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.
Our first joint litter pick with volunteers from McDonalds took place recently. A total of 14 pairs of helping hands collected more than eight bags of rubbish from the car park, the roadway down into the car park, the rides surrounding it, the easy access trails and the old car park.
As well as McDonalds rubbish, we collected a variety of other litter including cans, bottles, crisp packets and those persistent dog poo bags. In amongst the debris however was a huge fish head, various parts of a motorbike and a solitary sock!
McDonalds’ representative Sam Spencer helpfully offered to support another litter pick session later in spring and muck in with our events. We welcome this commitment wholeheartedly and urge all visitors to the Wood to please take litter home with you and ‘stick and flick’ that dog poo (never bag it and leave it). Much of the litter left behind does not disintegrate and can be a health hazard to humans and a danger to wildlife.
We love our Wood and want to do everything we can to keep it litter-free. If you would like to help support us in any way, please get in touch.
Words by Kate Starlling
Photographs by Sarah Roberts
Bourne Wood is managed as a commercial forest by the Forestry Commission (FC), although conservation of wildlife and recreation are given more precedence in recognition of higher public usage compared to the large, more remote conifer forests in the uplands with fewer visitors. FC was established in 1919 to address Britain’s declining woodland and timber resources, a trend that had commenced in the Middle Ages and had reached an all-time low by the beginning of the 20th Century. This decline was compounded by the outbreak of World War 1 when the country was no longer able to rely on timber imports.
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. Almost four million tonnes of wood are harvested every year from England and Scotland’s public forests. Forestry supports local rural economies by creating employment and supporting forestry contractors who both make use of local facilities and services.
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. The vast majority of timber extraction from UK forests is from softwoods, many of which are from plantations established in the 20th Century. Some softwoods have been planted into ancient woodland sites such as at Bourne. 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.
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.
Acknowledgement contributions from John Wilcockson.
The Friends of Bourne Wood had a warm, sunny day for their second den building competition of the year 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 that there would be a rainstorm to test the waterproofness of the dens at the end!
Four families, plus John’s family entered the competition in the morning, with the winners being the Whitney family from South Witham. The afternoon session had three groups with the winners being an all ladies team of Adams and Carlton, who won with lots of added extras such as a washing line and toilet!
Everyone had great fun, although they all got wet when water was thrown over the dens!
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.
If you have worries or are feeling down- go to the woods! We have endured weeks of winter grey with muddy paths, damage from gales and, in some parts, floods. However it has come out all right in the end with carpets of Bluebells and Greater Stitchwort. The new growth is a lush green and spring is in the air. The Blackcaps and Chiff-Chaffs are singing loudly whilst the Blue Tits and the larger Great Tits are busy checking out the bird boxes kindly donated by the Len Pick Trust. They really are “des-res” (desirable residences) particularly for the tit species though we may have Nuthatches or bees in them again. If I were the birds I would get cracking and move in before somebody else does! No such thing as being on a housing waiting list- they just occupy first come first served!
I have seen Red Kites flying low over the wood margins- magnificent birds especially when seen close up. Almost as big as a door yet they soar through the air with the finest of control with their long tails. One landed in the tree not far away, seeming to look at me with a piercing stare. The yellow hooked beak and curved talons all implied “King of the Patch”. After ten minutes he flew off lazily with slow wing beats powerfully giving the lift required.
This week the first Cuckoos have started calling in the wood, and at least one Nightingale is singing by the ponds. I can smell the Cow Parsley and can feel the cool damp air on my skin. All senses rejuvenated and with a dog content after her walk I felt inspired to write this article and share with you some of the joys of Bourne Woods!
There is evidence that the current wood formed part of a larger area of woodland and forest around Bourne and in Morton and Edenham parishes referred to in the Domesday Book of c.1086. This formed part of a much larger expanse of woodland and forest stretching as far as Northamptonshire known as Brunneswald or Bromswold. Around this time, the major landowner in Bourne was Oger the Breton whose holding was likely to have included most of Bourne Wood. Continue reading Bourne Wood: A Portrayal of a Wood in Kesteven→
Bourne Woods are owned and managed by the Forestry Commission.
This means that the Forestry Commission are responsible for planting, looking after and felling the trees within the wood. Continue reading Forestry Commission→
The Wild Service or Chequer Tree (Sorbus Torminalis) is a widespread but rather uncommon medium-sized deciduous tree (up to 25m) that is largely confined to ancient woodland. Continue reading Wild Service Tree→