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


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

Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday

Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair poster

Two Christmassy events coming up at Woodlands Farm:  their annual Christmas Fair this Sunday, 2nd December, and then a Stick Man Christmas on Sunday 8th December.

Maureen from the Farm sent me details:

The Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair Sunday 2 December 11am-3pm
All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair. Come and meet Father Christmas, sip mulled wine whilst browsing stalls of local produce and crafts for early Christmas present ideas, while the kids enjoy crafts and games. A great Festive day out for all the family. Entry is £1 adult and 50p children – all money raised helps us to care for our animals. A great family day out!
No parking on site – please us public transport.

Bob the pony pulls Father Christmas to his grotto at Woodlands Farm
Bob the pony pulls Father Christmas to his grotto at Woodlands Farm

The Stick Man trail at the farm is based on the Stick Man picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.  It features in the Stick Man Christmas activity for children:

A Stick Man Christmas Sat 8th December 10:00 – 12:30
Come along to our Stick Man Christmas event. Watch the full Stick Man film before heading off round the farm on The Stick Man Activity Trail. Find everything on the trail before heading off to Santa’s grotto to be given your special certificate and your own Stick Man toy from Father Christmas himself. £7.50 per child. Sessions start at 10am and 11am. Booking is essential. To book go to www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org. Please arrive 10 minutes before the time of your booking as the film will be starting on the hour.

Tickets can be booked at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-stick-man-christmas-tickets-51405125113

Snowman on the Farm stall
Snowman on the Farm stall

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

Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2018

Lambing Day 2018 Poster

It’s Woodlands Farm‘s annual Lambing Day fair this Sunday, 15th April 2018, and it looks like the weather is going to improve just in time.

Maureen from the farm sent me details:

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 the treasure hunt or get involved in craft activities.
All proceeds from donations and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community.
Entry: £2 adult, £1 children under 16, £5 Family Ticket (2 adults & up to 3 children).
A great family day out! No parking, please use public transport. Buses 89 and 486 stop outside the farm. Sorry, no dogs allowed.

Like last year the first lambs born in 2018 were the black Manx Loaghtans, but the others weren’t far behind. There’s a chance to see them all between 11am and 4pm on Sunday. The entrance price is £2 for adults £1 for children. The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.

Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
Some of Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018

The Manx Loaghtans were Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
The Manx Loaghtans were Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018

Woodlands Farm's first lambs of 2018
Some of Woodlands Farm’s first lambs of 2018

New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm

The meadows at Woodlands Farm
The meadows at Woodlands Farm

What better way to start  2018 than with a New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm? Hannah from the farm sent details:

New Year’s Day Guided Walk Monday 1st January 2018 11am – 12.30pm
Start the year with a bracing stroll around Woodlands Farm- a winter guided walk to counter the seasonal excesses. This will be an easy paced walk to look at the farm and animals in winter and the way the farm works with nature. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for walking across fields. This walk is not suitable for children under 10 years. Meet outside the cafe in the farmyard. Free, donations welcome.

For more information, see our website or email admin@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Woodlands Farm is located on the borders of the London boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich. At 89 acres, it is the largest city farm in the UK. Our priorities are education and conservation, and we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. Our education programme attracts visitors from pre-school to third-age groups. The Trust aims to involve local community groups, schools, volunteers and businesses in farming and conservation, helping to bridge the current town-country divide.

While at the farm there’s a chance to see two new calves: crosses between the farm’s British Whites cows, Snowdrop and Honeysuckle and Aberdeen Angus bulls. There may even be a third calf by Monday as the farm’s other British White, Clover is due to give birth any day.

Happy New Year!

One of the farm's British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves
One of the farm’s British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves

Clover the British White cow
Clover the British White cow

Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday

Christmas Fair poster 2017

Father Christmas makes his annual visit to Woodlands Farm on Sunday when they hold their Christmas Fair. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair.  Come and meet Father Christmas, sip mulled wine whilst browsing stalls of local produce and crafts for early Christmas present ideas, or relax in our café while the kids enjoy crafts and games.  A great festive day out for all the family.  Entry is free, but donations are welcome – all money raised helps us to care for our animals. A great family day out!

Admission is free, though donations are welcome, and the event runs from 11.00am to 3.00pm.

