Wassail – 21st January

This year we have joined with the  Bourne Borderers Morris to celebrate the old English custom of the Wassail.

“Wassail” is a greeting meaning “Be of good health”.  Traditionally along with apple orchards, oxen and the land were wassailed.  Our wassail is being held to celebrate the apple harvest and to reawaken the trees into new growth. Cider is poured around the roots of the tree, both reward for past and encouragement for the next harvest. Toast is placed in the tree – the traditional offering for the Robins – guardian spirits of the orchard.  The trees are sung to and woken with lots of noise!

Bourne Borderers Morris will be dancing and performing their Mummers play.

“Our Wassail, jolly Wassail, joy come to our jolly Wassail          How well they may bloom, how well they may bear, so we may have apples and cider next year”

“Hat-fulls, cap-fulls, three bushel bag-fulls, little heaps under the stairs,
Hip, hip… Hooray!”

The event commences at 4.30pm at the Community Orchard, off Beech Avenue, Bourne and all are welcome.  Please wrap up warmly, bring saucepans and spoons to make lots of noise to awaken the trees, and lanterns to light your way into the orchard. There will be refreshments and homemade cakes available.

Contact: Sarah 07760 468052

Fungi Foray 2016

The enduring appeal of mushrooms and toadstools ensured that around 30 people turned out for the fungi foray in Bourne Woods in late October. Dr Vin Fleming gave a brief introductory talk on fungi before we set off into the woods armed with our various collecting baskets and containers.

An hour or so later the group had amassed a diverse collection of different types and Vin set about trying to identify what the group had picked.

golden spindles fungi
One of the stranger species was the Golden Spindles which we found in grassland near the car park.

One of the stranger species was the golden spindles which we found in grassland near the car park while arguably the most unusual coloured species was the lilac toadstool known as the amethyst deceiver.

blushing bracket fungi
Blushing Bracket fungi.

Other types we found included the common puff ball (edible when young!), shaggy ink cap, sulphur tuft (a poisonous species), trouping funnel cap, blushing bracket, honey fungus, and the ochre brittlegill, the latter so-called due to its dull yellow cap.

collection of fungi
Although it may seem rather destructive, small-scale collecting of fungi is not detrimental to maintaining populations of the various fungi.

Although it may seem rather destructive, small-scale collecting of fungi is not detrimental to maintaining populations of the various fungi. Mushrooms and toadstools are just the fruiting bodies of the fungus and the bulk of a fungus is underground forming a vast web of branching threads known as the mycelium. Of course, more caution would be required with very rare species of fungi or where fungi are being collected commercially.

Annual Den Building Competition

It was very pleasant day for The Friends of Bourne Wood annual Den Building Competition on Sunday.

The families used leftover materials from the thinning to create dens deep within the wood, which were then covered with bracken.  John Wilcockson, the leader of the event explained how to make the dens, suggested extras that could be added and reminded people that all of the family should fit in the den and that they should be waterproof, as a heavy shower similar to the one the day before was due to hit the wood at the time the dens were finished!

woodland den with people
The McKeigue den.

The morning session was a bit quiet with two small families battling it out, but they were equally matched and it was difficult to judge between them.  The Copeland family were crowned the winners as their den was slightly more waterproof, when the shower arrived.

In the afternoon, we had four groups, so the competition was much more difficult, with the Reid family winning.  Another family were visiting from Newark, so were able to join in the fun.

woodland den with couple in front
The Scott den.

Thanks go to John for running the event and our helpers, Shirley, Brian, Eleanor and John for helping to judge and look after those taking part.

Easter Egg Trail

Around 70 children took part in our Easter Trail on Monday, accompanied by their parents or grandparents.  They followed a list of clues to find eggs labelled with letters, making up a Spring word, counting bunnies along the way! Once they completed that, the second quiz was a misplaced article competition – items that should not be in the wood – as expected not many people got them all correct – some items were quite hard to find!  Luckily the small prize at the end was not dependant on getting the right answers.

Three Counties Dog Rescue had a tombola and bric-a-brac stall, and there was also a craft stall and a plant stall along with a chance to have refreshments after looking for all the clues.

easter egg trail stall
Enjoying one of the many stalls.

The weather made the setting up of the event very difficult, but the afternoon turned out fairly pleasant and we are very grateful to those who supported us.

Many thanks to all those that helped make the day possible by helping out in such dismal conditions.

Bourne Town Harriers Donation

Bourne Town Harriers  have been hosting the Grimsthorpe Castle 10k race and fun run alongside the St John Ambulance fun day in the grounds of the estate for 25 years this year.  The fun day and more latterly the Grimsthorpe music festival no longer run and so the race took place independently  on the traditional course. The weather was dire but many hardy souls braved the elements and the race goes on alone.

Bakkavor Bourne Salads and JO Simms have continued the support given over many years for the event  and so the Harriers were able to make a donation from the proceeds of the race.  This year they decided to donate £250 to Friends of Bourne Woods.  Many of the clubs  endurance training sessions take place in the woods, especially in the summer, and  the Harriers regard it  as a very special place to run.

