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The mite that kills honeybees - Varroa destructor.

The mite that kills honeybees – Varroa destructor.

by Chris ~ 22 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The woodland’s blog has repeatedly reported on the state of honeybee populations and the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder / syndrome.  Three principal factors have been held responsible for the decline in honey bee numbers :

Amongst the parasites, various viruses have been associated with decline - such as deformed wing virus (DWV), sacbrood virus (SBV) and black queen cell virus (BQCV).  These viruses are spread within the colonies (hives) by the activity of mites, specifically the varroa mite.  It has generally been assumed that whilst the mite feeds off of a honeybee (by hitching a ride on the bee), it did no great harm.   However, recent work by Samuel Ramsey et al (formerly at the University of Maryland) suggest that it is the mites’ feeding activities that are responsible for the death of the bees. Read more...

When the Earth’s forests burned.

When the Earth’s forests burned.

by Lewis ~ 17 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Some sixty six million years ago, much of the Earth ‘caught fire’.  A large asteroid smashed into the Earth (on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico).   The force of the impact has been estimated to have been a billion times greater than the force of the atomic bombs deployed at the end of WW2.   The impact of the asteroid and its effects were devastating, resulting in catastrophe on a global scale.   The event has been mainly associated with the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Immediate to the impact, rocks and material was ejected high into the atmosphere - as this material fell back to earth, searing heat was generated and fires were ignited; indeed, intense forest fires were ignited certainly across the Americas.    Read more...

Woodcock Wood's Buzzards

Woodcock Wood’s Buzzards

by Chris Saunders ~ 15 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Well, not ours exactly …. but during the spring and summer it’s rare for us not to see and hear the buzzards. In Woodcock Wood they fly above our backdrop of Corsican pine and make forays across the chestnut coppice, occasionally perching in the tall oaks. With open fields behind the pines, this makes the perfect habitat for this beautiful bird.

We are lucky that Woodcock Wood is a small but central part of their territory. We see them most often in spring when the pair renew their vows in noisy and beautifully aerobatic courtship displays. It’s usually their calls that attract our attention, and then it is a privilege to watch their mastery of flight in these displays. Read more...

A Busman’s Holiday

A Busman’s Holiday

by Dick ~ 13 February, 2019 ~ one comment

Busman’s Holiday by Dick

It was at the Bath & West Show last June, on the occasion of my 65th birthday that I first mentioned to Angus that, whilst not wishing to hang up my chainsaw completely, I was looking to reduce my day-to-day involvement in woodlands.co.uk significantly.

So we worked out a plan whereby I would still do some contracting work for the company [and for my other clients, many of whom had bought their woodlands from the company], as well as specific projects like organising show attendance, sourcing company merchandise and so on, whilst my esteemed colleague and good friend, Mr Stuart Brooking would take on ‘my patch’ Read more...

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

by Jasper ~ 11 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The mushrooms, toadstools or fungi that attract the most attention tend to be the more colourful, exotic, rare, recognisable or tastiest types. The Clouded Funnel can lay claim to none of these virtues. They are as common as muck and, while at one point considered edible, are now seen as best avoided for the table.

Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of the species in both coniferous and broad-leafed woodland environments, this belle laide of the mushroom world does have its charms if you are prepared to look more closely. Read more...

Woman's sheds - changing lives

Woman’s sheds – changing lives

by Angus ~ 7 February, 2019 ~ 2 comments

"Jenny was a very timid woman with very low self-esteem and confidence when she came to our Woman's Shed," explained Karen Little, the organiser of March Wood's "Woman's Shed" Project.  Karen got Jenny started on some whittling which she engaged with total concentration during some of the sessions.  She seemed to shut out everything, she became mindful of the task and was able to shift her focus to the here and now.  Jenny was transfixed by it but it also transformed her and she has since bought her own whittling knife and is pursuing a hobby that she's really good at and it's given her more confidence in every area of her life.  As Karen says, "she takes time for herself, has learnt a new skill and is making new friends." Read more...

Unusual or exotic trees : the crab apple or wild apple tree.

Unusual or exotic trees : the crab apple or wild apple tree.

by Lewis ~ 1 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

Throughout the U.K, there are various apple trees in our hedgerows and woodlands.  Some of these are crab apple trees (Malus sylvestris), some are cultivated forms of apple (Malus domestica), some are Chinese Crab Apples (Malus hupehensis), some Siberian Crab Apples (Malus baccata) and others are hybrids somewhere in between.   The Chinese and Siberian Crab Apples were sometimes planted by the Forestry Commission in and around picnic areas and conifer plantations. Read more...

Chestnut coppicing - an alternative to the 15 or 18 year cycle

Chestnut coppicing – an alternative to the 15 or 18 year cycle

by Angus ~ 29 January, 2019 ~ 2 comments

In Kent and East Sussex there are thousands of acres of chestnut coppice (see featured and last image).  That means fairly uniform sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), where every 15 or 18 years the stems are all cut off to create poles mostly used for fencing materials.  Chestnut is a hardwood and splits well.  The cutting is done in sections (“cants”) and the corners of each section are often marked by leaving a stem which is cut at about 1.5 metres above ground level.   The great benefit of this sort of woodland is that it is very productive and the trees do not need replanting after felling - the coppice just sprouts back from the same roots or “plate”. Read more...

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