Father Christmas arrives at Woodlands Farm
Father Christmas arrives at Woodlands Farm

Father Christmas' scarecrow helpers
Father Christmas’ scarecrow helpers

Apologies to regular readers of e-shootershill that the blog has been unavailable for the last few weeks.  Our hosting company decided to cease trading and we’ve had a few technical difficulties moving the site to a new host. There’s still one or two things to sort out, for example not all images are displaying at the moment, but we’ll get those fixed as soon as we can.

In the meantime here’s a couple of photos to prepare you for Sunday: some of the Christmas craft gifts created by farm volunteers, including the snowmen with wonderful trompe-l’œil carrot noses and one of the farm’s sheep in the snow. Newshopper are reporting that London might have snow in the next couple of days.

Christmas gifts made by farm volunteers
Christmas gifts made by farm volunteers

Sheep in the snow
Sheep in the snow

October at Woodlands Farm: sloe gin, Apple Day, half-term activities and ecological surveys

Hedgerow liqueurs 2017 poster

There’s lots going on at Woodlands Farm during October: a Hedgerow Liqueurs course on Sunday, the annual Apple Day fête, half-term activities for children and the regular range of ecological surveys.

Hannah, the Education Officer at the farm, wrote with details of the Hedgerow Liqueurs course:

HEDGEROW LIQUEURS
Sunday 8th October 2017     12.00—4.30pm
Price £12 (£8 members)  18+ years only
Sloes are scarce, so we will be using a mixture of fresh picked fruit and frozen fruit, to make together our delicious sloe gin this year, in good time for Christmas
Bring your own gin or spirit of choice together with at least a one litre, wide neck (>2.5cm) container. Kilner type jars, 1.5 litre, will be available at cost price. Sugar and sloes will be provided by Woodlands Farm.
Book early via the Farm Office, numbers limited

 

Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm
Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm

Apple Day Poster 2017 colour A4

This is followed by the annual Apple Day fair on the following Sunday:

Join us for a celebration of traditional British apples on Sunday 15th October 2017, 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.

Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram, should be out in the field with the ewes by then: he’s getting a bit frustrated in his current home in the barn. The farm will also be getting some longhorn cattle soon as they start to focus more on rare breed animals.

Archy, the farm's new Manx Loaghtan ram
Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram

At the end of the month it’s half term week, and as usual the Farm have laid on some interesting and educational activities for children. Again Hannah wrote with the details:

October Half Term Events
Wednesday 25th October   Farm Rhymes and Riddles 1pm-3pm £2 per child
Test your skills at solving rhymes and riddles as you try our trail. Can you figure out what animal each riddle is about, while exploring the farm. Work them all out and get a prize! There will also be a chance to meet some of our animals. No need to book just drop in.
Thursday 26th October   Leaf Lanterns 10am – 12noon and 1pm-3pm £4 per child
Join us for an autumn walk round the farm to find out about different types of trees and leaves. We will be collecting what we find to then use to make and decorate a leaf lantern to take home. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.
Friday 27th October     Halloween Trail and crafts 11am-3pm £3 per child.
Halloween is just round the corner so join us for a day of spooky crafts. There will be a creepy animal facts trail round the farm where you can find out all the gruesome and scary things about British wildlife. Come dressed up to get in the full spooky spirit. No need to book, just drop in.

 

Some of the farm's awards this year
Some of the farm’s awards this year

 

The farm’s regular schedule of ecological surveys continues through the month. Previous months have seen surveys of pond life, bees, moths, bats and wild flower meadow plants (lots of magical missile-repelling Corky Fruited Water Dropworts), and the first mammal surveys. The mammal surveys continue this month and there is the last of the monthly bee walks of 2017. The currently planned survey activities for October are:

Wednesday 11th October 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Thursday 12th October, 9am – Mammal survey collect traps
Tuesday 17th October, 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Wednesday 18th October 9am – Mammal survey, collect traps
Wednesday 18th October, 2pm – Bee walk – last of the year
Monday 30th October, 10am – Dipping pond maintenance. Wellies or waders recommended!

If you’d like to help with the wildlife surveys contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Sexing a Wood Mouse

Sexing a Wood Mouse

Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm
Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm