Trip reports

Joyden's Wood, Dartford

Joyden's Wood, Dartford
Great Spotted Woodpecker - Tom Marshall (rspb-images)

Monday, 23 March 2020

Eleven of us assembled at the entrance to Joyden's Woods on a grey February morning. This is an area of woodland located south-east of Bexleyheath and south-west of Dartford, on the border between South-East London and Kent. It is one of over 1,000 woodlands in the United Kingdom looked after by the Woodland Trust.

Almost immediately we caught a brief glimpse of a great spotted woodpecker. A little further on we noticed pigeon remains, which suggested that a sparrowhawk had been there. We also heard a goldcrest and a nuthatch, but were not fortunate enough to catch sight of them.

The woods were generally quite easy to walk round despite a good deal of recent rain, as there were clear paths throughout, although there were some steep climbs at certain points.

Signs of spring were everywhere: hazel catkins brightening the woodland, and blue tits were pairing up, getting ready to nest. There was also a Queen bee looking for a new spot to set up home.
We crossed the Faesten Dic, the ditch marking the dividing line designed to keep the Roman Londoners apart from the Saxons in Kent. Here we encountered some long-tailed tits swooping from tree to tree, and several parakeets. The woodland is home to many varieties of plants and trees, including beech, sweet chestnut and oak.

We were lucky enough to see a blackbird, coal tit, robin, crow, magpie, great tit and jay. We entered a small clearing and came across a wooden model of a crashed aeroplane. While in combat during World War Two, pilot officer Ian James Muirhead's Hawker Hurricane was shot down on 7th October 1940. There are still metal fragments of the debris to the north of the wood. Muirhead successfully bailed out, but was sadly killed in action 2 weeks later.

Towards the end of our walk, and the highlight for me and most of the group, we came across a pair of tree creepers, which we all enjoyed watching for several minutes. They were a delightful finale to the walk.

Nicola Hope