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

    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: , walks,   

    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 12:17 pm on April 26, 2016
    Tags: , , , walks,   

    Bluebell Walk on Sunday May 1st 

    Bluebell Walk Poster 2016

    Our local woodlands are awash with bluebells and other wild flowers: it’s the perfect time for a walk in the woods, and there’s a great opportunity this Sunday, 1st May, when Woodlands Farm have organised a guided walk through the woods from Severndroog Castle to Woodlands Farm starting at 2.00pm.

    Hannah Ricketts, the farm’s education officer, wrote with details:

    Bluebell Walk
    View the delights of springtime bluebells with this guided walk through Oxleas Wood and Woodlands Farm. Starting at Severndroog castle this walk will meander through Oxleas Wood taking in the signs of spring as well as a chance to find out more about the history of the woodland, it will end at Woodlands Farm with a trip up to Clothworkers Wood if you still have the energy to enjoy the farm’s display of bluebells. This walk is free, donations are welcome. For more information call 020 8319 8900.

    This is more than just a chance to admire Oxleas’ and Woodlands’ bluebells. Previous bluebell walks have revealed some of the woods’ hidden treasures, such as the Redwood trees planted by the London County Council  in the middle of our native woodlands, not to mention native plants that are indicators of ancient woodland, such as the Wild Service Tree and  Butchers Broom – species that would be threatened if a road was ever built through the woods.  One year we heard about the historic cants of coppiced Hazels and Chestnuts deep in the wood and their place in medieval life. This walk is very educational and very highly recommended.

    You can see photographs of the plants and wild flowers of Oxleas Woods in a Flickr album here.

    Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

    Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

    Bluebells and Wood Anemones in Lesness Abbey Woods

    Bluebells and Wood Anemones in Lesness Abbey Woods


  • hilly 8:48 pm on January 15, 2016
    Tags: , walks,   

    Woodlands Farm Walks 

    Woodlands Farm Monthly Walks Winter/Spring 2016

    Woodlands Farm have the first of a new series of free monthly guided walks on Sunday, 17th January, starting at the green Education Building at 10am. Hannah, the farm’s Education Officer,  e-mailed details of the walks over the next seven months:

    Monthly Walks 2016
    join us for our monthly guided walks
    Sunday 17 January – Mid-Winter Walk
    Sunday 14 February – St. Valentine’s Walk
    Sunday 20 March – Spring Equinox Walk
    Sunday 17 April – Young Shoots & New Lambs Walk
    Sunday 15 May – Hedgerow Blossom Walk
    Sunday 19 June – Midsummer Hay Meadow Walk
    Sunday 17 July – Hay-making Walk
    FREE ACTIVITY Donations welcome
    Wear sturdy footwear and suitable outdoor clothing
    The walks include climbing a small stile and are not suitable for buggies
    In the event of bad weather the walk will be cancelled
    Meet in the green Education Building at 10am

    The weather forecast for Sunday is cold but dry, which would be perfect weather for a walk in the countryside, or London’s largest (89 acre) city farm.

    Woodlands Farm fields

    Woodlands Farm fields


  • hilly 5:08 pm on October 15, 2015
    Tags: , , walks   

    Green Chain Mega-amble again this weekend 

    Green Chain Mega-walkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    Green Chain Mega-walkers gather at Crystal Palace Station

    If you fancy a 16.5 mile, 8 hour walk through some of south-east London’s greenest scenery then this Saturday provides an opportunity. Once again Ian Bull is leading the Green Chain Megawalk as part of Walk London’s Autumn Ambles weekend. It’s a slightly different route than last time, taking in Charlton’s parks and ending at the Thames Barrier rather than Bostall Woods and the Thames at Erith, which cuts some five miles off the distance. Walkers will meet at 9.15am outside Crystal Palace station, and the walk finishes at Charlton Station. The Walk London website has more details:

    Walk Description:
    A packed lunch is essential as is water to drink along the way. There is a small supermarket at the beginning but opportunities to re-stock along the way are very limited.
    No other London walk offers such a pleasant challenge.
    The Green Chain Megawalk is by a considerable margin the longest established long-distance guided walk in London and many hundreds have participated. Some thought they wouldn’t complete such a distance, yet the camaraderie and expert guidance have seen all but a handful achieve an on-time finish. Every one of the participants has taken wonderful memories from the day. Here’s your chance to join the institution!
    South East London possesses London’s finest landscape but in places the remarkably bucolic components of that landscape are not quite contiguous. The ‘Green Chain Walk’ was laid-out in 1977 to link those Pearls together becoming the Capital’s first long distance footpath in the process. Today the Green Chain network is over 50 miles long and the many thousands of acres of open space and woodland it joins are deservedly to be considered for Regional Park status. The Megawalk carefully balances distance, gradient, landscape, and views to bring a true taste of this exceptional system into one day.
    We’ll gently climb to some of the highest points in the city, suburbia giving way to outstanding views and much woodland, some established for 8,000 years. For lengthy sections you won’t know you are in a town, let alone the Metropolis, as well over half the route is off-road. After lunch we descend through woodland and across heaths to a splendid complex of parks in Charlton that were a principle location in the 1960s cult film ‘Blow Up’. From there it’s a short distance to our destination at the remarkable Thames Barrier, hopefully glinting in the setting sun. Excellent transport into central London is close-by.
    The route is steep in places, a packed lunch is essential, and of course you must be reasonably fit. You must also be able to sustain three miles per hour for most of a day and if you think you can, this particularly friendly event is the one Walk London walk that you should do. There is no need to book, just turn up and go, a remarkable day awaits you.
    The Megawalk is never, ever, allowed to finish late. Should the necessary pace prove wearisome there’s plentiful public transport throughout for a comfortable return home. You are also most welcome to join the walk at any point.
    The walk leader is the Green Chain Walk’s surveying contractor and will be delighted to share his extensive knowledge both along the way and in advance. Feel very free to contact him, Ian Bull, for further information.  T. 020 7223 3572,  E. ianbull@btinternet.com

    The Autumn Ambles programme includes lots of other great walks, though Ian’s walk on Sunday which takes in Severndroog Castle is unfortunately already fully booked. However Seafaring London – Tower Bridge to Greenwich sounds interesting, as do some of the shorter walks in central London such as The Real West End – Soho, Chinatown and Covent Garden which is just 1.5miles, the same distance as Secret Diaries and Public Spaces – The Legacy of Pepys and Wren.

    Time to brush off those walking boots.

    View from Cox's Mount, Maryon Park

    View from Cox’s Mount, Maryon Park


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