Last Sunday was our 3rd volunteer morning of the year, it felt no warmer than in January! But it didn’t stop several local volunteers from the Good Gym Group from joining us by helping us move heavy logs to other parts of the woodland and also in removing some of the overgrown area’s ivy at the main entrance, ready for more wildflowers to be grown.
Not much in the way of wildlife was visible, but primroses were in flower and the bluebells look like they’re growing very strongly. Also, there are several clumps of Lords-and-Ladies with their wonderful, shiny leaves coming in to display.
In the last few weeks, our tree surgeon was working in the main area. His trained eyes saw a diseased sycamore tree which was very close to the entrance, the photo shows the inside of the tree being hollow, with wood next to the area very soft and spongy, a victim of a fungal disease.
By removing it now, this shows the pro-active approach we take in maintaining the safety of all who use the woodlands. The tree surgeon also removed other non-native and highly invasive robinias. The tree trucks have been stacked for a mixture of uses, as part of decaying wood for insects and also to potentially use for making steps.
The Westcombe Woodlands’ 2nd volunteer morning of the year saw lots of activity! Work took place in both the Lasseter Place part and the main area. In the Lasseter Place area, we coppiced our own hazel that was planted over a decade ago. In the photo can be seen volunteers and committee member Andrew Slade.
In the main area of the woodlands, it was a good time to start some of the repairs that are needed. We can see committee member Jeremy Avis with a new wooden pole to replace a rotten one next to some steps.
Other maintenance includes pruning trees in the orchard and clearing the area around a beech tree which is to be moved to a brighter place in the next few days.
Once again we had volunteers from Greenwich Goodjym come and help out in weeding and bramble clearance.
There’s not much to be seen with new plants at the moment, we have hazel catkins but bluebells are emerging, the photo shows several clumps to be a few centimetres tall.
The start of the year is always a quiet time in the woodland, but there’s typically general maintenance to do somewhere! At the start of January 2023, we welcomed 2 volunteers from the local “Good Gym” branch. We welcomed Julian and Marta to our volunteer morning. It has been quite a while since we ventured in to the woodland’s “other half” over on Lasseter Place.
Bramble, snowberry, fallen trees were all in the wrong place. Snowberry, while providing winter food for birds, can be very invasive so much so that it can swamp all other flora.
With hacksaws and secateurs, we started to remove the plant, as well as brambles and ivy. An unexpected find – or rather lots of them – were several footballs and tennis balls which must have come flying in from the gardens of adjacent Ulundi Road. Goal!!!
The last volunteer morning of 2022 took place yesterday. At this time of the year, very little is happening in the woodland, but 2 important events took place; the selling of our own honey (as well as honey from the Isle of Dogs farm) and checking the bird boxes. Before 1pm, we had sold several dozen jars of local honey, all stock had been sold, an amazing achievement. The other main task at this time of the year is to check, record and if necessary empty out the bird boxes. The accompanying photos show committee member Nigel Duncan carefully inspecting the boxes. The photos below show him looking at several of the boxes in the woodland, as well as a nest that was removed in one of these.
The remaining photos show a very quiet time of the year in The Glade area. There wasn’t a single bee seen flying around, but as the temperature was only a few degrees above freezing, this wasn’t too surprising.
Finally, a reminder that the next volunteer morning is Sunday, the 8th of January, one week later than normal as it would have meant that our first day of the year would have been on New Year’s Day.
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