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solar oven

Solar ovens and woodland cooking

by Angus ~ 21 August, 2020 ~ one comment

I couldn't get the gears on my bike to work so instead of going out I decided to make a cup of tea.  It may seem cumbersome but to make the tea I wheeled out my new solar oven, which is a large parabolic dish and once it's angled it towards the sun, its rays get concentrated onto the saucepan of water.  Actually as I write this, I'm drinking the tea made from water boiled by the said solar oven.  Like campfire tea it tastes especially nice - one enjoys it even more from knowing that it's made with renewable energy.

Our solar cooker only arrived last week and my son and I constructed it in about an hour.  The instructions were only in Chinese so some guesswork was involved and as with constructing IKEA furniture there were bits that had to be undone and turned around in the process.  We put together the six sections of the parabolic dish and then constructed the metal frame which goes on three wheels for moving it around easily. Read more...

LiDAR - amazing technology for tracing the history of a woodland

LiDAR – amazing technology for tracing the history of a woodland

by Angus ~ 3 July, 2020 ~ 4 comments

Over the last 20 years there has been a revolution in understanding the history of our woodlands.  That's because a technology known as LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) allows planes to map the forest floor to an accuracy of 4-6 inches (100 to 150mm) which means that earthbanks and holes of any significant size can be mapped accurately.  An aeroplane flies over the woodland with very precise plotting of its height and position and it bounces laser beams off the forest floor to collect enormous quantities of high-precision data.  The cleverness of the technology is that even though a beam is bounced off the ground the signals from trees and leaves can be filtered out: so it maps a detailed picture of the ground surface totally naked. Read more...

Springtime at Beauchamp Woods

Springtime at Beauchamp Woods

by Alice ~ 29 June, 2020 ~ 5 comments

My parents and I have recently purchased a piece of woodland of about 3 acres, in Devon, called Beauchamp woods. It is a mixture of semi-natural ancient woodland, larch plantation and a clear-felled area. This is the perfect mixture for us. We wanted to give something back to nature by preserving a small piece of habitat for wildlife, whilst enjoying spending time in our woods. We are loving it and find it very rewarding.

I have some knowledge of woodland management and conservation through my education and work and it is great to have the opportunity to put this into practice. My main aim is to maximise biodiversity, I want it to be the best habitat for as many species as possible. Read more...

Hatherland Woods – Why buy a Woodland?

Hatherland Woods – Why buy a Woodland?

by Clarke Uren ~ 12 June, 2020 ~ 7 comments

I have to confess woodlands have always intrigued me from being a child, be they small, intimate woodlands consisting of a few dozen tree’s or vast forests covering 1000’s of acres. There was always something, something special or magical even. Then you grow up of course and the world takes on a whole new perspective, then ‘magical’ often takes a back seat if it gets a seat at all. 

I did dally with the idea a little when my daughter reached an age where rugged outdoor play was on the agenda but never to the point of pursuing it to make it real, too much else happening in life, just too busy. But then my Mother passed away, her last dying wish was that I ‘feed the wild birds and  look after wild flowers and trees’. It’s at these points in life you are forced to stop and take stock, and here was a sign, surely?  Read more...

Woodlands Awards are back for 2020 – COVID-19 notwithstanding!

Woodlands Awards are back for 2020 – COVID-19 notwithstanding!

by Antony Mason ~ 5 May, 2020 ~ comments welcome

We launched the Woodlands Awards 2020 earlier in the year – but then came the Coronavirus, with wave upon wave of shock announcements, restrictions to movement, and daily bad news.

Now that we seem to be getting used to the “new normal”, and now that the possibility of emerging from the lockdown is beginning to appear on the horizon, we thought it was time to remind you of the Woodlands Awards.

  • Three months to go until the deadline of 31 July 2020. 
  • Plenty of time to put together an entry!
  • There are prizes to be won (multiple prizes in every category)! Woodland books, woodland equipment, winners’ certificates… 

Win a prize for yourself – or win it for someone else, or an enterprise, or an organisation that you think especially deserves recognition. Read more...

Birdwatch 2020

Birdwatch 2020

by Chris ~ 21 April, 2020 ~ comments welcome

The RSPB has organised the Big Garden Birdwatch for some forty one years.  This year’s event took place back in January (25-27th) and some eight million birds were recorded.

The most counted garden visitor this winter was the house sparrow with nearly 1.3 million sightings over the weekend.  This was good news as the sparrow has been in decline for much of the time since the inception of the BGB.  After the sparrow count, starlings were the second most frequently sighted and then the blue tit. Read more...

Hugelkultur -another use for wood / wood trimmings.

Hugelkultur -another use for wood / wood trimmings.

by Angus ~ 6 April, 2020 ~ comments welcome

In a woodland or indeed one’s garden, there are often bits of wood and trimmings lying around.  Sometimes these can be useful in a woodburning stove or used to support peas & beans / vegetables but another use is in hugelkultur.

Hugelkultur or hugel beds are basically raised beds with a difference - they are filled with rotting wood and other biomass.  They are simply packed with organic material, nutrients and air pockets. They can be an effective way of creating a productive area for growing fruits and vegetables in your garden / woodland.  Instead of putting your wood offcuts, branches, leaves and grass clippings into bags for the ‘green collection’ or the compost heap, consider building a hugel bed.  Read more...

Surrey Hills Wood Fair this weekend (Sat 5th and Sun 6th October 2019)

Surrey Hills Wood Fair this weekend (Sat 5th and Sun 6th October 2019)

by Angus ~ 1 October, 2019 ~ comments welcome

This weekend all woodland lovers within reach should try to make time to visit Fish Pond Copse in the Cranleigh Showground (GU6 7DW) for what will be one of the year's best woodland events.  It's from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Despite possible rain (bring boots!) these events are a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and learn more about British woodlands.  My colleague who came with me to the Wilderness Gathering a couple of months ago said, "We were drenched but it brought out the survivalist in me and I made some great contacts."

There will be tree climbing, archery, fire-making and chainsaw demos.  For foodies like me,  there is apple pressing, outdoor cookery and a range of food tents.  The full programme can be accessed here : https://www.surreyhills.org/events/the-2019-surrey-hills-wood-fair/  Read more...

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