We had a warm day with sunny intervals for our den building competition on Sunday.
Five families used leftover materials from the wood thinning to create dens deep within the wood. Most were made lean-to style, with the exception of one wigwam style. The dens were then covered with Bracken to help make them waterproof.
The wigwam style den was big enough for two families, with a dog kennel at the end for the family’s springer spaniel, accommodating five people very comfortably, a very impressive but ambitious design in the time allotted. Other dens had outside seating, carpeted floors, and open fires.
Once made, the dens were tested to see if they were waterproof with the families sitting inside, and the others listening for the screams as they got wet – which everyone did!
As always, it was difficult to choose a winner as all dens were really good, but the winner was made by the Knudson family, a lean-to design with carpet, a rocking chair, and a camp fire!
There will be another chance to try your hand at den building at the end of August, so look out for the posters for this.
We had a lovely sunny summer afternoon for our bug hunt. The event started with John Creedy showing us his moth trap from his garden the previous evening, and explaining to the children (and adults) how the trap worked, and the differences between moths and butterflies. He then let the children handle the moths, a huge poplar Hawk moth, an Orange Underwing and a Buff Ermine to name but a few.
From there Jon Webb hand out some nets to those present, butterfly nets to catch flying insects, sweep nets to brush over the vegetation to catch small bugs. The children (and their parents) then had great fun trying to catch butterflies and even more fun putting them in the pots provided!
We then wandered along with people catching bugs and taking them to the various experts to identify. There were numerous Ringlet butterflies, a few large Skippers, a White Admiral, a lovely Longhorn beetle, an Oak Bush cricket nymph (with really long feelers), and a Flea beetle to name just a few that we caught.
The highlight for me was the Silver Washed Fritillary though, caught after a prolonged chase I believe but absolutely stunning and something I had not seen previously in the wood, we all waited patiently until Keith Porter returned to identify it!
Thank you to Keith, John , Jon and Richard for a very entertaining and informative afternoon which I hope can be repeated.
We had a very pleasant summer evening stroll with the weather being dry and sunny. There were about a dozen people who came to learn about grasses, and Dr Richard Jefferson very kindly agreed to also cover the trees and wildflowers we saw too!
During the evening we identified about 11 species of tree, 37 varieties of wildflower, and 12 grasses and sedges. This is course is only a small selection of what is the wood, as we only covered a short distance due to stopping to inspect plants!
Richard not only helped us to identify grasses by explaining the features of some of the them, and for instance the difference between rushes and sedges, but he also told us interesting facts such as that Rye Grass is often used for football pitches as it is hard-wearing, and that one of the tallest grasses (which was taller than Richard) is Reed Canary Grass which likes damp areas.
We tend to alternate our wildflower walks between the Spring and Summer so we can enjoy and learn about different species each time, and thanks go to Richard for leading an enjoyable evening.