Having started at Northwood in the depths of winter I had yet to see the true scale and beauty of this woodland creation project. On many trips around War Ag 3 deer enclosure I couldn’t quite see the 13,000 trees that have been planted by volunteers, but now wondering around, you really do get a sense of woodland rising up around you.
At the start of April, the Northwood volunteers came out for a post and pre-season tidy up. Finalising all the jobs that needed doing and that had been left in the race before spring.
As already mentioned our Thursday volunteers then took up the mantle of tidying up and helped to install the new noticeboard at Northwood Junction, along with a new leaflet dispenser. I was also delighted to release to the public our new Northwood’s War leaflet containing information on the First World War history surrounding Northwood. As part of our First World War centenary commemoration at Northwood we are displaying pages of the camp diary at the Noticeboard.
We held our first ever Slindon Safari, where we took local visitors on a guided tour across the estate, taking in the special places including Rowes Barn, the Folly, Northwood, Gumber Farm, the cross dykes and Warren Barn. This was our chance to show off the estate and the work that we do, and allowed the locals to realise the scale of the works we do. It was a very successful day despite the grey weather around us.
Northwood was then host to a few very special visitors; Hannah along with baby Bea and Twiggy came for a catch up. With Northwood in all its glory, we took them both for a walk around, to show what work has been done and what we will be doing over the next few months. It was also a chance for Hannah to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything; I’m pleased to say all’s going according to plan.
The excitement continued with the construction of the final 2 tree guards, which brings our total to 27 for the winter! Thank you to the South Downs National Trust volunteers who braved a gloriously sunny Sunday to come and work hard, rather than just enjoy the weather. The final two tree guards went up without a hitch, as they say practice makes perfect.
The most exciting moment for me in April has to be the discovery of the first green-winged orchid of the season and the project in the fields. It shows how strong seed banks are in that having been left for a few years these plants can emerge after being ploughed for the last 60 years.
And finally for schools, I’ve been into Slindon Primary school helping out with their new forest schools programme and have helped the kids with den building as well as learning about caring for woods by making woodland sprites, or in my case a rubbish sprite.