Our website has had a revamp and we can get back on track with bringing more up to date news – we hope.
Things have been happening. Usually at this time of year [mid-January] we report that the snowdrops are showing through. This year they are very visible already, and on a sunny day look quite lovely.
This is perhaps because the winter has been mild up to now, and we have also seen something we have never noticed in flower before. This is winter heliotrope, [Petasites fragrans], which flowers only at this time of the year, although the leaves, which are really bright green tend to be around all year. Apparently, according to the wild flower book, it smells of vanilla. The clump we have is on the left of the path which turns up the hill, just inside the wood.
The woodland volunteers have planted about 80 trees over the late autumn/winter period, all native species appropriate for our wood. By a strange set of circumstances [long story] we received a donation of nearly 40 trees from Brookmans Park Rotary Club, which were gratefully received, along with the necessary stakes and tree guards and these were planted before Christmas. Since then another 40 have been purchased from Friends of Batchwood funds, and used to fill some gaps that have occurred during coppicing and clearing of old and precarious trees, spindly saplings that would not fare well for the future, and clearance of brambles and scrub. The result of the clearing is that the wood looks just a bit bare at the moment, but that is right for the time of year and the will allow good views of the bluebells in two or three months [some bulbs are already showing up through the leaf litter].
All through the summer and autumn last year we were noticing a large old oak tree, standing dead wood, that was to the left of the path from the picnic area down to the road. This tree seemed, perhaps, to lean a little more each month, and eventually at the end of November it uprooted itself, without falling completely but getting lodged in surrounding trees. This was too big a job for the volunteers to clear up, and contractors were brought it to fell it completely and make it safe. It had been a very large tree and we happened to be passing just as the contractors were starting the final felling. It was quite exciting to watch. It took three attempts to get it down. Since Christmas the volunteers have been tidying up the inevitable resulting damage and making things safe.
Back in August we were told that the nightclub would be closing after Christmas for refurbishment. That date was then put back to Easter, and now it seems it may be August, or later. We will believe it when it happens!