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  • hilly 10:42 am on October 13, 2014
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    Wide Horizons Family Fun Day & Adventure Abseil 

    Wide Horizons' Fun Day Flyer

    Aimee from Wide Horizons wrote with details of a Family Fun Day and Adventure Abseil to be held this Saturday, 18th October, to celebrate the charity’s tenth birthday. She wrote:

    Wide Horizons are turning ten this October and on Saturday 18th October, wish to celebrate this by inviting members of the local community to our beautiful site to enjoy a day of free activities, take part in an Adventure Abseil and listen to our range of guest speakers talk about the charity, including Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock.
    Wide Horizons are celebrating ten long years of the charity providing local schools with Adventure Learning. The eight centres across England and Wales allow schools to experience life changing adventures, schools can take part in day and overnight visits at our centres.
    Our aim for this Free Family Fun Day is to give members of the local community, primarily Greenwich and Lewisham, an insight to what Wide Horizons is about and how Adventure Learning is important for development of youth. The Environment Centre in Eltham will host this day, giving members of the public the chance to come and experience activities available to schools in the area. There will be a range of activities include; Arts & Crafts, Bushcraft, a climbing wall, the Adventure Abseil and much more throughout the day.

    The sponsored Adventure Abseil will take place at the nearby University of Greenwich Avery Hill Campus. It’s a 90ft drop, shown in Wide Horizons’ photograph below, but you will be guided by the charity’s expert instructors and I hear that the views over South-East London from the top are amazing. You can register for the abseil here: http://www.widehorizons.org.uk/event/abseil/abseil-registration-individuals/

    The Family Fun Day is completely free and runs from 10.00am to 4.00pm at Wide Horizons 9 acre Eltham site at 77 Bexley Road London  SE9 2PE.

    Wide Horizons' photo of the Adventure Abseil

    Wide Horizons’ photo of the Adventure Abseil

    Portrait of a goat at Wide Horizons' Eltham Centre

    Portrait of a goat at Wide Horizons’ Eltham Centre

  • hilly 10:51 pm on October 2, 2014
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    Woodlands Farm Apple Day 12th October 2014 

    Woodlands Farm Apple Day Poster 2014

    Maureen from Woodlands Farm e-mailed details of their annual autumn apple-fest – Apple Day. She wrote:

    Join us for a celebration of British apples on Sunday 12 October 2014, from 11am to 4pm. This is an opportunity to discover and buy many different types of traditional British apples.  There will be a variety of activities including crafts, a treasure hunt, archery, 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 always welcome and go towards the running of the Farm.

    I was hoping to find some unusual apples in the Farm’s orchard; I know the apple trees there are of various varieties that you wouldn’t normally find in a supermarket. Unfortunately all the apple trees were fruitless. Already harvested perhaps? However there were some interesting looking pears and some medlars, which looked ready to be bletted.

    Pear tree in Woodlands Farm orchard

    Pear tree in Woodlands Farm orchard

    Medlar tree at Woodlands Farm

    Medlar tree at Woodlands Farm

  • hilly 12:05 pm on October 2, 2014
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    Local History Walk on Sunday 

    Royal Coat of Arms in a Shooters Hill garden

    Royal Coat of Arms in a Shooters Hill garden

    I hear from Steve that the Shooters Hill Local History Group is organising a circular walk on Sunday 5th October commencing at The Bull on Shooters Hill at 11am with a 12.30pm finish. He doesn’t give many details, but says that it an opportunity to learn more about the history of our area, and will make reference to some famous local names associated with Shooters Hill, houses, landowners and stories of interest about the area.

    Participants in the Group’s last history walk took a peek over the wall of the garden of a Shooters Hill house and saw the stone coat of arms shown above. I wonder if this walk will go the same way?

    Appropriate footwear is recommended

  • hilly 5:24 pm on October 1, 2014
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    Constitution Rise Woodlands 

    The pond in the Constitution Hill woodland

    The pond in the Constitution Rise woodland

    Wide Horizons  have been making progress on their project to turn the 5-acre woodland site on Constitution Rise into an outdoor learning centre. Their Director of Operations Hamish Cherrett recently e-mailed local residents with an update:

     Since my last communication we have been working hard on various fundraising bids to secure essential funding to improve the access and ensure basic amenities such as water supply and toilets are installed along with works including remediation of the ponds at the north of the site.
    We have also been talking with some local primary schools about long term partnerships to assist with regeneration and conservation work as well as using the site as an education base, any partnerships are still to be confirmed however we hope that classes from at least two schools will start to use the site regularly from October. Over the coming weeks we will have groups of young people undertaking conservation and ground clearance work so you will likely see activity around the entrance at various times. All activities will be structured and are being led by Wide Horizons tutors, any activity will take place between 10am-4pm.

