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  • hilly 3:18 pm on March 29, 2017
    Tags: , , woodlands farm   

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day, Easter activities and ecological surveys 

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2017

    It’s a busy time at Woodlands Farm, with the lambing season in full swing and the lambing trained volunteers on a rota to support the ewes. This leads up to the Lambing Day fair on 9th April, Easter Holiday children’s activities and the start of the surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna.

    Some 38 of the farm’s 70 pregnant ewes have given birth so far, and there seem to be more triplets this year. The first to lamb were the recently arrived, rare breed Manx Loaghtan which have striking black lambs, now old enough to be gambolling in the fields. The newly born lambs will be on display at the farm’s annual Lambing Day fair on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 4pm, entrance price £2 for adults £1 for children.  The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    The week after Lambing Day the farm will host its Easter Holiday events for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with details:

    Easter Holiday Events
    Tuesday 11th April  Mad Hatters Tea Party  10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm
    The second in our series of events to celebrate 20 years of the Woodlands Farm Trust.  Come along to our Mad Hatters Tea Party, dress up and join our celebrations as we make fun hats and prepare some food to start the party!  £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 0208 319 8900.  Don’t be late for a very important date!
    Wednesday 12th April    Marvellous Minibeasts 10am-12noon or 1pm-3pm
    Do you love creepy crawlies and bugs?  Join us as we find out all about minibeasts.  We will be doing a craft as well as using magnifying glasses to see what we can find in the woods.   £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.  This walk is not suitable for buggies.
    Thursday 13th April   Egg-cellent Easter Trail    Any time between 10am and 2pm
    Join us for our annual Easter Trail.  Can you find all the different Easter Eggs and Spring Animals hidden around the farmyard? Find them all and you will get your own Chocolate Easter egg to take home.  Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm.  £2 per child
    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    Hannah is also the person to contact if you are interested in helping with the comprehensive set of surveys of the wildlife and plants at the farm. They start with the monthly bee walks to record the numbers and types of bumble bees, the next one of which is on Wednesday 19th April, then there is the first of the pond surveys, mainly looking for amphibians, on Thursday 27th April. Later surveys will include wild flowers, hedgerows, butterflies, moths, mammals and bats.

    With luck, there’ll be some corky fruited water dropworts again.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

  • hilly 9:19 pm on February 9, 2017
    Tags: , woodlands farm   

    February half term activities at Woodlands Farm 

    Goldfinch at Woodlands Farm

    Goldfinch at Woodlands Farm

    It’s half term next week, and as usual Woodlands Farm have laid on some interesting and educational activities for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with the details:

    February Half Term Events
    Wednesday 15th February. Print yourself a picture    1pm-3pm
    Come along for our afternoon of printing.  Come up with your own pattern or design and then using special paint and rollers you can print this picture onto paper to take home with you.  £3 per child.  Just drop in to make your own print.
    Thursday 16th February Woodlands Farm Trail – Then and now    10am – 1pm
    The Woodlands Farm Trust is 20 years old!  This trail is the first in a series of events celebrating the history of the farm.  Can you follow our photo trail and recognise the different places on the farm and how they have changed in the last 20 years.  £2 per child.
    Friday 17th February Get Wild in the Woods 11am – 1pm and 2pm-4pm
    Come and join us in the woods as we learn how to survive in the wild. Have a go at shelter building, wild cooking over a fire and learn what animals need to survive. £4 per child
    Age 7+  Booking essential, to book call 020 8319 8900

    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    It’s the farm’s 20th anniversary this year – 20 years since it was established as a charitable trust with the aim of “promoting conservation, sustainable farming and education for the benefit of the community” – following People Against the River Crossing‘s successful campaign to prevent a motorway being built through  the farm and Oxleas Wood. Every time I visit makes me more aware of what a loss that would have been.

    Curious sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Curious sheep at Woodlands Farm

    Goldfinch at Woodlands Farm

    Goldfinch at Woodlands Farm

  • hilly 6:01 pm on November 29, 2016
    Tags: , , woodlands farm   

    Christmas Fairs at Christ Church and Woodlands Farm 

    Woodlands Farm Christmas fair poster 2016

    Father Christmas has a busy weekend coming up in Shooters Hill: he’s visiting St Nic’s Fête at Christ Church on Saturday and Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday.

    St Nic’s Fête runs from 4 to 6 pm on Saturday, 3rd December. There will be a visit from St Nicholas who will bring a gift for all the children present. There will also be Mulled wine, mince pies, homemade cake, crêpes, biscuit decorating, tombola, a treasure hunt, children’s activities, a Christmas gift stall, and local craft stalls. Then there is a children’s disco from 5.00pm. Entrance costs £3.00 per child with a £5.00 cap per family.

    Christ Church St Nic's Fair poster

    Maureen sent me details of Woodlands Farm‘s annual Christmas Fair on Sunday 4th December from 11.00am to 3.00pm:

    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!

    No parking on site – please use public transport.

    While at the farm there may be a chance to see some of the farm’s new arrivals: British White cow Clover’s new calf and two other recent additions to the farm’s herd.

    Father Christmas arriving at Woodlands Farm drawn by Bob the pony

    Father Christmas arriving at Woodlands Farm drawn by Bob the pony

    Clover and her new calf

    Clover and her new calf

    Woodlands Farm's new calves

    Woodlands Farm’s new calves

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

    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 7:39 pm on August 22, 2016
    Tags: , , , woodlands farm   

    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park 

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    Brown long-eared bat at Bat Fest

    Next weekend, 27/28 August, is International Bat Weekend, which is marked by batty events across the world. Locally both Woodlands Farm and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding bat walks in the coming weeks, and London’s Bat Fest is being held over the weekend at Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney.

    There seem to be plenty of bats around this year. The NBMP field survey at Woodlands Farm in July detected quite a few pipistrelles and some noctules. Pipistrelles have also been detected at the Wide Horizons Constitution Rise woodland, Manor House Gardens, Hall Place and Hervey Road sports field. Even normally sterile Canning Town had more than its usual solitary pip in this year’s NBMP survey. However the waterways survey along the River Cray at Hall Place once again found no Daubenton’s bats.

    Woodlands Farm BatWalks 2016

    Woodlands Farm’s bat walks will be held on Wednesday 24th August and Thursday 1st September. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    Join us for our annual bat walks. Starting with a brief introduction to bats we will then go on a walk round the farm trying to see and hear bats using bat detectors. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. Children must be accompanied by an adult (not recommended for children under 6 years). £6 per adult, £4 per child (under 16 years). To book go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-woodlands-farm-trust-8448478250

    The Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk is on Friday 2nd September at 8.00pm. Kris sent me details:

    Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
    The walk is free to members and £2 for non-members (but you can join on the night). Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather and paths. Children must be accompanied by an adult. And dogs must be kept on a lead.
    The walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and a torch is useful.
    The car park may still be open but not at the end of the walk so remember to leave cars outside of the Park. If you have any mobility queries please contact us on fspdog@hotmail.com and we will help you participate.
    If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

    Let’s hope it stays dry for all the bat walks!

    Shrewsbury Park Bat walk poster 2016

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