Half-Term at Woodlands Farm

A series of children’s activities (many of them free) are being offered at the farm in the February school holidays:

Half-Term Activities
22-25 February 2011

10.30-11.30am Farm Animal Tour FREE; all ages.
A chance to meet some of our friendly farm animals.

12.30pm-1.30pm Worm-charming competition FREE; ages 4-10.
How many worms can you find in 20 minutes? Plus a worm-identification workshop.

2.30pm-3.30pm Make a bird feeder to take home £1 per feeder for materials; ages 4-10.

Plus Scavenger Hunt, on-going all day from 10.00am. £1 per hunt; ages 4-10.

Shooters Hill Stables?

Today i was lucky enough to come across a copy of senine, a glossy and entertaining magazine that also has some excellent features relevant to the wider area. One story in this month’s edition particularly caught my eye. In a piece entitled Horse Play they detail proposals that could markedly change the Shooters Hill area by a) placing lots of horses in what is currently the donkey field between woodlands farm and thompsons garden centre, b) by exercising those horses in Oxleas Wood, and c) by increasing the to- and fro-ing of their handlers and vehicles, which may include a new horseback regiment due to move into the garrison. The SSSI designation awarded to the eastern slopes of Oxleas Wood, the attempts to build ringway2 and elrc over it, and the fairly recent development on woodland of the extended café car park and the recently permitted mixed-mode play area for christchurch school and public use (post to follow) mean that the integrity of one of London and nwkent’s last surviving, and in some ways unique (number of wild service trees for instance), areas of ancient woodland continues to require continual and vigilant protection in order to sustain it’s distinct ecology and survival.

Proposals for a new ‘Olympic legacy’ horse riding centre are on course for opening in 2012, SEnine has learned.

The centre will provide stabling for more than 40 horses on the slopes of Shooters Hill.

Maney for the £1m plus centre will come from a variety of sources, including £250,000 from the British Equestrian Federation and match-funding from Greenwich Council Olympic Legacy project.

The location is expected to be between Thompson’s Garden Centre and Woodlands Farm on a council-owned site currently grazed by donkeys from Blackheath.

Detailed plans are expected to be ready for consultation in the New Year but will run into strong opposition from members of the Woodlands Farm Trust concerned at the over-development of open land.

The new centre is intended to increase access to horse riding across the borough and will also include provision for riding for the disabled.

There will also be a link-up with the relocation to Woolwich of the country’s foremost equestrian Army brigade, the King’s Troop, Officers from the Troop, who will move into the former Royal Artillery barracks, will give their time to training at Shooters Hill as part of their commitment to community engagement

As well as stabling, there will also be new indoor and outdoor exercise rings. However, plans to allow the horses to gallop on surrounding land are expected to be opposed by Woodlands Farm and conservationists. Oxleas Woods, are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and horse exercise would churn up paths and leave droppings which could change the area’s delicate ecology.

Chair of the Trust Dr Barry Gray said: “It would be a massive over-development of Metropolitan Open Land and lead to increased traffic in the area. The council seems to take no notice of its own policies for nature conservation and open space.”

I also found a relevant story from 17 December 2009 on the british equestrian federation site, so this is not a new idea at all. I’m not sure why it’s surfaced on the pages of senine now, and can’t find any planning applications on the council website, the land is apparently theirs, so I’m not sure what the consultation process would be, but presumably if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen some time this year.

Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation says: ” … The centre, which is proposed at Shooters Hill, just a stone’s throw from the Olympic equestrian venue [I’d like to see someone throw a stone to Greenwich Park, ed.], will provide a lasting sporting, community and educational legacy for the equestrian community in the city. This project will also be supported by significant local authority funding. ”

Councillor Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council said; “We see the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a tremendous opportunity to inspire people to take up sports and are doing all we can to develop a new equestrian centre in Greenwich, as well as a host of other new sports facilities.

“A new equestrian centre will not only introduce thousands of London children to the thrill of horse riding, it will also provide educational and training opportunities for many people for years to come. Our plans are to provide a top quality training centre so that people can gain skills and qualifications in an area that will open up opportunities across the world.

“The Games aren’t just a 17-day sports event for London – they are a chance to create new opportunities and inspire people and we have to start now so that the benefits can last for generations to come.”

