Nature Notes from Bourne Wood – April 2019

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.

chiff chaff bird (phylloscopus collybita)
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). Photograph RSPB

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!

Photography Competition

The Friends of Bourne Wood are running a photography competition this year to encourage people to get out into the woods and take some photos.  Photos can be taken on your mobile or with a camera.

The photos need to be taken this year in Bourne Wood or the Orchard, and can be of any subject – landscape, flowers, fruit, insects or one of our events – the possibilities are many.  The competition will remain open until late summer so there is plenty of time to find that perfect photo that shows Bourne Wood at its best.

Photos will need to be printed in the first instance so they can be displayed at our stand at the Classic Car Show and at our Apple Day – and of a size no more than 6 “X 4”.  A JPEG copy may be required if the photo is selected as one we would like to display on the website or promotional material.  Submission of an entry gives the Friends the permission to use the photo as they would like in the future.

Photos need to be submitted by 7th September – but the earlier the better so we have some to display in June.  Please write your name, address, telephone number and age if under 18, on the back of each photo.  You may enter more than one photo.  Photos can be dropped in at an event, or posted to the Secretary, Friends of Bourne Wood, Forest Office, Beech Avenue, Bourne, PE10 9RD.

Judging will take place during September with the winner announced at the Apple Day in October. The judges decision will be final and no communication will be entered into.

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.