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  • hilly 10:55 am on June 8, 2016
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    Friends of Shrewsbury Park 10th Anniversary Festival 

    Friends of Shrewsbury Park Parksfest leaflet

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding a weekend of festivities to mark their tenth anniversary: they first met on 13th March 2006, and have been responsible for many improvements to the park since then. Kathy, the Chair of the management committee wrote with details:

    We are planning a weekend of events to celebrate our 10th birthday.  On Saturday 11 June we are holding our summer festival of jazz, choir and dance from 2 – 4pm.  On Sunday 12th June, we are holding our fabulous Dog Show from 1 – 4pm.

    Saturday 11 June 2-4pm – we have Bella Voce Social Club Choir, Greenwich Morris Men, Summer Jazz from Jazz Nights, Community Activity Stalls, Solar Scopes, Pony rides and more
    Sunday 12 June 1-4pm – our fabulous Dog Show featuring fun agility course, best rescue dog, Shrewsbury’s got talent, best child handler, Puppy class (under 12 months), best fancy dress, obedience class, fastest dog. You need to enter your dog at the Registration desk at 12.30. The £2 per class goes towards the fundraising for the drinking fountain.

    The park’s summer festivals are always very enjoyable, with lots of different activities from the Flamsteed Astronomy Society demonstrating how to safely view the sun through to the traditional dancing of the Greenwich Morris Men. And the dog show is always great fun. This year’s line-up looks the best yet.


    Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

    Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

    Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

    Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

  • hilly 1:43 pm on May 22, 2016
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    Woodlands Farm Summer Show and half-term activities for children 

    Woodlands Farm Summer Show 2016 poster


    Woodlands Farm‘s Summer Show is combined with Open Farm Sunday again this year, so it will include farming related demonstrations such as sheep shearing, hedge-laying tools and a bodger as well as the usual stalls and children’s activities. It takes place on Sunday 5th June between 11.00am and 4.30pm. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Summer Show on Sunday 5 June 2016, 11am-4.30pm. Come and meet our animals, and enjoy the chance to buy quality local produce at reasonable prices, including home-made preserves, cakes and honey.  Relax in our café, get involved in craft activities and games, and enjoy displays of country crafts.  Entry is free but donations are always welcome.  All proceeds go towards caring for our animals.  A great family day out!

    Open Farm Sunday is the farming industry’s annual open day, and hundreds of farms across the country will be open to the public. Open farms are listed on  Open Farm Sunday‘s website. The event is organised by the LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) charity.


    Sheep Shearing at Woodlands Farm

    Sheep Shearing at Woodlands Farm

    In the week before the Summer Show, the farm have their half term activities for children. Hannah, the farm’s Education Officer, sent details of these:

    Half Term Activities
    Wednesday 1st June — Dream Catchers £2 per child
    Do you love having a good dream? Traditionally dreamcatchers were believed to trap your bad dreams but allow your good dreams through. So come and join us at Woodlands Farm as we make dream catchers using willow and other natural materials.  This is a drop in session. No need to book.
    Thursday 2nd June — Pond Dipping
    What is hiding beneath the surface of the pond, join us to find out.  All equipment provided.  Sessions at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm
    £1 per child    Booking essential, call 020 8319 8900
    Friday 3rd June — Brilliant Bees 11am-3pm    £2 per child
    Join us for a day of bee-related fun and activities. Go on our ‘Bee-scene’ trail to see if you can spot bees and the plants which are so important for their survival. Learn about the Farm’s own  honey bee hives and do a craft to take home.
    Have a go at candle rolling (£1.50 extra).  No need to book just drop in.

    There may also be a chance to see the new piglets recently born to the farm’s Gloucester Old Spot pig, Rosie. They are a cross between Rosie and a Saddleback pig and have an interesting mix of markings.

    Rosie, the Gloucester Old Spot pig, at Woodlands Farm

    Rosie, the Gloucester Old Spot pig, at Woodlands Farm

    Rosie's new litter

    Rosie’s new litter

  • hilly 10:08 am on May 21, 2016
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    Beekeeping Talk at Severndroog Castle 

    Severndroog Castle

    Severndroog Castle

    There’s a chance to learn more about bee-keeping this Thursday, 26th May, when Severndroog Castle hold an illustrated talk on the subject presented by John Large of the Oxleas Wood Apiary. Stephen sent me details:

    7:00PM THURSDAY 26MAY 2016
    £3.50 per visitor includes access to the viewing platform
    Jars of Honey are the on supermarket shelves, local honey can be found on sale at markets or by the side of the road. Honey comes from the bees we see flitting from flower to flower but does every type of bee make honey?
    How does honey differ from place to place?
    Is honey made throughout the year?
    How is it collected?
    Now is the chance to discover the answers to these questions and many more.
    John Large, the Oxleas Wood Apiary apiarist, will be at Severndroog Castle to introduce the art and mystery of beekeeping, together with some of the known facts and science of A. Mellifera. He will venture into some of the remaining mysteries about the anatomy of the individual bee and social behaviour of the bee colony, including the gaps in our knowledge and the enigmatic and sometimes perplexing traits of bee behaviour that persist  for several thousands of years since man first endeavoured to domesticate these fascinating creatures.
    Weather and seasonal development permitting, John Large will bring along an observation hive stocked with bees, so that the wonderful world of the honeybee can be witnessed at first-hand. The fully illustrated presentation will include a question and answer session and, perhaps, close with a sweetener to those participating.
    Tickets will be available on the door but if you wish to book in advance click on the link below. Please note when booking via Eventbrite there will be a booking fee.

