A very happy new year to you all! We hope you have all had a restful winter, and are looking forward to the return of spring as much as we are. In between battling flooded tracks, strong winds and falling trees, we have been enjoying the first frosts as well as the unseasonal winter warmth. Here is a brief recap of what we have been up to toward the end of 2019.
Wreath Making Workshop With Kat Wooton and Elsa Donovan –
We were especially excited for this one, as it was our first event in the Whitelands Barn! It was a great day of wreath making and den building; mulled wine for the grown ups and hot chocolate for the kids. The new barn camp was left considerably more festive!
Tree Planting Day – thanks to local fundraising efforts by Livi Burton, Floss Turner and Hannah Finch, we have replaced diseased ash saplings in the plantation with small leaf lime, and started establishing a hawthorn hedgerow above the barn.
v Those familiar with Whitelands track will be thrilled to hear that repairs will be starting this January! We don’t promise much, but we are hoping it will save a few tyres, and a lot of time fishing cars out from the bushes…
v Whitelands is heading to Scotland as codirector Fritha West starts her MSc at St Andrews University, using Whitelands bird data collected over the past 14 years.
v Felling has started in the old copse area of the woodland, removing diseased mature ash trees and making space for replanting later in the year. We start this job with heavy hearts, but look forward to replacing them with a mix of native broadleaves. To get the latest advice on Chalara ash dieback, take a look at forestresearch.gov.uk.
v Dr Amir Alani continues his research on Ground Penetrating Radar and its potential uses in arboriculture, a project Whitelands Principal Jonathan West helped on. You can find more about Amir’s work on Research Gate, and he is happy to answer any queries. www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2093890866_Amir_M_Alani
In the new year….
² Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram to stay updated about Whitelands events this spring. There will be Tree Planting and the Spring Work Party, TBC in March!
² Our Community Coppicing Project with Butser Ancient Farm is starting this February! This collaborative project is using Whitelands willow copse (above the plantation) as a resource for weaving and fencing at the Ancient Farm. We are really excited to take control of this “managed transitional scrub”, in a way that benefits wildlife and traditional craft.
² We will be continuing construction on Whitelands Barn as soon as the good weather returns. We can’t wait to get the turf roof growing!
November onwards is always quiet at Whitelands, the cold meaning reduced wildlife activity and fewer human visitors too. However it is a busy time for our birds of prey! With food scarce and trees bare, buzzards and kestrels have been sighted almost daily, watching from the woodland edges. Neighbouring red kites have also been creeping further in over the woodland, and one lone barn owl is a frequent visitor in the plantation. Her presence has been a slightly eerie but beautiful addition to evening log deliveries.
Looking for: Woodworkers and Craftsmen
We have a great deal of ash and cedar to be used, and we would like to get creative with it! Are you a budding woodworker? Would you like to learn? Or are you keen to promote your work, maybe by using Whitelands materials and displaying them on our one of our stalls? Please get in touch if you have any ideas for creations. Our next stall will be at Butser Ancient Farm’s Beltain festival in May.
A Big Thankyou
As 2020 begins, we also wanted to say a huge thankyou to everyone who has been so supportive of the Whitelands Project over the past year. Without the support of volunteers, advisers, colleagues and friends, we wouldn’t be able to continue our work. So here is to all of you!