This was a new date and place for our normal Easter Trail – in our Community Orchard. This meant that those who had never visited the orchard got a chance to enjoy it and hopefully return at weekends when it is open.
Around 70 children, and their parents and grandparents, collected a quiz sheet and followed the trail using the clues to answer questions on wildlife past and present, it didn’t matter if they couldn’t work out all the correct answers as they could still collect a small prize for taking part.
They could then have a much-earned cup of tea, coffee or squash and the children could make their own Pterodactyl, or colour in a themed picture to take home.
There was also a book and plant stall. The plant stall remains in the orchard – which is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
Thank you to all the helpers who made the day possible.
We had quite a large crowd for our litter pick – around six McDonalds employees, and 16 members of the Friends of Bourne Woods or members of the public, plus children and dogs! The weather was much improved from earlier in the week with plenty of sunshine. March is a really good month to do a deep clean in the wood as the undergrowth has died back leaving litter which was previously hidden, suddenly visible.
McDonalds very kindly supplied the bags, their own litter pickers, and disposed of the rubbish at the end.
After a short health and safety talk, people were furnished with litter pickers and disbursed in groups along various trails to collect whatever litter they could find. The most unusual item this time was an eiderdown. As always there were lots of bottles (both plastic and glass), cans, crisp packets and dog bags. Attention was paid not just to the sides of the rides but the areas in the wood as well if accessible.
A massive thank you to all those who helped and to McDonalds for supporting the event. This really makes a big difference to our woods, providing a cleaner and safer environment not only for the public but also to all the wildlife.
I like Bluebells! Indeed, I should think that nearly everybody likes Bluebells! Of course, not to eat (this domain is reserved for the deer, badgers and squirrels of the wood) but to view – we can feast on the visual beauty of those spectacular blue swathes which epitomise a British deciduous woodland. Although the blue flowers are not yet in blossom- we have this delight to look forward to- the leaves of the plants are clearly evident, carpeting the floor with a vibrant verdant green. If you are able try to get out to admire them in the early morning- the low sunbeams highlight the greens with vivid tones which banish any remaining winter blues and bring forward thoughts of the forthcoming spring.
Of course there are now many other indicators of the arrival of new season. The chiff-chaffs arrived early-there were reports received that they were first calling in the wood on 6th March (several weeks earlier than last year). They are easy to recognise with its distinctive song which they deliver clearly from good vantage points towards the tops of the trees. The name chiff-chaff is onomatopoeic so if you hear a bird calling “chiff-chaff” it is highly likely that it is a chiff-chaff rather than any other species! The Wood Anemones are spreading across the forest floor, in a rush to flower before being shaded by the developing canopy of the trees overhead. The florets of the wild primroses are a delightful pale yellow whilst there seems to be a snowfall of the blackthorn blossom as it is blown about in little flurries having been released from those spiky twigs. So much to enjoy!
At the recent AGM of the Friends two long-standing members of the committee stood down.
This now leaves some gaps on the committee, not for officers or for a particular role – but general committee members who provide support and ideas for the group.
The committee meet around 10 times a year in the evenings to discuss event planning, matters relating to the wood, and general committee matters – we try to keep the meetings as brief as we can.
Committee members do not have to attend all meetings. The purpose of the committee members is to suggest ideas for events, help plan and organise them, and help out on the day if need be and if possible. New committee members are vital for new ideas, new contacts, and to help prevent the organisation going stale and to ensure the continuation of The Friends of Bourne Wood. Some members can bring particular knowledge or skills, such as environmental matters, wildlife knowledge, a law background, charity background – the possibilities are endless! Some members are good at planning, organising or practical skills – growing plants, putting up marquees, woodwork! Members can therefore choose how much time they are able to give – it doesn’t have to be a great deal – but the possibilities are endless if time allows!
If you think you would like to join the committee then please contact Sarah on 07760468052 who can give you more information.
Bourne Wood is managed as a commercial forest by the Forestry Commission (FC), although conservation of wildlife and recreation are also important objectives.
The main purpose of forestry is to grow and harvest or fell trees for timber for a wide range of outlets and uses including for the domestic construction industry, paper production, the manufacture of panels or board, fencing and pallets and to a lesser extent, fuel. Bourne Wood produces both hardwood timber from broad-leaved species such as oak and wild cherry and softwood from conifers such as Corsican and Scots Pine and European Larch.
Many softwoods are harvested after 60 years whereas for a hardwood such as oak, the rotation may be as long as 150 years. In addition to the felling and extraction of the final timber/tree ‘crop’ at harvestable age, a selection of trees are removed at intervals after their initial establishment to reduce the density of trees in a plantation, improve the quality and growth of the remaining trees and produce a saleable final product. This is known as thinning. Normally the first thinning is undertaken when trees have reached between 10 and14 metres in height but the exact timing is dependent on the tree species, the nature of the local environment and financial and marketing considerations.
All Forestry Commission woods are managed sustainably such that new trees are planted, or allowed to regenerate naturally, to replace those that have been felled and removed.
The Friends of Bourne Wood, in conjunction with Bourne Borderers Morris, held their third Wassail in the community orchard in Bourne on Saturday. A Wassail is a traditional custom to celebrate the apple harvest of last year, to reawaken the trees, and to encourage them to bear fruit this year. The weather kept threatening to rain but that did not deter the large crowd of around 100 that had gathered by 4.30pm to join in the celebration. Everyone was welcomed to the event, and then Bourne Borderers commenced the proceedings with a traditional Morris dance. Those attending were then offered a taste of either mulled cider or apple juice and some cake, before everyone sung the ‘Apple Tree Wassail’.
