A World of Discovery
in your local woodland!
Hello and welcome to my Wild Blog! Here you can catch up on all the day to day goings-on at Woodlandfun. There's always something new and exciting occurring in the woods so what better way to share these experinces with you than on my own blog...so take a look and enjoy! Oh, and let me know your thoughts too!
Thanks for reading!
By Woodlandfun, Feb 9 2018 08:03AM
So I have just finished my outdoor first aid renewal. An essential piece of training and very much required skill for running a Forest School. Alot has changed over the years of taking these courses and gone are the days of fancy bandaging tecniques. Now the rule of thumb is this, if it's bleeding just get it packed and wrapped! Poor Jacob here appears to have had a really bad day at work!
By Woodlandfun, Dec 30 2017 09:58AM
Following on from my last post, here is the effect of Ivy on trees in winter. This branch as fallen so hard it's actually embedded itself upright in the ground. As you can see, it's pretty much all ivy vines, there's just a thin branch underneath all the leaf cover. It looks like another tree just sprouted up in the middle of the pathway!
By Woodlandfun, Dec 23 2017 08:42PM
Winter is a great time to get some essential woodland management tasks underway. During these cold, dark months tree cutting jobs like coppicing and thinning can be done. Whilst the woodland is in a state of dormancy, sap levels are low so giving your Hazels and Willows a good cut back won't cause any damage to the tree and encourage new, thicker growth come Spring time.
With the drop of the leaves and the bare trees exposed, now is a great time to spot those trees being chocked by Ivy vines. These vines, if left unchecked, can grow thick and surround the whole length of the tree. During Autumn trees drop their leaves in an effort to reduce weight and bulk so they can withstand the wet and windy conditons of Winter when the ground is soft and the trees are vunurable to high windspeeds that can cause them to uproot and fall. Ivy, being a coniferous species, stays in full leaf over Winter and this results in the trees being overladden with weight. Cutting through the vines at the base of the tree will kill off the Ivy and help to reduce the burden, giving your trees a better chance of staying put come the January/February storms. We have prodominantly Ash in our woodland. Being so very tall and with a shallow root footing, getting these Ivy vines cut will help reduce the amount of trees we loose this year.
By Woodlandfun, Dec 2 2017 10:16AM
It's that time of year again to give the Stoke Canon Primary School's willow tunnel its annual trim. This thing loves to grow so it had a pretty heavy prune this year and a bit of a re-weave. The photos never come out too well when trying to capture the tunnel so here's some abstract views of the top of the tunnel. First up a shot of the regrowth and then the weave in.
By Woodlandfun, Dec 2 2017 10:10AM
I came across this tiny golden snail wrapped up in the curl of an dying leaf. What a great place to hide out for winter and perfectly camouflaged! I almost didin't see it!
By Woodlandfun, Oct 27 2017 06:42AM
Lastly we have probably the hardest skill to master, the drop spindle. This technique requires patience and perserverence. This is the oldest form of spinning wool and although basic in nature, it's very effective and quite quick when you get the hang of it. The formular consists of 3 main components, twist, park and draft. By pulling the strands of raw fleece apart to cobweb thin and then twisting the spindle you can make a lengthy section of yarn in seconds. However, twist too much or have the fleece too thin then snap! The yarn will break and the spindle will, as it's name suggests, drop to the floor! Im really impressed that this group were able to get the hang of this in one session.
By Woodlandfun, Oct 23 2017 07:03PM
Next up is the great work of our willow weavers. This technique is hard work on the fingers and really works on fine motor skills and muscle strength in the hands. Willow is the most versitle of natural materials and it was great to see the yr 3/4 class all come away with a finished willow weave. Using a square template these willow baskets are great as bird feeders or candle holders and are just beautiful.
By Woodlandfun, Oct 20 2017 07:25PM
We've had such an amazing set of sessions with the yr 3/4 class from Stoke Canon primary. We've been looking at learning traditional skills and getting creative with natural materials. These are lost skills that I think they will come back to time and time again in later life.
In this first set I wanted to show you some of the amazing skills of our rope makers. Using just dry grass and huge amounts of determination and great twisting technique, the kids made some of the longest ropes I have seen!
By Woodlandfun, Sep 25 2017 03:39PM
Here's a little bird pod I made whilst practicing my willow weaving skills. We'll be making these (or similar versions of) in forest school this autumn The kids will learn to weave and make cordage and there's spinning fleece going on too! I think I would quite like to live in here for the winter, looks cosy!
By Woodlandfun, Jul 8 2017 08:38PM
You would not believe the hours I have spent down at the pond waiting to witness the arrival of a new born dragonfly. I would always see them post-emergence, drying their wings or just find the empty shells of the nymphs still clasping into the reeds. But this morning I finally saw my first brand new emergence. The picture isn't great as I only had an iphone to hand and the dragonfly was tucked well into the reedbed.