Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, David Grant, and attendees included  local MP Clive Efford, journalists from local newspapers and representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund and local conservation groups such as the Plumstead Common Environment Group and Greenwich Wildlife Advisory Group. Following the presentations the audience was led on a tour of the farm by Dr Barry Gray, Chair of the Woodlands Farm Trust.

The first stop on the tour was to visit Cynthia the Oxford Sandy and Black Pig and her newly born piglets, just a few days old – lots of aaahhs here. There were also seven new Gloucester old spot pigs from Mudchute Farm.

Cynthia the  Oxford Sandy and Black Pig and her new piglets

Cynthia the Oxford Sandy and Black Pig and her new piglets

Oxford Sandy and Black Pig piglet feeding

Oxford Sandy and Black Pig piglet feeding

Next stop was a chance to see one of the traditionally laid hedges bordering the farm’s fields, and hear about the hedge laying craft from some of the farm’s volunteers who lay the hedges themselves. An excursion through Clothworkers Wood, where some of the trees are over 300 years old, took us to one of the farm’s wild-flower embroidered hay meadows, again managed for conservation and habitat preservation. It was here that we saw an example of the magical missile-repelling Corky Fruited Water Dropwort! The tour concluded with refreshments by the dipping pond, accompanied by newts and other water creatures, and a visit to the farm’s beehives.

Anyone interested in becoming a wildlife surveyor should contact Lorraine, the Woodlands farm Wildlife Officer at wildlife@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org or phone 020 8319 8900.

There are more pictures of the Woodland Farm animals on Flickr here.