    Sounds fascinating, and with the added bonus of a twilight view from the top of the castle!


    The hives of Oxleas Apiary

    The hives of Oxleas Apiary

  • hilly 12:17 pm on April 26, 2016
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    Bluebell Walk on Sunday May 1st 

    Bluebell Walk Poster 2016

    Our local woodlands are awash with bluebells and other wild flowers: it’s the perfect time for a walk in the woods, and there’s a great opportunity this Sunday, 1st May, when Woodlands Farm have organised a guided walk through the woods from Severndroog Castle to Woodlands Farm starting at 2.00pm.

    Hannah Ricketts, the farm’s education officer, wrote with details:

    Bluebell Walk
    View the delights of springtime bluebells with this guided walk through Oxleas Wood and Woodlands Farm. Starting at Severndroog castle this walk will meander through Oxleas Wood taking in the signs of spring as well as a chance to find out more about the history of the woodland, it will end at Woodlands Farm with a trip up to Clothworkers Wood if you still have the energy to enjoy the farm’s display of bluebells. This walk is free, donations are welcome. For more information call 020 8319 8900.

    This is more than just a chance to admire Oxleas’ and Woodlands’ bluebells. Previous bluebell walks have revealed some of the woods’ hidden treasures, such as the Redwood trees planted by the London County Council  in the middle of our native woodlands, not to mention native plants that are indicators of ancient woodland, such as the Wild Service Tree and  Butchers Broom – species that would be threatened if a road was ever built through the woods.  One year we heard about the historic cants of coppiced Hazels and Chestnuts deep in the wood and their place in medieval life. This walk is very educational and very highly recommended.

    You can see photographs of the plants and wild flowers of Oxleas Woods in a Flickr album here.

    Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

    Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

    Bluebells and Wood Anemones in Lesness Abbey Woods

    Bluebells and Wood Anemones in Lesness Abbey Woods


  • hilly 10:45 pm on March 19, 2016
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    Birds, Bees, Barn Dances and Lambing Day at Woodlands Farm 

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2016 Poster

    Upcoming events at Woodlands Farm include their annual Lambing Day fair, two barn dances, the first of the season’s wildlife surveys, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust‘s bee walk,  and an early spring bird walk.

    Maureen wrote with information about Lambing Day:

    Lambing Day at Woodlands Farm, Sunday 10 April 2016, 11:00am-4.30pm
    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. Entry is free, but donations are always welcome. All proceeds from donations and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community. A great family day out!
    No parking, please use public transport. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

    There seem to have been more new lambs than ever this year. Most are now out in the fields, demonstrating their skills in exuberant bouncing with all four feet in the air, or joining in a mass race across the meadows.

    New lambs racing across Woodlands Farm's fields

    New lambs racing across Woodlands Farm’s fields

    One of Woodlands Farm's new lambs

    One of Woodlands Farm’s new lambs

    There will be two traditional barn dances this year, on Saturday 28th May and Saturday 9th July, both starting at 7.30pm. Skinners Rats will be providing live country music and will be calling the steps. We’ll need to bring our own food, drink and glasses.
    Tickets are £14 (including VAT and booking fee) – booking is via eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/barn-dance-tickets-21713716310

    Honey Bee at Woodlands Farm

    Honey Bee at Woodlands Farm

    The first Bumblebee Survey is this Monday, 21st March at 2.00pm. The Farm’s Education Officer, Hannah, wrote with details:

    We have signed up to take part in the Bumblebee Conservation Trust bee walk this year.  This will involve doing a walk round the farm once a month on a set route and recording any bumblebees we see.  This is every month from March to October, so should keep us busy!  Anyway the first one will be on Monday at 2pm.  We will meet in the Farmyard and will use this time to both map the route and record any sightings, not sure if we will see much if still chilly but hopefully be a nice walk anyway and good to plan route for the rest of the year!

    The Early Spring Bird Walk is on Sunday 3rd April starting at 10.00am. It is free to farm members, but for non-members costs £2 per person or £1 for children under 18. We are advised to wear sturdy footwear and suitable outdoor clothing. The walks includes climbing a small stile.
    Lots to see and do down at Woodlands Farm. And don’t forget the Spring Equinox Walk tomorrow, Sunday, at 10.00am.

    Long-tailed Tit at Woodlands Farm

    Long-tailed Tit at Woodlands Farm

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