Friends of Shrewsbury Park AGM and other events

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park AGM on 14th November will consider the topic of biodiversity and what it means for the park. The Friends have also arranged a quiz night and a bulb planting session in November.

They e-mailed the details of the AGM:

Annual General Meeting
Thursday 14 November 7-8.30 pm
Shrewsbury House (bar open next door)
We hope you can come to our AGM?
In addition to the business meeting and election of management committee members there will be time to raise your park ideas and issues.
‘Why should I care about biodiversity’ kicks off a discussion specific to Shrewsbury Park’s natural habitats and what part we humans play. There will be input from a panel of guest speakers: Claire Lambert and Jack Partridge (trees) from RBG Parks and Open Spaces along with members Les Clark (a bat and hedgehog enthusiast) and John Denton (butterflies and hedgerows).
Then it is time for everyone to add to and evaluate actions we can put forward.
2020 calendars will be on sale (£5) and new park greetings cards (£2)
See you there!
FSP Committee

101 Sun Salutations for Greenpeace at Shrewsbury Park
101 Sun Salutations for Greenpeace at Shrewsbury Park

The National Biodiversity Network‘s recent State of Nature report (pdf) highlighted the decline in biodiversity in England:

Our statistics demonstrate that the abundance and distribution of the UK’s species has, on average, declined since 1970 and many metrics suggest this decline has continued in the most recent decade. There has been no let-up in the net loss of nature in the UK.

They report that 13% of species in England are threatened with extinction from Great Britain, and that 36 plant species have become extinct.

Shrewsbury Park is listed in the Royal Borough of Greenwich Core Strategy (pdf) as a “Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – Site of Borough Importance, Grade I”, with the contiguous areas of Shooters Hill Golf Club and Woodlands Farm. Together they form “An extensive mosaic of habitats, ranging from ancient woodland, secondary woodland through scrub to rough grassland and wetland.” The area is home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife including at least two animals mentioned in the Greenwich Biodiversity Action Plan (pdf) as priority species: bats and hedgehogs. The Mammal Society assess the Hedgehog as Vulnerable, and estimate that populations have declined by as much as 73% since their 1995 review to just 522,000. Some estimates put their decline at 97% since the 1950s. The are often seen on bat walks in the area: what can we do to help them? This will be one of the items discussed at the meeting.

Ringlet butterfly in Shrewsbury Park
Ringlet butterfly in Shrewsbury Park

The Quiz Night will be on Friday 22nd November:

Here are the details of our latest quiz – these are always great fun, and a fantastic way to enjoy a Friday night! Do join us!
Friday 22 November
6.45pm for 7.30pm start
Tables of 6 – £5.50 per person
Shrewsbury House, SE18 3EG
Tickets can be purchased using the link above or here
Bar is open from 6.30pm
Fantastic raffle prizes!
Our thanks to our amazing quiz masters, Dee and Geoff.

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park

Then on Sunday 17th November the Friends will be planting spring bulbs and bramble bashing:

Come and join us planting our Spring bulbs!
Sunday 17 November – 1.30pm
Bulb planting/Bramble bashing event! Sunday 17 November at 1.30 (an hour or two).
Meet at the crossroads in the Park, bring a trowel, strong gloves and secateurs if possible. Kids especially welcome! You will get dirty.

Perhaps we’ll be able to clear some of the footpaths through the old allotment site on Dot Hill.

Shrewsbury Park view
Shrewsbury Park view

Bat Walks in Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands

With International Bat Night coming up it’s great that there are three local bat walks in the next couple of weeks, at Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands.

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 werfsp@gmail.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.

The following day, Friday 30th August, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have their bat walk. Their August Update gave details:

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 suereeve@virginmedia.com

Lots of opportunities for night-time walks in our local green spaces hunting for bats.

Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Hibernating Natterer's Bats in Highgate Tunnels
Hibernating Natterer’s Bats in Highgate Tunnels


Friends of Oxleas Woodlands events and activities

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

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 suereeve@virginmedia.com for activities or oxleasfriends@virginmedia.com for general enquires or visit our website www.oxleaswoodlands.uk

Ladies Smock (Cardamine pratensis) in Oxleas Wood
Ladies Smock (Cardamine pratensis) in Oxleas Wood
Stitchwort in Oxleas Wood
Stitchwort in Oxleas Wood

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.

Places on the guided walks need to be booked: e-mail suereeve@virginmedia.com

Bird Cherry flower in Oxleas Wood
Bird Cherry flower in Oxleas Wood

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.

Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus Ficaria) in Oxleas Wood
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus Ficaria) in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Sorrel in Oxleas Wood
Wood Sorrel in Oxleas Wood
Wild Garlic in Oxleas Wood
Wild Garlic in Oxleas Wood
Wild Cherry Blossom in Oxleas Woods
Wild Cherry Blossom in Oxleas Woods
Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood
Leaf of Wild Service Tree in Oxleas Wood
Butchers Broom in Oxleas Wood
Butchers Broom in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

Spring events in Shrewsbury Park

108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park
108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park

Lots going on at the Friends of Shrewsbury Park this spring: a tree identification walk this Sunday, 28th April, then a bat walk and foraging walk, plus there’s news of their Summer Festival and calendar photography competition.

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 werfsp@gmail.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

To book a place on the bat walk go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park

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 werfsp@gmail.com 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!

Some great reasons to visit the park this spring!

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park

Woodlands Farm’s 2019 Lambing Day and other April events

Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb
Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb

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.

Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb
Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb

Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb
Woodlands Farm 2019 lamb

Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer, sent details of their other April events:

Easter 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

Guided Walks

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 education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

The Farm’s volunteers will be very busy again during April, after the long hours lambing in March.

Long-tailed Tit at Woodlands Farm
Long-tailed Tit at Woodlands Farm

Dunnock at Woodlands Farm
Dunnock at Woodlands Farm

Eaglesfield Park Autumn Pond Clearing

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018

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.

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2011
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2011

Early November 2011
Early November 2011

End of November 2011

December 2011
December 2011

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-February-2012
February 2012

March 2012
March 2012

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond at the start of April 2012
Start of April 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-end-of-April-2012
End of April 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-May-2012
May 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-15th-June-2012-a
15th June 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-15th-June-2012-b
15th June 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-August-2012
August 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-November-2012
November 2012

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-February-2013
February 2013

Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-17th-April-2013
17th April 2013

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond May 2013
May 2013

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018
October 2018

 

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands

Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower
Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower

Bat walks, local history walks, rose garden restoration, woodland conservation and litter picking: the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have been very active since their formation at the end of last year. Sue, the Friends’ secretary, wrote with an update:

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.

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Rose Garden poster

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 suereeve@virginmedia.com know when you can join us (see purple box above).
PS. We will offer to find a good use for the wildflower seeds too.

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

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 suereeve@virginmedia.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.

Path in Oxleas Woods
Path in Oxleas Woods

Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace
Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace

Apple Day and other October Events at Woodlands Farm

Woodlands Farm Apple Day poster

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.

Apples at Woodlands Farm
Apples at Woodlands Farm

Apples at Woodlands Farm
Apples at Woodlands Farm

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 education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm
Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm

Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm
Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm

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!

Hawk Moth at Woodlands Farm
Hawk Moth at Woodlands Farm

Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm, Shrewsbury Park and Oxleas Woodlands

Woodlands Farm Bat Walk poster

There are opportunities to search for bats in three of our local green spaces during the next month: bat walks are being held at Woodlands Farm on 23rd August, at Shrewsbury Park on 7th September and in Oxleas Woodlands on 21st September.

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.

Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest
Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk starts at 7.30pm on Friday 7th September. It’s free, but booking is necessary, as their web site says:

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!

Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk poster

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 suereeve@virginmedia.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!

Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat at Westerham Mines
Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat at Westerham Mines

Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Woodlands Farm Summer Show

Woodlands Farm Summer Show 2018 poster

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 education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.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.

Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show

The band at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
The band at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show

Clouds at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Clouds at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show