Woodlands Farm Toddler Club

Following on from their magic inspired festive activities, Woodlands Farm are now offering a new series of events for toddlers and their accompanying adults:

New Toddler Club in 2011

– Meet the animals
– Arts and Crafts
– Toys, Games and Books
– Tea and Biscuits

Every Thursday in January and February from 10 – 12
£2 per adult, children go free!
(children must be supervised)

No Need to Book – contact the Farm for more information.

Happy Christmas

This is quite an odd image, painted from what appears to be the perspective of a flying artist – it was an old picture postcard, and so probably dates from Victorian times. I’m guessing what the buildings are: Christ Church on the right, the old castlewood day hospital bottom left, and the Red Lion top left.


Shooters Hill at Night

The Christmas Cook-Off

Mike, Shooters Hill’s new green grocer has offered to provide some prizes for a Christmas Competition, so if you’d like a chance to win a Christmas Hamper or a £10 Voucher for his new grocery service, here’s what to do:

Please email your favourite cooking recipes, tips, ideas and suggestions for celebrating the Christmas Feast to mike@theverygreengrocer.co.uk, and he will select two winning entries!

All entries should be emailed by Wednesday 22nd of December for delivery on either Thursday the 23rd or Christmas Eve!

The winner will receive the following Hamper:

  • A selection of Fresh Vegetables and Fruit suitable for 4 People for Xmas lunch.
  • A Bottle of Ringden Apple Juice
  • Pimhill Organic Porridge Oats
  • Clipper Everyday Organic Tea Bags
  • Doves Farm Strong Flour
  • 6 Free Range Eggs
  • La Bio Idea Wholewheat Fusilli

A further prize of a £10 Voucher for the Very Green Grocer will go to the second place!

The Very Green Grocer

I am pleased to share the details of a new service in the local area, here is a message from Mike, the very green grocer now personally selling a range of goods on Shooters Hill, including locally sourced produce. His approach offers a more flexible alternative to the vegetable box schemes as it gives more choice to the buyer. He also sells an additional range of organic products, and can offer advice on cooking with the ingredients he sells:

I am Mike and I have lived on Shooters Hill for over 30 years.
I am starting a Fruit, Vegetable and Organic Grocery delivery called The Very Green Grocer on Thursday 16th December. This is exclusively for those who live on Shooters Hill.

I will be selling locally produced vegetables, fruit and produce from farms in Kent and also Organic and fair-trade produce and groceries.

I am offering a service where the customer can shop on the vehicle and choose exactly the products and quantities they want.

  • No Minimum order.
  • No Delivery Charge.

I have personally delivered over 1000 leaflets to households on Shooters Hill and I take this opportunity to apologise to those who do not like this type of advertising. Unfortunately I could not think of a better way to promote the business to all those households.

I have been in catering for over 36 years and will be able to advise people on how best to use the produce they buy from me.

It is called the Very Green Grocer as I intend to run the business in the most environmentally friendly way I can.

Further details on me and The Very Green Grocer can be found on my website theverygreengrocer.co.uk

Woodlands Farm Christmas Holiday and New Year Activities

Now that school’s almost out, the farm are putting on some Harry Potter themed activities for children in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas activities on 21, 22, 23 and 24 December – come and join in the fun!
Times: 10.00am – 3.30pm daily
Location: Woodlands Farm, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling DA16 3RP
Description: Enjoy Christmas with this magical start to the Christmas holidays at Woodlands Farm. Drop-in children’s activities. No need to book – just turn up!

Activities are (£1 per activity per child):

  • 10am-11.30am – Care of magical creatures
  • 12pm-1.30pm – Wand making
  • 2pm-3.30pm – Potions
  • All day – treasure hunt running in the Forbidden Forest!

They are also starting a Toddler Club in the new year:

New Toddler Club in 2011

  • Meet the animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys, Games and Books
  • Tea and Biscuits

Every Thursday in January and February from 10 – 12
£2 per adult, children go free!

(children must be supervised)

No Need to Book

Please spread the word.

The Chop-o-Gram

Greenwich Council have been releasing some more cuts information. So far £21430000 have been proposed (based on an anticipated cut of £65000000 pending the arrival of central instructions) and partly scrutinised by some of the local blogs (853 and phantom and itm).

