Early Spring Plant Survey

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, saw several committee members take part in our early Spring plant survey. We were led by local botanist Jane Lawson, who will soon be making her report available with her results of what she found in the Woodland. It was a really beautiful morning, and the accompanying photos show an amazing variety of plants in flower and coming into flower.

Photography Competition – New Entrants

New entrants have arrived in the photography competition! Woodland visitors Edward Mayo and Courtney Plank have submitted the accompanying photos for April. The next time the Woodlands will be officially open is for the volunteer morning and Spring Open Day on Sunday 1st May at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm respectively. Don’t worry, you still have plenty of opportunities to enter later this year. If you want to be included, you can still take a photo of the Woodland this month, but it will have to be looking into the Woodland, but that’s not a problem! So, we have Reed & Pond, “Elsie” the Lurcher and finally Steps down the Woodlands.

Elsie the Lurcher
Steps down the Woodland
Reed and Pond

Photography Competition

Following on from the success of a photograph competition held by the local charity, The Greenwich Society in 2021, it has been decided that the Westcombe Woodlands is going to organise a similar competition for people who come along to the Woodlands’ volunteer mornings and open day events for both members and non-members. The main rule is that all photos should be taken inside or of the woodlands.
There will be six categories, depending on age and subject, with the winning photographs being not only displayed on the Westcombe Woodlands’ website, but also for inclusion in our anticipated calendar for 2023. Entries are to be submitted by October and for there to be a prize winning event to take place soon after the early Autumn Open Day event, to allow for the potential production and sale of calendars at the November and December volunteer mornings.

A butterfly resting on a leaf. This photo was taken with an iPhone 7.

The Chairman of Westcombe Woodlands, Tim Barnes, will be contributing £600.00 from
the Peter Harris Trust to fund the prizes. Each winner of the 6 categories below will receive £100.00. All entries will be judged by a panel of judges whose details will be announced at a later date and the judges will select 6 winners which, in their opinion, best capture The Westcombe Woodlands character in the months that this competition is running. The categories are for children up to the age of 15 and for those ages 16 and over. These will be sub-divided as below:
1 Age 16 and over with a main subject of any flora or fauna
2 Age 15 and under with a main subject of any flora or fauna
3 Age 16 and over depicting people in the woodlands
4 Age 15 and under depicting people in the woodlands
5 Any age and any subject but using non-specialist or low budget
equipment including the use of mobile telephones
6 Any age and subject but using professional equipment

Full details and rules are available in our latest newsletter and leaflets will be available onsite during our normal events.

Emergency Tree Surgery – A Near Miss! (March 2022)

Mid last week, we were contacted by Seren Park Management about a fallen tree on the boundaries of the Woodland and Seren Park. The tree is on our side of the fence in The Westcombe Woodlands. The roots were about 10m away from the large tree that crashed into Seren Park a couple of years ago. Luckily for us that time it was on the Seren Park side of the fence and not our responsibility.

The parked car that has the tree almost on top of it.

The ground around the base of the tree was very wet. It looks as if there is a spring line there. It is about the same height as the damp area found when a temporary access path was made recently down to an area behind Seren Park to start some clearing for new planting.

The tree being shredded on site.

Weakened by the recent winds and the wet soil the tree keeled over and reached equilibrium in a precarious, horizontal position, poised over a vehicle like the Sword of Damocles. Tree surgeon Mark Fenn was able to respond quickly and make swift work of dismantling the tree, removing any danger of the tree to the vehicle and our insurance policy.

And finally the shredded tee being removed from the site.

Volunteer Day – Sunday 6th March 2022

A really good turnout for today’s volunteer morning, lots of new faces and interest in becoming members of the group. It’s always better when there’s some blue sky and sunshine!

A lesser celandine, a common early flowering woodland plant.

Two important tasks started today were our regular activity, bramble clearance and creating a better and safer route from the main Glade down towards the back of Seren Park.

Volunteer Jeremy clearing the fast-growing bramble.

A primrose after bramble was removed. With more light this will soon flower even more.

The bramble was threatening to drown out the bluebells and primroses in the Oak Glade. It’s still early in the year but it’s fantastic to see primroses in flower, and tree leaves staring to unfurl. The pond is fully topped with water, which is always good to see.

The pond in the Glade is now fully topped-up with rainwater.

As part of the recent volunteer morning, last Sunday (6th March) also saw a great effort to open up the woodlands behind Seren Park Gardens to allow better access to the area.

The start of a new access route to the centre of the Woodland.

A small, stepped path was started – as can be seen in the accompanying photos – which will also allow for safer tree inspections. It’s necessary that the trees in the woodland are regularly inspected for damage, especially following on from recent storms. Better future access will also make it easier for better future maintenance of the area directly north-east of the Glade area.

More path work in construction.