Lambing Day Podcast (c/o In The Meantime)

The folks over at Meridian Radio‘s ‘In the Meantime‘ podcast have agreed for their feature on the latest Woodlands Farm Lambing Day to be rehosted on here; thanks! The podcast itself is transmitted on Queen Elizabeth hospital radio on Sundays, and comes out at some point the following day on their website.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”show_comments=false&auto_play=false&color=0003ff” width=”100%” height=”81″ ]

Upcoming Events at Woodlands Farm

The farm is currently at the height of Lambing Season, with 42 lambs born as of midday today! April is quite an exciting time for Woodlands with lots of other things going on, and we did do a post on this a while back…but to briefly recap: there’s (a) Easter Holiday family activities on Tuesdays-Fridays; (b) The Lambing Day on Saturday the 23rd; and (c) another “Things that go bump in the night” event on Tuesday the 26th.

In addition, various summer (and indeed autumn and winter) activities at have just been announced:

Upcoming Events at Woodlands Farm this Summer and beyond

Summer Cafe
We have a café run by volunteers in the Education Centre, weekends only, 12pm-4pm, from 30 April to 30 September (closed 9 July). Hot and cold drinks, snacks and second-hand books for sale.

Sunday 1 May
Bluebell Walk. Meet at Oxleas Woods Café at 2.15pm for a walk led jointly by the London Wildlife Trust and the Woodlands Farm Trust. No need to book. FREE, but donations welcome.

Saturday 7 May
Spring Bird Walk around the farm. Meet in lower farmyard for a 10am start. Duration 2-3hours. Will be cancelled if there is heavy rain. No need to book. FREE, but donations welcome.

Saturday 21 May
Barn Dance with live music by Skinner’s Rats, £10 per ticket (adults only; no discounts). Includes a ploughman’s supper; please bring your own drink and glasses. Tickets must be bought and paid for in advance; please contact the Farm Office during office hours on 020 8319 8900 or

Saturday 28 May
Stag Beetle family activity day with the Education Team. Learn about and meet real stag beetles! Drop-in activities from 10.30am-3.30pm, no need to book. Mostly free; there may be small charges for some activities to cover materials.

Sunday 10th July, Summer Show, 11am-4.30pm.
All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Summer Show. Come and meet our animals, and enjoy the chance to buy quality local produce at reasonable prices, including home-made preserves, cakes and honey. Relax in our café or enjoy something from the BBQ, get involved in craft activities and games, and enjoy displays of country crafts, falconry and ferrets. Entry is £2.50 adults, £1.50 concessions and £1 children aged 4-16. Children aged 3 and under go FREE. All proceeds go towards caring for our animals. A great family day out!

Saturday 16 July
Barn Dance with live music by Skinner’s Rats, £10 per ticket (adults only; no discounts). Includes a ploughman’s supper; please bring your own drink and glasses. Tickets must be bought and paid for in advance; please contact the Farm Office during office hours on 020 8319 8900 or

Sunday 23 October
Apple Day, 11am-4pm, FREE. Ties in with National Apple Day.

Sunday 27 November
Christmas Fair, 11am-3pm, FREE.

Things that go bump in the night

Woodlands farm are having a series of night-time events starting tonight (see the calendar), including some observations of bats and moths. I know one of the Shooters Hill photographers will be there, so it’ll be interesting to see if any photos of the local nocturnals come out.

In other news, the website has been selected by the Guardian’s Dave Hill for inclusion in the top london blogs, which is encouraging…although possibly as a result of this the website has gone down (again) due to over-demand. The site has never had the capacity to handle more than a few visitors due to the principles of incurring no costs whilst remaining independent of hosted blogs; the downside of this is that the site has relied on the crankiest, wobbliest web hosting imaginable, although it has been a wonderful thing to publish web code for free. However, the need to move the site onto a steadier server has been pressing for some time, and the issue has finally come to a head.

Unfortunately, the principle of null costs takes priority over independence and the site will be moving to This will mean the loss of most of the php/css/javascript tricks that this site plays with (for example the css hill/sky, the chop-o-gram, browser detection etc). Even worse than losing the technology, the change will result in the loss of the name, which has been in continuous use since 2006, which is a shame, and brings to an end the five year running time of one of south east london’s longest running local websites.

Anyway, the new home will be, and the current site is being phased into that one, with the final touches being made on the last day of June, it should be fairly seamless, at least I hope it is, if nothing else, people that read this via the email/rss subscriptions won’t need to change anything.

The domain will stay on for forwarding purposes, and as the source of the calendar and javascript – and also in the hope of reinstating it one day if I manage to get a proper server, and then move the whole site back to free code, just to confuse things even more…

Woodlands Farm in April

woodlands farm lambs
Last year's lambs

Now that the signs of spring are showing, the farm is moving into the lambing period, and have announced the details of the first of their big seasonal events for 2011: Lambing Day. This and further activities have been added to the calendar, and will appear on the front page as they draw closer.

The Woodlands Farm Trust Lambing Day
Saturday 23 April 2011

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. A great family day out!
Entry is £1 for adults and 50p for children, and all proceeds go towards caring for our animals. No booking required.

Things that go BUMP in the Night!

Friday 1 April 7.30pm-9.30pm

Tuesday 26 April 8.00pm-10.00pm

Come and see what the farm is like after dark! Try your hand at moth trapping, listen to bats with our bat detectors, and keep a look-out for other nocturnal animals like owls and hedgehogs.

£1 per person, or FREE for farm volunteers and Members of the Woodlands Farm Trust.
Booking required; please email or call the farm office during office hours. Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Easter Holiday Activities

Come and visit us during the Easter Holidays, and meet some of the wildlife on the farm. All activities are drop-in; no booking required. Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesdays (12 & 19 April)
10am-12pm Moth Magic
1pm-3pm Pond Dipping

Wednesdays (13 & 20 April)
10am-12pm Reptiles and Amphibians
1pm-3pm Pond Dipping

Thursdays (14 & 21 April)
10am-12pm Mouse Count
1pm-3pm Pond Dipping

Friday (15 April)
10am-3pm Easter Egg Hunt £2 per person

Plus come along any time to take part in our woodland bear hunt! £1 per person

Woodlands Farm Saturdays

Wow, things are really hotting up down the farm, check these new saturday activities out (i will update the details as they come in, and add them to the calendar):

29th January 10am. Big Bird Watch. Based on the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch, and results will be sent to them. FREE.
1pm-3pm Afternoon workshop making bird feeders. £1.50 per feeder.

12th February 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Making chocolate truffles for Valentine’s Day. Charge £3 per person; ages 7+.

19th February 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Making Bird Boxes – based on BTO bird box week. Charge £2 per box; ages 8+

26th February 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Dissect an Owl Pellet. FREE; Ages 6+.

5th March 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Pond Dipping. FREE; ages 4+.

19th March 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Woodland Adventures. Bush-craft activities for over-8s.
Booking required – please contact the farm office during office hours; 020 8319 8900/ Charge £1 per person; ages 8+.

16th April 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm. Make chocolate animals for Easter. Charge £3 per person; ages 7+.

30th April 5am-7am Dawn Chorus Walk. FREE; all ages.

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.

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.

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.