The sheer scale of the cuts in relation to normality (i.e. ignorance) makes them difficult to understand, but I recently watched the joy of stats, and noted the billion-pound-o-gram with interest. I thought a chop-o-gram might help to bring a bit of perspective to bear on this rather unfathomable hatchet job. After scraping data from the newsshopper cuts analysis, here are a few attempts to show the enormity of what’s being done to Greenwich.

Chop-O-Gram #1
Here I plot the newshopper selection of £5633000 worth of cuts/hikes, this acknowledges upfront that 14 posts will go. Hopefully that doesn’t equate to 14 people, but to be honest, all this talk about numbers comes down to people’s livelihoods in the end, the human cost. Whether the private sector chiefs (sainsburys, m&s, next etc) prime the recovery by re-employing the newly unemployed, which they indicate they can thanks to national insurance cuts remains to be seen. Hierarchically speaking, the parking permits stand out most; drivers can get very angry, so we’ll have to see how they respond, actually charging for parking at oxleas could help to maintain the gym…

Chop-O-Gram #2
This chop-o-gram factors in the £15797000 of currently proposed cuts the newshopper didn’t detail:

Chop-O-Gram #3
This chop-o-gram factors in the £43570000 of as yet unallocated cuts.

The Blitz

A new local podcast and blog has arrived in the form of a spin-off from the queen elizabeth hospital radio show, in the meantime. Matt the producer has kindly allowed me to re-host his initial show as it includes several reminiscences relating to the wwii history of Shooters Hill. This finely crafted bit of broadcasting comes complete with atmospheric sound effects and neatly connects together of a series of independent accounts. I have reproduced Matt’s credits below.

These accounts, which are voiced by actors, are from Emily and Florence Hunt, FW Condor and Len Perry.

I would like to thank June Balshaw at the University of Greenwich for her generosity.

Also the BBC historical archives, The Woolwich Firepower museum and Reg Weaver and Roy Wilson.

Finally, the producer stresses that In The Meantime is your voice in your local community so feel free to contact the show to express your views on local issues www.inthemeantime.org.uk As I write the site is covering the work-in at ravensbourne, as students and pupils up and down the country ask david cameron to reconsider his massive cuts to education.

Fever Pitch Carols at Woodlands Farm

I went to the christmas fayre at woodlands farm on Sunday, and to my eyes numbers were down on last year despite the increase in the amount of stalls. In other events this year, the apple day was well attended, the summer show a bit quieter than last time, and the lambing day was absolutely massive this year. On balance I’d say it was a good year for enjoying festivities at Woodlands.

In other farm news, Bella the pig (saddleback I think) had five babies in November. The piglets are very sweet, and they also remind me of the days when the co-op made bacon there.

The accompanying audio is a short clip of some nice multipart harmonies recorded live at the farm, I’m not familiar with the second song, but it’s an interesting arrangement. The date of the event also marked the advent of Christmas, and I am trying out a new christmas pudding recipe which is mainly beeton #1:

Fever Pitch at Woodlands Farm Christmas Fayre by eshootershill

Well, I wish you well this Christmas.

hilly's christmas pudding (as yet untasted)
4 oz organic fairtrade muscovado (carbon footprint marks coming soon, will probably be shocking for tropical goods.)
4 oz suet (lawson uses butter)
4 oz sultanas
4 oz raisins
2 oz currants (or dried flies as my dad calls them)
2 oz shredded mixed candied peel (some people hate these, and there are less victorian ways to get the taste of oranges and lemons in)
2 oz of plain flour
2 oz breadcrumbs (now possible to buy these in packets from polish shops, very good for fried fish too)
1 oz almonds (ground, flaked, or best of all hand blanched, peeled and shredded)
The grated rind of a 1 lemon (I didn't have a lemon handy so I just hope the mixed peel did the trick)
2 eggs
½ teaspoon of nutmeg grated (if you like nutmeg then put more in)
½ a teaspoon of salt
18 pint of milk
1 small wine glassful of dark rum
lawson also puts in couple of ounces of cocoa

pack in a heatproof bowl cover with greaseproof paper and tie with string.
steam for 5 hours.
steam it for at least 2 hours on christmas day, and serve with rum butter.