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  • hilly 6:32 pm on October 9, 2016
    Tags: conservation, ,   

    Apple Day and October events at Woodlands Farm 

    Apple Day 2016 Poster

    Apple Day, mammal surveys, bumble bee walks, new rare breed sheep and half term activities for children: busy times as usual at Woodlands Farm. The farm’s annual celebration of autumn fruitfulness, Apple Day, is next weekend on Sunday 16th October between 11am and 4pm. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    Apple Day
    Join us for a celebration of traditional British apples at Woodlands Farm, 331 Shooters Hill, DA16 3RP, on Sunday 16th October 2016, from 11am-4pm. Discover and buy many different types of traditional British apples. There will be a variety of activities including a treasure hunt, 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 welcome and go towards the running of the Farm. No parking on site. Please use public transport.

    I’m looking forward to trying some of the less common English apple varieties, such as Pitmaston Pineapples perhaps, and to stocking up on my favourite Egremont Russets. Maureen also sent me the photo below from a previous Apple Day.

    Apple Day at Woodlands Farm

    Apple Day at Woodlands Farm

    The farm has continued its surveys of the local flora and fauna through the summer, including bat surveys, wild flower surveys, bumble bee surveys and mammal surveys. The next mammal survey is this week: the Longworth traps will be set out on Tuesday afternoon, starting at 3pm, and collected the following morning, Wednesday 12th October,  at 9am. This year’s mammal surveys have been pretty fruitful, with wood mice, bank voles and common shrew found. On the most productive survey 10 out of the 15 traps deployed had something in.

    The bumble bee walk is held each month, the next one is this Thursday, 13th October starting at 2.00pm. Anyone interested in helping out with these surveys should contact Hannah Ricketts, the Farm’s Education Officer on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

     

    Wood Mouse caught in Woodlands Farm's Mammal Survey

    Wood Mouse caught in Woodlands Farm’s Mammal Survey

    Hannah also runs the half term activities for children at the farm, and sent me details of those running this month:

    October Half term activities for children
    Wednesday 26th October – Make an insect hotel
    1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm.  £4 per child
    Come along and make an insect hotel for your garden.  This will be a fabulous place for the insects to hibernate during the winter.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900
    Thursday 27th October- Autumn Art Day
    1-3pm, £2 per child
    Drop in for a fun afternoon of autumnal art!  Get crafty with leaves, paint or whatever you fancy!  As well as the rest of the art activities, there will also be a limited number of items to decorate for an additional £2.  No need to book, just drop in.
    Friday 28th October – Halloween trail and craft
    11am-3pm  £3 per child
    Drop in to join the fun as you go on a Halloween trail round the farmyard as well as having the chance to make your own spooky craft to take home.  Why not dress up as well to make the day an even creepier day out!  No need to book, just drop in.

    The farm’s new sheep are from a rare breed called Manx Loaghtan, which originate in the Isle of Man. They are characterised by brown wool and can have up to six horns, though the ewes at the farm only have two each.

    Manx Loaghtan at Woodlands Farm

    Manx Loaghtan sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Manx Loaghtan sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Manx Loaghtan sheep at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 8:40 pm on June 30, 2016
    Tags: conservation, , ,   

    National Meadows Day at Woodlands Farm 

    National Meadows Day at Woodlands Farm

    There’s another chance to take a guided tour of Woodlands Farm‘s hay meadows this Saturday, 2nd July, when the farm are taking part in National Meadows Day. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    As part of National Meadows Day there will be a guided tour of the stunning hay meadows at Woodlands Farm. The farm has almost 30 acres of traditionally managed hay meadows bursting with wild flowers, bees, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife at this time of year.
    The meadows are managed as part of Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.
    The walk will be for about 2 hours on Saturday 2nd July 2016 and will start in the farmyard at Woodlands Farm at 1.30pm. If you like meadows and flowers this is the walk for you.

    This is the second year that National Meadows Day has taken place: it is planned  to hold it each year on the first Saturday in July, when the country’s wildflower meadows are at their best. It is organised by a number of organisations led by Plantlife, a wild plant conservation charity. There are about 100 events taking place across the UK including guided walks, open days with family activities, kids craft days, scything activities and photography walks. They are also holding a National Meadows Photography Competition with a deadline for entries of 31st August 2016.

    Ragwort at Woodlands Farm

    Ragwort at Woodlands Farm

    Teasel at Woodlands Farm

    Teasel at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 3:51 pm on June 16, 2016
    Tags: conservation, ,   

    Mid-summer hay meadow walk at Woodlands Farm 

    Midsummer hay meadow walk poster

    The traditional hay meadows, with their many and varied wild flowers, are one of the wonders of Woodlands Farm and there’s an opportunity to see them at their best on Sunday (19th June) when the farm hold the latest of their monthly walks. Maureen from the farm wrote with details of the mid-summer hay meadow walk which starts at 10.00am:

    Join us at Woodlands Farm for a two-hour leisurely stroll around our traditional hay meadows. The meadows are at their best at this time of the year, bursting with wild flowers, bees, butterflies and all manner of wildlife. The walk will be led by a Woodlands Farm volunteer pointing out many of the interesting plants and animals in these traditionally managed hay fields. The walk includes climbing a small stile and is not suitable for buggies. Meet in the green Education Building at 10am.
    So pull on those boots and come along with us on this unmissable walk.
    Free activity – donations welcome!

    For an even closer view of the meadows join the farm’s enthusiastic conservation volunteers on Thursday 30th June at 2 o’clock for the meadow plant survey, when you’ll find them in the meadows surrounded by plant guides examining the wild flowers and grasses. This is one of a series of surveys in the next couple of months, Hannah recently sent round the full  list:

    Wednesday 15th June, 3pm –  Survey of the wildlife pond
    Wednesday 22nd June, 2.30pm – Bumblebee Walk
    Thursday 30th June, 2pm – Meadow plants survey
    Friday 1st July, time to be confirmed – Bat survey
    Monday 18th July, time to be confirmed – Bat Survey
    Wednesday 20th July, 10.30am – Butterfly survey
    Wednesday 27th July, 2pm – Bumblebee walk

    The weather forecast for Sunday is currently “dry with sunny spells” – perfect for a wildflower meadow walk.

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm, looking towards the golf course and water tower

    Wild flower meadow at Woodlands Farm

     

    Wild flower meadows at Woodlands Farm

    Wild flower meadows at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 1:43 pm on May 22, 2016
    Tags: conservation, ,   

    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
    Tags: conservation, ,   

    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:

    ILLUSTRATED TALK on HONEYBEE KEEPING IN OXLEAS WOODS from Oxleas Wood Honeybee Apiary.
    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.
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bee-keeping–tickets-24844043202

    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

     
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