    Wide Horizons are planning to hold an open evening at their centre in Eltham where they will present their proposals for the woods over the  next 2 years. They also hope to have the Head Teacher of at least one of their partner schools present to share their thoughts about the woods project. The date for the open evening hasn’t been announced yet.

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey's 1866 OS Map of Shooters Hill

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1866 OS Map of Shooters Hill

    Google maps snippet showing location of woodland on Constitution Rise

    Google maps snippet showing location of woodland on Constitution Rise















    As can be seen on the snippet above from Alan Godfrey’s 1866 OS map, above, the woodland on Constitution Rise used to be part of the grounds of a large house called The Rookery.  According to Bagnold it was once called The Grove and in 1802 it was leased by Henry Lidgbird to a G.T. Goodenough who lived there until 1819. After that it was the summer residence of Edward Strachey, the second son of Sir Henry Strachey, and his wife Julia. They called the property Goodenough House, and it was referred to as such by the philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle who visited the Stracheys in Shooters Hill a number of times. Carlyle, in his Reminiscences, described the house and its gardens as follows

    They lived in Fitzroy Square, a fine-enough house, and had a very pleasant country establishment at Shooter’s Hill ; where, in summer time, they were all commonly to be found. I have seldom seen a pleasanter place ; a panorama of green, flowery, clear, and decorated country all round ; an umbrageous little park, with roses, gardens ; a modestly excellent house ; from the drawing-room window a continual view of ships, multiform and multitudinous, sailing up or down the river (about a mile off) ; smoky London as background ; the clear sky overhead ; and within doors honesty, good sense, and smiling seriousness the rule, and not the exception.

    Edward Strachey was an employee of the East India Company and worked in India for many years in various posts culminating in his appointment as a judge of the provincial court of appeal at Dacca. On his return to London he held a post at East India House where his colleagues included James Mill, his son John Stuart Mill and Thomas Love Peacock. The Stracheys were also well acquainted with Edward Irving. Edward Strachey died at Shooter’s Hill on 3 January 1832 and his wife on 20 November 1847.

    The house was occupied, again according to Bagnold, between 1845 and 1847 by Henry Alwin Soames, and its name had changed back to The Grove. It appears on the 1866 OS map as The Rookery, and has that name in a local directory of 1874. There were a number of other occupants, mainly military men, until it was demolished to make way for the Wimpey Estate around the time that Bagnold was writing in 1936-38.

    I doubt that anything remains of the house, and its gardens, while still umbrageous (perhaps too umbrageous), are very overgrown. It’ll be interesting to hear more about what Wide Horizons plan for the future of the Rookery’s gardens.

    Guided tour of the woodland site in February

    Guided tour of the woodland site in February

    Chickens at Wide Horizon's Eltham Centre

    Chickens at Wide Horizon’s Eltham Centre

  • hilly 8:54 am on September 25, 2014
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    Sloe, sloe quick sip sloe 

    Hedgerow Liqueurs 2014

    Hannah from Woodlands Farm e-mailed to say that the sloes on the farm are ready to be harvested already, a lot earlier than usual, so they have hastily arranged their annual Hedgerow Liqueurs day for Saturday 4th October 2014 :

    Join us for a tramp and forage around the hedgerows, followed by sloe gin making.
    Bring your own gin or spirit of choice together with at least a one litre, wide neck (>2.5cm) container. Alternatively, Kilner type jars, 1.5 litre, will be available at cost price. Sugar, sloes and wild damsons will be provided by Woodlands Farm.
    Book early via the Farm Office, numbers limited
    Please dress appropriately for outdoor activities and bring a packed lunch

    Price £15 (£10 members)
    18+years only

    You can contact the farm to book a place by phone on 020 8319 8900 or by e-mail on woodlandsft@aol.com

    There’s another new arrival to visit at the farm: a British White calf  born recently, seen below with her mother Clover.

    Clover the British White and her new calf at Woodlands Farm

    Clover the British White and her new calf at Woodlands Farm

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