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 email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of opportunities for night-time walks in our local green spaces hunting for bats.
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.
It’s over 6 years since the restored lilly pond in Eaglesfield Park was opened on 15th June 2012, and it’s in need of some TLC. Bridget from the Friends of Eaglesfield Park wrote with a request for help with clearing the pond on Saturday:
Eaglesfield Park – Autumn Pond Clearing
Can you spare any time between 8am – 3pm on Saturday 20th October to take part in an Autumn Pond Clearing?
Could you help us keep Eaglesfield pond a haven for wildlife and a place we can all enjoy?
Residents and other park users will be joining forces with Greenwich Council Parks Department staff to help clear the overgrowth of plants in the pond and tidy up around the edges so that it can continue to thrive when Spring comes.
Giving even an hour of your time would be so helpful.
Eaglesfield Park, which for anyone that doesn’t know it lies right at the top of Shooters Hill bordered by Eaglesfield Road, Foxcroft Road and Cleanthus Road. The pond is tucked away at the far side of the park nearest to the water tower at the top of Shooters Hill. It was restored as a wildlife pond with Lottery funding secured after 4 years of campaigning and fundraising by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park in 2011. Carrying out a major clearing of the plant growth in and around the pond this autumn is vital for the sustainability of the pond. The Friends of Eaglesfield Park would greatly appreciate any help that can be offered.
You can just turn up at the pond at the pond anytime between 8am-3pm on the Saturday or if you’d like more information you can call Bridget Imeson on 07734810402.
Protective gloves will be available, and we have a few pairs of waders for the more intrepid!
There’s been a pond in the current location since the 1700s when it was part of a pleasure gardens attached to the old Bull Hotel, which was located near where the water tower is now. It was a huge achievement by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park to get the funding necessary to restore it as a wildlife pond, but a shame it has got a little bit overgrown. It would be great to get the over-grown water plants out of the way before winter, and there’s even time to do a little bit of work on the pond and still get to the People’s Vote March for the Future in London!
Here are some of my photographic sequence showing the restoration of the pond and how it changes through the seasons.
As you know we have had a couple of Bat walks and Houses in the woods walk; which we are planning to offer again, weather permitting. We also have our regular activities, the litter collection once a month; the Saturday and new weekday conservation sessions with the Shooters Hill Woodland working group and a new gardening project to re-establish the rose gardens at Jackwood and Castle woods. I have attached a poster about this project including the dates of forthcoming gardening sessions.
Our activities have been developed in response to our members’ requests and we are really fortunate to have knowledgeable members who have been able to lead walks and deliver interesting talks on a range of subjects.
Up until now we have been able to open up all our activities to non members as well as members but with our large and growing membership (currently we have 92 members), we are needing to prioritise some activities such as the Walks to members (their friends/families) only. So far, we have not had to turn people away; we have just had to repeat the walks! Needless to say, we are always grateful for volunteers to work with us on the regular gardening, litter collection and conservation activities.
The poster reads:
A massive thank you to all the volunteers who were able to help at short notice with clearing the rose beds at Jackwood Terrace (above). It took a total of 30 man & woman hours to weed the beds.
We have confirmation from the Council that they will add mulch when time allows, but volunteers may be needed to help with spreading.
Parks & Open Spaces did remove the roses from the Severndroog beds (below) with the intention of replacing them with wildflowers. They have now given permission for FOW to replace the roses in the autumn if funding can be secured. We have requested further information on sponsorship permission.
Whilst funding is secured for replacement roses (best planted in the autumn) we are looking for volunteers to help weed and prepare the Severndroog beds during August and September.
We will use this as an experiment to see what days and dates suit different people so please do let firstname.lastname@example.org know when you can join us (see purple box above).
PS. We will offer to find a good use for the wildflower seeds too.
The next event that the Friends have planned is this Sunday, 14th October, when the Friends’ Chair Tom Wareham will lead a repeat of the Houses in the Woods walk. This twilight wander through the woods visits the sites of some of the great houses that used to stand in the woodlands: Castle House; Castlewood; Jackwood; Wood Lodge; Warren Wood and Falconwood. Each participant on the walk is loaned an A4 folder with pictures of the houses before they were demolished. As the appropriate points on the walk it is possible to hold the pictures up against the current scenery and see where the houses stood. What a great way of presenting local history! The stories about the houses and gossip about their occupants are fascinating.
