Volunteer Day – Saturday 7th March 2020

Our 3rd event of the year saw another 20 or so volunteers and committee members turn up, as well as new, local residents who had never been to the woodland before!

The main focus was in the mini-glade area, as you walk up the steps towards the main glade. Three sycamore trees were felled to allow for more light to enter the area, in order to benefit the oak trees and hedge plants. The felled trees were cut in to smaller pieces, which will either be used as path edging or for small seats in the glade. Very useful for children to sit and listen to Richard Sylvester’s story telling!

Felled sycamore tree with the trunk cut in to logs

Other activity in this included the preparation of a trench next to the footpath so that school children can plant the hedge saplings in the next few days.

Plant-wise, the snowdrops have finished flowering, but the primroses are going strong, and the bluebells are also growing well. The Lords-and-Ladies (Arum maculatum) are also growing well and spreading nicely. This native British plant is common in woodlands and other shady areas.

Lords-and-Ladies, a very good woodland plant indicator species

Finally, the bees were rather quite early in the morning, but as the morning advanced, a little activity was seen, although later in the morning, around midday when the temperature had risen, you could see them flying around the hives.

Our pear trees (see photo) are starting to come in to bud, see photo below. Let’s hope this year’s fruit crop is as good as last year’s.

One of the pear trees starting to come in to bud.

Volunteer Day – Sunday 2nd February 2020

This morning’s event was another exciting and very productive session, with around 2 dozen existing and new members turning up.

As always, the removal of invasive bramble and ivy took place, with lots of help working in the “mini-glade”, on your left-hand side as you walk up the steps towards the main area. A large 8 foot high and wide buddleia was removed. While good for butterflies, it’s an invasive plant which was swamping the planted bluebells.

The enourmous buddleja that was threatening to swamo the local area has now been removed!
Volunteers tackling the buddleja plant

Also removed was ivy around the bases of trees and putting up of new bird boxes.

Removal of ivy on trees
One of the many bird-boxes, now cleaned and ready for new tenants!

The bees in hive 1 were “a hive of activity” (every pun intended!!).

Bluebells were looking good, and snowdrops were nicely in flower. Primroses were discovered under ivy and were expanding their range; plants for free! And a foxglove was also found which hadn’t been planted, exciting stuff!

Emerging bluebells
A single foxglove, which should be in full flower in several weeks from now
Committee member Rich Sylvester coppicing hazels.
Snowdrops in flower. These are now starting to be established.

In the area near the entrance, hazel coppicing took place.

Volunteer Day – Saturday 4th January 2020

Our 1st volunteer morning session of 2020 was a packed event!  Even at quiet moments like this there were plenty of activities.

Continuing on from last month’s work was bird box cleaning and maintenance.  Committee member Richard Sylvester and 2 other volunteers in the accompanying photos can be seen in repairing bird boxes before replacing them.

Committee member Rich Sylvester making a new bird-box
Other volunteers reapairing old bird boxes and making new ones

As always, there’s no shortage of weeding. The area around the main entrance was starting to be taken over my nettles and brambles, so work was done here, as well as general tidying up.  Well-rotted leaf mulch was taken from here and added to our composting area.

Also continuing from last month’s work was tree clearing of smaller shrubs to create more light, as well as removing ivy at the bases of trees.  Dead, fallen branches were added to our wood piles in the smaller glade area. After the increased production of honey earlier this year, jars were available for sale. By the end of the day over £50 of sales had been made!

The pond is now fully topped up. Last Summer, the water level dropped quite dramatically for a few weeks.

Bird Survey – January 2020

We recorded (seen or heard) 18 different species of bird in the 1 hour annual survey in the Woodland today (Sunday 25th January 2020) including a Firecrest (see library picture, not taken from Westcombe Woodlands).

Tawny Owl – library picture

We couldn’t count any Tawny Owls though as they weren’t around at 9am! Thanks to all local residents and members of Seren Park Residents’ Association who tell us they have heard them. You can add your Tawny Owl sighting/ hearing to a London Wildlife Trust survey [https://www.gigl.org.uk/owl-prowl/.]

Fire Crest – library picture

Volunteer Day – Saturday 2nd November 2019

Our November volunteer morning session was memorable for 3 good reasons, one of them not related to the Woodland!

Autumn leaves in Lasseter Place

Unusually, the weather was pretty gritty, normally we are very fortunate in having dry conditions. The 2nd was that our efforts were at Lasseter Place as most of the time its the main woodland that gets the main focus, and thirdly, as some will remember, England and South Africa were playing rugby 🏉!!

Despite the terribel waether, with waterproof coats, work was still undertaken!
Committee member Andrew Slade removing invasive and non-native shrubs

Some of you may remember several years ago, Lasseter Place had a severe problem with snowberry plants. These dense and clump forming plants spread and dominate their local area, so while removing them took place, their numbers were much lower.

A newly coppiced hazel shrub

Mostly the hour and a half’s activities were pruning, weeding and general tidying up of the area.

Out thanks go to long serving volunteer Clive Corlett, who lives on Lasseter Place, and provides much needed labour in keeping a lookout of this area.