The gathering then proceeded into the orchard, led by the Wassail Queen. The orchard had been decorated with lots of tea lights, and fairy lights and looked magical in the dusk. The trees were blessed with cider, and toast was placed in the branches for the robins, by anyone wishing to take part, while the musicians continued to play. The trees were wassailed, with the customary poem, followed by lots of noise, with everyone present banging pots and pans, and cheering!
Once back on the hard-standing the Borderers danced again, and all joined in the ‘Here we come a wassailing’. The evening ended with the Mummers play.
The Friends would like to thank everyone for supporting this event, and especially Bourne Borderers for their help and support, and all those who provided cakes and helped out on the day.
A large group gathered in the autumn sunshine at Bourne Wood for a fungal foray led by Dr Vin Fleming.
The long, dry summer seemed to have reduced the number and variety of mushrooms and toadstools in the wood. Despite this, an enthusiastic group of around 35 adults and children still managed to gather a reasonable number of different species.
Vin pointed out that in Great Britain, there are some 12,000 fungi species, which means that even experts are unable to identify every species that might be encountered on a foray.
What was striking was the range of sizes, shapes and colours of the fungi collected. Vin also showed us the very strange striate earth stars growing around the base of a conifer.
Several bracket fungi growing on tree trunks, stumps and fallen branches included the birch polypore, the blushing bracket, the latter so-called as it blushes wine red when the surface is rubbed or damaged and the very common turkey tail fungus.
Probably the largest toadstool collected was the pale-coloured trooping funnel while much smaller in stature was the yellow stagshorn fungus with its golden yellow finger-like branches.
A number of specimens of the attractive lilac bonnet fungus were also found. This widespread species of deciduous woodland is mildly toxic and is one of several fungi that are phosphorescent – that is it glows in the dark! Another attractive mushroom with a pale-yellow cap turned out to be a false death cap (Amanita citrina). Unlike its close relative, the deadly poisonous death cap (Amanita phalloiides), this species is not seriously toxic!
A delightful find was the rather uncommon magpie inkcap so-called because as the gills of the cap age, they deliquesce forming a black inky liquid.
The Community Orchard Open Day, organised by the Friends of Bourne Wood, was thoroughly enjoyed by those who came, and despite the weather forecast we had a sunny time! There was live music from Dean Hardy and Friends who play regularly at the Masons, Bourne and the Hare & Hounds at Haconby. They played two sets of lively music – a mix of Irish, Folk, Country and traditional tunes. People could either sit and listen, or wander and enjoy the ambiance of the orchard – and the children managed a little dance!
There were plenty of delicious cakes from the homemade cake stall, with teas and coffees to wash them down.
Children had craft activities to try, and a guess the fruit competition as well as traditional games, which adults also enjoyed, and became quite competitive. These were supplemented by a craft stall, second hand book-stall, and a plant stall. The Bourne Wood booklet was also available.
The Friends had picked some fruit from the orchard, both to show people the different types of apples and pears, but also so people could take some away with them for a small donation. There will be more punnets available for the next few weeks during opening hours in the orchard, on a Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm.
A huge ‘Thank You’ goes to Dean Hardy and the other musicians for their entertainment and to all our other volunteers who helped set up and look after the stalls on the day. The event was supported by PPL PRS Charity and Community Discount Scheme. PPL PRS licences the use of copyright music across the UK, giving businesses and organisations the permission they need to play the music they want.
We had a lovely sunny and warm day for the Friends of Bourne Woods first children’s activity event in the Bourne Community Orchard on Saturday.
There were plenty of activities for children to try their hands at – painting butterflies which could fly in the wind, making caterpillars, building their own bug hotel to take home, and a treasure hunt around the orchard. Taking part in the treasure hunt gave the children a chance to win a copy of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ book by Eric Carle.
There was also the chance to relax in the orchard with some homemade cake and a hot or cold drink.
The children had great fun – making lots of noise, running around looking for clues and making a sticky mess! The event also helped raise awareness of the existence of the orchard, the need for volunteers to help tend it and funds to maintain it.
Thank you to all that helped on the day both setting up and during the afternoon.
A large group of around 25 adults and children joined bug expert Dr Keith Porter to hunt for and identify insects in Bourne Wood.
We were blessed with fine weather as we have come to expect in this extraordinary 2018 British summer!
Before setting off, Keith demonstrated the various equipment we were going to use to seek out bugs and beasties. This included two types of nets plus beating trays. The latter is a framed square flat piece of fabric which is held underneath a bush to catch insects dislodged by striking a branch or bush with a stick.
We had a successful afternoon and found a wide range of insects and spiders on the margins of the main ride through the wood.
Ten species of butterflies were seen including several silver-washed fritillaries, which is Britain’s largest resident butterfly and particularly striking with its orange coloration and streaks of silver found on the underside of the wings.
At one stage, two brown hawker dragonflies observed us from above. This species is a large fast-flying dragonfly with distinctive golden-brown wings and which probably breeds in the ponds in the wood.
Other insects we encountered included several types of hoverflies, 7-spot ladybirds, shield and squash bugs and grasshoppers.
A Silver Y moth was captured and Keith explained that this day-flying moth was an annual immigrant from continental Europe. And finally, a very strange looking pale yellow-green spider was found. This turned out to be a crab spider. These spiders don’t spin webs instead relying on camouflage and ambush. They hide in flowers, where they prey on flies and bees. Some species can even change colour to match the flower they are on.
All in all, it was an interesting and enjoyable outing for the participants, and we are very grateful to Keith for sharing his expertise and enthusiasm with us.