The Friends of Bourne Wood secretary, Sarah Roberts, commented that ‘We are very grateful for the generous donation. We plan to re-new our marquee which we use for our big events (at Easter and in the Orchard) in 2016 and this donation will help fund this plan.  We are aware of how much the Harriers use the wood and think this is a lovely way for them to show their appreciation for our great outdoor space.’

Orchard Open Day

The Community Orchard Open Day was a success, thoroughly enjoyed by those who came.  There was live music from Dean Hardy and his friends from Dyke Folk Club and Spalding Folk Club.  They played two sets of lively music – a real mix of Irish, Folk, Country and good old fashioned tunes.  The weather was so good people were able to sit and enjoy the music and soak up the relaxed atmosphere.

At lunch time all the seats were taken with people having picnics, supplemented by the delicious cakes from the cake stall and teas and coffees.

Children could try their hands at pebble painting or willow weaving, both of which proved very popular.  Nicola Mclean had organised the willow weaving and she had cards and other items for sale, along with her deer and hare willow sculptures on show.

Meanwhile, adults and children alike could investigate the craft stalls, jam stall or the plant stall.

The Friends had also 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 Nicola for her help, along with all our other volunteers who helped set up and look after the stalls on the day.

Den Building Competition Take Three

Despite the rain halfway through the competition those taking part in The Friends of Bourne Wood Den Building on Sunday, had an enjoyable afternoon.

The runner-up were the Lavberts!
The runner-up were the Lavberts!

The five families used leftover materials from the thinning to create dens deep within the wood, which were then covered with bracken.  John Wilcockson, the leader of the event explained how to make the dens, suggested extras that could be added and reminded people that all of the family should fit in the den and that they should be waterproof!

The winning den, by the Bower family.
The winning den, by the Bower family.

The winning family was Eric Bower, Kat Walters and Rose and Ted Bower-Walters who had a removable door for their cosy den.   The runners-up had two seats, a cooker and a bar, while one family included a dog kennel.

children watching den building
Supervising the build!

Due to the rain, everyone was keen to get into the dens at the end as it was much drier in there!

Our house in the middle of the wood, our house.....
Our house in the middle of the wood, our house…..

Thanks go to John for running the event and our helpers, Cindy, Brian and Valerie for helping to judge and look after those taking part.

Photographs by John Wilcockson

Flowers and Minibeasts Walk

The walk started well, as the leaders, Keith Porter and Richard Jefferson had been on a pre-amble and returned with a Purple Hairstreak – which although found in the wood is not something many of us had seen as they spend their lives right at the top of oak trees – so are difficult to spot!

Setting off; looking for flowers and minibeast!
Setting off; looking for flowers and minibeast!

We set off furnished with butterfly nets and sweep nets, which not only did the children enjoy – but the adults had great fun trying to catch butterflies and even more fun transferring them to the identification pots.

Identifying the latest catch!
Identifying the latest catch!

The star of the last years show returned this year – the Silver Washed Fritillary – a beautiful orange and brown butterfly, quite large and displaying perfectly for us to see.  Someone then caught a White Letter Hairstreak, which is not particularly common, and the young feed on Elm.  In addition we saw Brimstones (this year’s brood), Ringlets, Peacocks, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns from the butterfly world – and then to top the afternoon off we caught a Brown Argus butterfly – recorded previously in the wood – but not seen before by those attending.

On closer inspection....
On closer inspection….

The bugs caught in the sweep nets included Shield Bugs, Lacewings, Soldier Beetles, 14 spot Ladybird, and a Bush Cricket, not to mention the large Spider!

Can you identify the butterfly?
Can you identify the butterfly?

With regard to flowers, we enjoyed the creeping Thistles which were full of butterflies, and this became obvious why when we smelt the flowers – just like honey!  The Angelica flowers were full of Hoverflies as they are easy for insects to get nectar from due to their open flowers.  We saw Ragwort – which although disliked by many is good for insects and home to the Cinnabar moth.  There was also St John’s Wort – used as a medicinal plant, Meadowsweet and Spear Thistle.

Our thanks go Keith and Richard for a lovely afternoon, the weather was exceptionally good, and the walk was very much enjoyed by the 20 or so people attending.

Photographs by Roland Smith.

Tree Identification Walk

The Friends of Bourne Wood held a Tree Identification Walk on a warm summer’s evening with the aim of helping people identify some of the common species found in the wood, along with some interesting facts and some of the more unusual trees.

The walk started by looking at the grand Beech trees at the five crossroads – with smooth bark these lovely trees have bright green leaves in the Spring and beautiful colours in the autumn.  After that we covered the common species of Wild Cherry, Ash, Aspen, Oak, Hazel, Blackthorn and Hawthorn amongst others.

We were told Ash had separate male and female trees, with only females having keys, how to recognise aspen with its rustling leaves, and the two different types of native Oak – English & Sessile.

Our less common species include the Wild Service tree, which is a good indicator of ancient woodland and was often used as a boundary tree, and has fruit which can be used for jams.  Also in the wood are a few small leaved lime, with distinctive flowers, the wood of which can be used for piano keys.

Around 20 people enjoyed this interesting walk, our thanks go to Mick Curtis and Richard Jefferson for leading the evening and answering all the questions.

Helping to promote and look after Bourne Woods