It’s very likely that Sunday’s walk is already fully booked, but contact Sue on email@example.com if you’re interested.
The next dates for other planned Friends’ activities are:
Litter collection Saturday 27th October 10am – 12pm Shooters Hill Working Party Saturday 13th October 10am, Friday 19th October 10am – 3pm Rose beds & bulbs Sunday 4th November 10am-12pm, Friday 9th November 2pm-4pm
Again, contact Sue for more information. The next members’ meeting is planned for 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th December in Shrewsbury House.
October is a busy month at Woodlands Farm with Apple Day on Sunday, an autumnal walk on 21st and events for children in half-term week which includes a spooky Halloween trailer ride.
Maureen sent me details of the annual Apple Day event:
Join us for a celebration of British apples on Sunday 14 October 2018 from 11am to 4pm. Discover and buy different types of traditional British apples. There will be live music by Skinners Rats, a variety of activities including: tractor and trailer rides (weather permitting), children’s craft fun, a treasure hunt, apple-pressing to make delicious juice, craft and local produce stalls (including our own honey, homemade jams, BBQ) and an opportunity to try some delicious Kentish cider. A great day out for all the family. Entry is £1 adult, and 50p for children. All proceeds go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community. A great family day out!
An opportunity to stock up on the less well-known varieties of apple that supermarkets don’t seem to stock these days, and possibly even a rare Pitmaston Pineapple.
The following week, on Sunday 21st October, there is the Farm in Autumn Guided Walk starting at 11:00am and lasting about an hour and a half. We are asked to wear suitable shoes for muddy conditions. This walk isn’t suitable for buggies.
Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer wrote about Woodlands’ half-term events for children:
Autumn Half Term Holiday Activities
Autumn Wildlife Explorers Wednesday 24th October 11am – 3pm £3 per child.
This farm explorer’s session will be about autumn at the farm. Find out about what happens during autumn at the farm as well as about the different wildlife which hibernates and what work we do on the hedgerows in autumn, there will also be an autumn scavenger hunt.
This is the last in a series of farm explorer’s sessions throughout the year. Pick up your farm passport to collect stamps for each farm explorer’s session you attend. Collect as many as you can throughout the year to get a certificate and prize! £3 per child. No need to book, just drop in. More information call 020 8319 8900.
Horrible Halloween – craft and spooky Tractor/Trailer ride Friday 26th October Sessions from 2-4pm and 6-8pm £5 per person
Join us for a spooky time at the farm. Make a spooky craft before enjoying a creepy tractor and trailer ride around the farm, but be careful you don’t know what you will see on this Halloween trip! This event is for children age 4-11 years. Due to space on the trailer you have to book for adults and children. To book call 020 8319 8900.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah is also the person to contact about the last of the farm’s ecological surveys for the year:
Monday 15th October, 2pm – Bee Walk – this is the last bumble bee walk of the year.
Tuesday 16th October, 4pm – Mammal survey – putting the traps out
Wednesday 17th October, 9am – Mammal survey – bringing the traps.
It’s been another interesting year for wildlife surveys at the farm, with all the usual ones being run, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, tree health, aquatic life, the wildflower meadow and mammals. The Longworth traps have only yielded wood mice this year, none of the voles or shrews that have previously been found. Perhaps Wednesday will be different!
The Woodlands Farm bat walk is this Thursday starting at 8.00pm. Booking is required, call 020 8319 8900, and there is a charge of £6 for adults and £4 for children to help fund the farm’s work. The farm participates in the Bat Conservation Trust‘s National Bat Monitoring Programme each year, surveying for four species of bat at the start and end of July. The first survey this year was the best ever in terms of the number and variety of bats detected, with many contacts with larger bat species such as Noctules and Leisler’s as well as the usual Common and Soprano Pipistrelles. There were fewer bats at the end of July survey, though still quite a few pipistrelles.
It’s time to adjust your night vision for the now annual Bat Walk. After a short intro – next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park – Les Clark will lead the walk through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied!
This time we ask that you book your free place in advance using; https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bat-walk-tickets-48480937790
A maximum of 50 people allows everyone to get the most out of the experience. If you don’t have computer access please drop a note through the door at 189 Plum Lane with your name and phone number.
