News archive

November 2017

Saturday, 11 November 2017

News from the Weald Reserves

News from the Weald Reserves

The recent drop in temperature is definitely making things feel a bit more autumnal. Now is the time for hats and gloves and lovely long walks in the countryside before a pub lunch in front of a roaring fire.

We are still eagerly anticipating the appearance of fieldfares and redwings, but there is plenty to spot on a ramble round the reserves at the moment. From late emerging displays of fungi to the last of the insects and invertebrates (red admiral butterflies can still be seen bathing in the sunlight), you could be surprised by what is about. You will have to be quick about seeing autumn wildlife though, because winter is coming.

Broadwater Warren
This year's woodland restoration work has begun. Areas of pine plantation are being thinned out using a harvester machine, so for your own safety and to avoid being squished we would advise you to adhere to the path closures. Paths will be closed and opened as the machine works its way through the woodland areas, so we hope it doesn't cause too much inconvenience for you. This thinning work will improve the woodland structure as smaller trees emerge in gaps providing habitat for a whole host of things, including our very charismatic dormice. Our last check of the dormouse nest boxes at Broadwater Warren confirmed that 2017 was a much better year for our dormice than 2016. This year we have had good evidence of breeding and in October one nest box contained a mother and six young. It must have been quite a squeeze but they were all looking very healthy.

As you may be aware, we work in partnership with our neighbours, Sussex Wildlife Trust. This year we have continued to jointly manage the land on the borders where our woodlands meet. We have been dressing back the track edges to encourage more wildflowers and scrub to improve the diversity of habitats. This month we joined our volunteer forces together in a joint work party to clear up the wood generated. Logs are to be sold to raise more money for reserve activity, and the rest is either burnt or made into dead wood "habitat piles". You can see some of this work, and watch as areas react over the years by following a newly installed visitor trail which covers both RSPB Broadwater Warren and SWT Eridge rocks. The trail guides are yet to be distributed, but you can already walk the four mile trail by starting at the Nevill Crest and Gun pub, walking round to Eridge Rocks and following the blue way marker arrows from the entrance gate.

19 guests joined our regular Saturday volunteer team for a taste of conservation volunteering. Tasks for the day included helping with coppicing and doing some heathland management by clearing young birch. In return everyone got a baked potato cooked on the fire and a cake made by our fantastic Saturday volunteer Callum. Everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day and we have been delighted with the follow-up response. Seven of the guests have either started volunteering with us already or will be starting soon. We carry out most of our habitat management work during the winter months to minimise disturbance, so if you are interested in volunteering at any of our reserves, please get in touch.

Tudeley Woods

The fungus list for the reserve has continued to rise following an amazing fungus season. The conditions were just right (albeit a little earlier than usual), for one of the best displays seen in a long time. Mycologist and previous RSPB warden and area manager, Martin Allison, picked up another four species of fungus from various visits. This brings the total up to 1172.

Volunteering Opportunities

Sunday 14th January at Tudeley Woods

10:00 to 15:00
Price: Free (booking essential).

Join our warden for a chance to undertake some practical conservation work on our ancient woodland reserve. Learn about coppicing and why we undertake this traditional woodland management practice for the benefit of the wildlife that calls the reserve home.

There will be plenty to do to help burn off that Christmas turkey; with a bonfire to build, branches to saw and log piles to build. For lunch we will provide a jacket potato cooked on the fire, to be enjoyed while surrounded by nature.

No experience or equipment necessary, we'll provide everything you need. Please wear old clothes and sturdy footwear. Children are very welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.