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Forest Schools - "Our Roots - the story of the Forest School 1929-1940"

Forest Schools – “Our Roots – the story of the Forest School 1929-1940”

by Angus ~ 19 May, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Forest School is becoming a standard part of many primary schools, often with the use of onsite woodlands and sometimes with a walk or even a minibus trip to take children into nearby woodland areas.  Our company’s first experience of the growing importance of forest school was when a school in Kent decided to buy a woodland and have its pupils visit once a week, but since then we have had many experiences of families buying woods and lending them to the local school for forest school classes.  Even though the concept is now well embedded and growing, the history of ‘Forest School‘ in the UK goes back a long way and has some slightly eyebrow-raising history. Read more…

Learning how to drive a 4X4 car in a woodland

Learning how to drive a 4X4 car in a woodland

by Angus ~ 17 May, 2017 ~ one comment

It’s the most fun I’ve ever had outside of the bedroom” said one friend of mine about driving a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. “It gives you new powers and you feel you can drive anywhere – over hills and through rivers.”  But it’s a learned skill and not something people are born with, and it’s also something you can do with an ordinary driver’s licence.  Therefore, many people drive 4WD vehicles in woodlands and on farms without any extra training, despite the fact that if they are using a 4×4 for work then Health and Safety rules require that they should have “adequate information, instruction and training“.  I decided to learn the art of safe off-road driving by going on a proper course.  Amongst my group of foresters and woodland managers one of them had heard that the best place to do these courses was Motor Safari, a long established off-road driving school near Wrexham in North Wales based in a disused quarry.  It turned out to be an extremely good place to discover how to drive through a woodland while minimising damage to the tracks. Read more…

How to get a Blue Peter green badge?

How to get a Blue Peter green badge?

by woodlands blogs ~ 13 May, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Hi, I’m Imogen and I am a big nature and woodland fan. In this blog, I will be showing you how I got a Blue Peter green badge, and also how you can get one.

In my point of view, us kids should be bonding with nature in the world around us. By having a go and applying for a Green Badge * encourages us to be outside.   Furthermore, it helps us learn that nature is not just something beautiful but also shows how birds live, flowers grow and much more about bugs, trees that we didn’t even know about. By having a Green Badge, you can show everyone how much you care about nature and you could persuade others to try.  Just helping nature to grow stronger by providing more shelter for animals and bugs is giving us beauty in our woodlands and gardens. Read more…

The art of identification.

The art of identification.

by Johnny Morris ~ 10 May, 2017 ~ 2 comments

There is a long history of producing guides to help identify and explain the flora and fauna of woodlands. From the fine woodcuts in Leohart Fuch’s New Herbal book of 1543 to the Woodland Trust’s tree identification app. for smartphones in 2017, we have been naming and visually representing our plants and trees through the ages. Following this rich tradition Woodlands.co.uk have launched a range of educational posters designed to help primary school children recognise and understand what they can see in their woodlands. Read more…

Bumblebees (and insecticides), again !

Bumblebees (and insecticides), again !

by Chris ~ 5 May, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Bumblebees face a number of threats from habitat fragmentation, intensification of farming, loss of hay meadows and hedgerows, the use of insecticides and climate change.  Globally, many species of bumblebee are under threat.

Bumblebees are social insects, that is, they live in colonies.  A colony or nest is established by a queen, who lays eggs – which then give rise to several hundred ‘daughter’ workers.  Later in the summer, males and new queens hatch from eggs and they leave the nest and go in search of a mate.  When fertilised, these queens go on to hibernate – having fed on pollen and nectar in order to build up fat reserves for the winter months. Read more…

Why trees don't grow tall in the same way as people ....

Why trees don’t grow tall in the same way as people ….

by Angus ~ 1 May, 2017 ~ one comment

When you look at a small person (also known as a baby) you know that they will grow bigger in every dimension.  Trees don’t grow like that. A tree’s branch will stay at the same height however tall the tree grows: by contrast a child’s arm rises to a higher level as he or she grows taller.

The reason for this is that trees only grow in areas called meristems where they form new cells. Cells are created by cell division (mitosis) within the meristems, and these cells then expand and specialise.  These growth areas are found at the tops of the trees, and the tips of branches; these are “apical meristems“.  Growth also happens in the apical meristems at the ends / tips of the tree’s roots. Read more…

Wildflowers of the roadsides and verges,

Wildflowers of the roadsides and verges,

by Chris ~ 26 April, 2017 ~ one comment

The woodlands blog has commented over the years about the loss of hedgerows, the homogenisation of the flora,  and the disappearance of roadside plants. The loss of roadside plants is due to

  • increasing eutrophication (‘enrichment’ of the environment with nitrates from fertilisers etc. which encourages ‘botanical thugs’ such as nettles )
  • the regular (and early) mowing of roadside verges.  If the verges are mowed early in the year, then early wildflowers are not able to set seed (and the seed bank in the soil is depleted).

Now there is an initiative by Plantlife to encourage local councils Read more…

Box shrub

Trouble in the garden

by Lewis ~ 23 April, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Topiary is often on display in our parks and gardens, and many of the stately homes managed by the National trust have exceptional displays.  One species that is a great favourite for topiary is Box (Buxus sempervirens).  Box has small green leaves and a dense growth habit; it is hardy and poisonous (contains an alkaloid – buxine, which causes respiratory paralysis).. It was once planted close to houses (according to folklore) to deter witches entering.  It was used extensively in formal gardens since Tudor times.   However, Box is now under threat from pathogens that result in Box Blight, and also the caterpillar of the Box tree Moth from Asia. Read more…

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