Community Litter Pick 2019

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.

bags of litter
By the end of the two hours around 14 bags of litter were collected.

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.

Photographs Polly Knox

Committee Members Needed

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.

Woodland Maintenance

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.

Wassail Bourne Community Orchard 2019

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’.

bourne wood wassailing
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. Photograph: Anna Edgoose-Zagorskaia

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.

bourne wood wassailing
Once back on the hard-standing the Borderers danced again, and all joined in the ‘Here we come a wassailing’. Photograph: Anna Edgoose-Zagorskaia

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.

Fungal Foray 2018

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.

selection of fungi
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!

lilac bonnet fungi
The Lilac Bonnet mushroom – poisonous!

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.

Arguably one of the more bizarre fungi encountered were the coal-like Kind Alfred’s cakes (Daldinia concentrica) living on dead wood and which is inedible. The story behind the name of this species is recounted in the article here.

All in all an interesting, informative and enjoyable few hours. Thanks are due to Vin for his time and expertise.

Photographs Steve Goddard and Richard Jefferson.

Orchard Open Day 2018

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.

pond at bourne orchard
Despite the weather forecast we had a sunny time!

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.

pears
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.

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.

The Friends next event is a Fungi Foray on Sunday October 21st, at 2pm in the main car park.

Photographs by Steve Goddard

Children’s Activity Afternoon 2018

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.

children making butterflies
Making butterflies!

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.

gathering information
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.

Photographs Roland Smith

Mini Beast Hunt 2018

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.

group on bug hunt bourne wood
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 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.

brown argus butterfly
Although one of the “blues”, the Brown Argus is actually brown!

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.

bee on thistle

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.

Photographs Steve Goddard

Wild Flowers and Grasses Walk 2018

Around 20 people joined Dr Richard Jefferson for the wild flower and grasses walk he led for the Friends of Bourne Wood.   It was a lovely sunny evening, and we had a gentle stroll looking at least 40 species of plant, grass, shrub and tree.

group looking at grasses in bourne wood
Around 20 people joined Dr Richard Jefferson for the wild flower and grasses walk he led for the Friends of Bourne Wood.

 

We started with some common shrubs such as Elder and Hazel, and then discussed Herb Robert and the origination of its common name (from an Abbot!).  Richard described the difference between a Dog Rose and a Field Rose, and we looked at white clover and its cousin, red clover which is preferred by bees.

wild grasses
The long, dense flower spikes of Timothy grass are cylindrical in shape and sit atop a tall, slender stem. Its leaves are grey-green and flat.

Looking at grasses we saw the perennial rye-grass which is used commonly in agricultural grasslands and sports fields, false oat grass, and tufted hair grass along with Yorkshire Fog.  We then looked at the Wild Service tree (the symbol of the Friends of Bourne Wood), which is normally found on woodland edges, and the Wych Elm which is more resistant to Dutch Elm Disease.

wild flowers
Meadow Vetchling is a scrambling plant with long stems that end with a group of yellow, pea-like flowers. The flowers are followed by shiny, black seed pods that look like peapods. Its leaves comprise a single pair of leaflets that have tendrils.

We admired the beauty of the sprawling Wood Vetch, and the common spotted orchid, and looked at the unusual sight in the wood of Vipers Bugloss (not a woodland plant).  We found corn mint which is now a rare plant (although it seems common in the wood), and marsh bedstraw.

wild flowers
The Creeping Thistle has flower heads with lilac-pink florets (tiny flowers) on top of a small cylinder of spiny bracts (leaf-like structures). Its leaves are divided and spiny, and its stems do not have wings. Like most thistles, it produces masses of fluffy, wind-borne seeds in late summer.

Thanks go to Richard for an enjoyable and informative walk.

Photographs Steve Goddard

Wassail Bourne Community Orchard 2018

The Friends of Bourne Wood held their second Wassail in the community orchard in Bourne on Saturday in conjunction with Bourne Borderers Morris.  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 rain had cleared by the time the event started at 4.30pm and a crowd of around 80 people had gathered to join in the celebration.  Richard Jefferson welcomed everyone 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’.

wassail queen leads the parade
The gathering then proceeded into the orchard, led by Emily, the Wassail Queen, the way being lit with lots of candles.

The gathering then proceeded into the orchard, led by Emily, the Wassail Queen, the way being lit with lots of candles.  The trees were blessed with cider, and toast was placed in the branches for the robins, by anyone wishing to take part, while Vaughan Roberts played his violin.   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.

bourne borders dance
The Bourne Borderers danced again, and all joined in the ‘Here we come a wassailing’.

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.

Photographs thanks to Steve Goddard.