Friends of Bourne Woods Easter Trail, around the wood looking for bugs and besties, and more….
The Friends of Bourne Wood held their first 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 and reawaken the trees. The event started at 4.30pm, just as it was becoming dusk with Bourne Borderers dancing. The crowd that had gathered 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, the way being lit with lots of natural lights. The trees were blessed with cider, and toast was placed in the branches for the robins, by anyone wishing to take part. The Wassail Queen Emily sang a beautiful solo and the trees were wassailed, followed by lots of noise, with everyone present banging pots and pans, and cheering!
Once back on the hard-standing the Borderers danced again, Emily sang a further lovely song, and all joined in the ‘Here we come a wassailing’.
“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 evening ended with the Mummers play, and thanks to all for their attendance and help.
The Friends would like to especially thank Bourne Borderers for their help and support with this new event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Community Orchard Open Day, organised by the Friends of Bourne Wood, was thoroughly enjoyed by the many people who came. There was live music from Bourne Folk Club, who play regularly at the Masons and Wishing Well, Dyke. They played two sets of lively music – a real mix of Irish, Folk, Country and traditional tunes. As there was plenty of sunshine people were able to sit and enjoy the music, which fitted in very well with the relaxed atmosphere of the orchard.
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 picture colouring, and while waiting for these to dry were able to hunt for bugs hidden around the trees! There was also a lucky dip, and a guess my name competition.
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 all our other volunteers who helped set up and look after the stalls on the day.
The Friends would be keen to hear from anyone who would like to join our committee to take on administrative and fundraising roles. Further information can be obtained from Sarah on 07760468052.
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!
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.
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.
Around 25 people, adults and children, joined entomologist Keith Porter and local botanist, Richard Jefferson for a hunt for mini beasts.
Before setting off, Keith demonstrated the use of insect nets, sweep nets and beating trays for collecting insects. We set off along the main north-south ride armed with this equipment and plenty of pots for collecting and identifying our catches.
Although butterfly numbers were down on last year’s walk, we still manged to see several species, including lots of ringlets, green-veined whites and a peacock. The silver-washed Fritillary was again evident but no individuals decided to settle on flowers so we were unable to see this gorgeous orange and brown butterfly close to.
We did though collect a wide range of other insects and spiders. These included lots of soldier beetles, which has the misleading name of ‘blood sucker’, various species of hover fly, an orange ladybird which has the unusual scientific name of Halzia 16-Guttata, an oak bush cricket, forest shield bug and a common blue damselfly.
With regard to flowers, we enjoyed the the drifts of meadowsweet along the ride and Richard pointed out the three species of thistle – creeping, spear and marsh – all of which are attractive to insects. The frothy creamy white flowers of meadowsweet have a sweet heavy scent and it was once used to flavour mead. We also spotted teasel coming into flower. This rather stately plant was very popular with bumble bees.
We also found corn mint in damp areas. The foliage has been described as smelling of a mixture of apples and ginger bread and, apparently, sprigs of this plant were once placed in corn stacks in Ireland to discourage mice!
Photographs by Dave Evans and Richard Jefferson
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Due to the rain, everyone was keen to get into the dens at the end as it was much drier in there!
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.