Wear suitable footwear (maybe bug spray too) and bring a small torch if you have one. The walk is approximately 1 1/2 hours. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead.
If it’s raining neither bats nor us will be coming out!
The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands will be meeting at 7.25pm on Friday 21st September. Again, booking is necessary, with details given on the Friends’ poster:
Following on the success of our first bat walk in May where people saw a number of bats we are offering this second walk.
Bat detectors will be provided so that you can hear the bats in action as they hunt for insects, and try to identify which species of bat there are in the woods.
Please dress warmly for the evening and wear footwear suitable for walking in the woods. You may want to bring a torch too!
Numbers are limited to 30, including children, so BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
To book your place please email the Friends’ Secretary, Sue Reeve at email@example.com as soon as possible.
We need your name and how many you are booking for; (Max 2 adults and three children per booking, but please contact us if you need to vary this or wish to book for friends too.) We will also need a telephone number to contact you in case we need to cancel due to bad weather. (Bat’s don’t like it when it’s too cold or raining!).
This activity is free of charge to Friends of Oxleas Woodlands members but a nominal charge of £3 per person will be made to non members on the night.
We will meet at the Crookston Road, SE9 entrance to the woods at 7.25pm and set off promptly at 7.30pm.
Seeing our open spaces at night, and the views over the lights of London, is enjoyable even if the bats don’t co-operate, but let’s hope they do!
This weekend will be busy with the Plumstead Make Merry at Plumstead Common on Saturday 9th from 12 noon to 6pm and Woodlands Farm‘s Summer Show on Sunday 10th June between 11.00am and 4.30pm.
Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer wrote with details of the Woodlands Farm event:
Come along to our annual summer show which is part of Open Farm Sunday. Enjoy a sheep shearing display or have a go on our new tractor ride. There will be local stalls selling produce and crafts as well as children’s activities, a BBQ and live music. This event is free but donations are welcome. For more information call 020 8319 8900.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again this year the Summer Show is combined with Open Farm Sunday – the farming industry’s annual open day when hundreds of farms across the country will be open to the public. It’ll be a good opportunity to see the farm’s new red tractor.
Also as in previous years Hannah has organised a set of surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna. The next ones are:
Thursday 14th June – Pond Survey, 2pm
Thursday 21st June – Bee Walk, 2pm.
Tuesday 26th June – Wild flowers survey, 1pm
All are welcome at the surveys, though it might be wise to let Hannah know if you are coming in case of changes.
The recently formed Friends of Oxleas Woodlands are holding a bat walk next Friday, 27th April starting at 8.00pm at the Crookston Road entrance to the woodlands. The walk is free, but places are limited and booking is necessary. Their poster gives the details:
Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk.
Friday 27thApril at 8pm
Come along and meet our local Bat population.
Use bat detectors to hear the bats in action as they hunt for insects, and try to identify which species of Bat there are in the woods. Bat detectors will be provided. But dress warmly for the evening and wear footwear suitable for walking in the woods. You may want to bring a torch too!
Numbers will be limited to 40, including children. So BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
Email the Friends’ Secretary, Sue Reeve at email@example.com to book your place.
We will need to know your name and how many you are booking for; (Max 2 adults and three children per booking, but please contact us if you need to vary this or wish to book for friends too.) We will also need a telephone number to contact you in case there is a need to cancel due to bad weather. (Bat’s don’t like it when it’s raining!).
Meet at the Crookston Road entrance to the woods at 7.55pm.
We are planning another bat walk later in the year.
This is the Friends’ first event since their inaugural general meeting on 7th March, but they plan to hold other events such as history walks and wildlife and plant surveys. They have also held a number of litter picking sessions; the next one is on Saturday 21st April meeting at the café at 10am, or at the traffic lights at the Welling Way/Rochester Way Junction at about 10.15.
The bats should be out of hibernation now, feeling very hungry after the long winter, and trying to make up ground on their feeding schedule which will have been delayed by the poor weather. Usually the females will form maternity colonies in May before giving birth to a single pup during June.
Recent bat walks in the area, such as those at Shrewsbury Park and Woodlands Farm have also spotted hedgehogs as they looked for bats, so if you get a place on the walk keep a look out.
The Friends plan to hold another bat walk later in the year, so if you don’t get a place on this one there will be a further opportunity later on.