• Spring Cleaning

    Another perfect spring day greeted us on Wednesday. As habitat management has given way to the breeding season, we turned our attention to general maintenance tasks. I was joined by 7 volunteers which enabled me to divide the morning's tasks so we could work simultaneously in pairs. As we try to keep the approach road  to the Car Park looking presentable, Dave, Michael, Peter and I buddied up on litter picking duty…

    • 10 Apr 2014
  • Hail & Hearty

    We were back to Brakey Bank on Wednesday to try and tackle as many of the remaining ride widening areas as possible before habitat management gives way to the breeding season.

    The walk down to our work area at the valley bottom, filled us with a real sense of achievement as we passed rides tackled on previous Work Parties with their increased space and light.

    We set up 'camp' with the luxury of a bench for our refreshment…

    • 31 Mar 2014
  • Spring Has Sprung

    Wednesday brought another day of  warm spring sunshine and a good turn out. We returned to The Plants aiming to complete the remaining stretch of  ride widening. The woodland floor was congested with large quantities of lying brash from power line maintenance and generally overgrown with scrub.   

    Our work area to the right hand side of the track containing coppice and scrub.

    In the background, brash strewn on the woodland…

    • 19 Mar 2014
  • Bring Me Sunshine....

    What a delight to meet in the Car Park in bright sunshine on Wednesday. It definitely put the team in buoyant mood, with plenty of good humoured chatter whilst awaiting our full number to arrive. With 11 volunteers expected, I had high hopes for great progress on our next section of ride widening in The Plants. The Sunday Work Party had coppiced a huge amount of material previously, so our first job was to burn this in…

    • 4 Mar 2014
  • Splish Splashing Around

    Not for the first time in recent weeks, we met in a rainy car park on Wednesday and having lost half our number to the elements, I was delighted that Charlotte, Gary and Gareth decided to stay and give work a go for as long as was comfortable in the soggy conditions. Having erected a temporary shelter to protect our kit, enable the Kelly Kettle to be boiled and to provide a little respite, we set about lighting a much…

    • 31 Jan 2014
  • Happy New Year!

     

     

    Last month came to a Christmassy conclusion with a bout of carol singing around the fire – after a hard days work of course! I don't think I've ever hear "Deck the Halls" sang as a round before...

    community.rspb.org.uk/.../deck-the-halls.MOV

     Thanks to Claire who laid out a lovely yuletide spread, and everyone else who contributed to the festivities, and indeed for all their hard work throughout…

    • 5 Jan 2014
  • Mince Pie Mania

    After our recent run of disappointing weather, Wednesday was thankfully dry, bright and mild. Spirits were further lifted by a hearty fire and mince pies courtesy of Alison. We had a great turn out which enabled us to make even more progress than usual.  We continued our ride widening towards The Meadow - coppicing a broad strip adjacent to the trail, crown lifting trees and consolidating existing brash piles into fewer…

    • 9 Dec 2013
  • Round the Bend...

    Our task for the day that is, not our Volunteers, although they did once again turn up in very inclement weather!  Having completed our trail-side ride widening beneath the high voltage power lines last time, this Wednesday we joined the trail heading towards The Meadow.

           

    Looking towards The Meadow and back towards our previous clearance  - a narrow trail bordered by standard trees, coppice and scrub.

    Having established…

    • 26 Nov 2013
  • Above and Beyond...

    Fortunately the unpromising forecast had not deterred our hardy volunteers. Having met up in the drizzle and set up 'camp' beneath the trees, we turned our attention to the task of the day.

    We manage the varied habitats of Tudeley Woods for a whole host of species including native wild flowers, rare and fascinating fungi, invertebrates, reptiles, mammals and of course birds. Today's activity was undertaken specifically…

    • 7 Nov 2013
  • Webbed Feet Optional

    Wednesday morning was as expected, damp and squally with a leaf strewn lane up to the Car Park suddenly looking very autumnal. Conditions quickly improved and turned out far better than we could have imagined, making it a real pleasure yet again, to be out on the Reserve. We were back on Valley Mire looking to progress our scrub clearance and had ideal conditions for burning our new brash and that remaining from last time…

    • 29 Oct 2013
  • Mires & Fires

    As our Wednesday Work Parties continue into autumn proper, we are still being blessed with warm, fine weather. This week saw us re-locate to the Valley Mire area of the Reserve, just beneath the main Heathland and softwood plantation. The last Sunday Work Party had already made significant progress removing the largest specimens of birch and sweet chestnut scrub and our initial task was to dispose of their brash by way…

    • 10 Oct 2013
  • Seek and you will find...

    Whilst the keen bird watchers amongst you might not generally walk around looking at your feet, now is the time to do so.  The fungi for which the Reserve is renowned, is really coming into it's own.  Whichever trail you favour, you will never be far away from an eye catching specimen such as these Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia).

    The early autumn is also a good time to observe spider species, particularly when…

    • 2 Oct 2013
  • Wednesday Work Party - Back to Business!

    Whilst the Wednesday Work Party has continued it's good works throughout the summer months, our meetings have been fewer and our tasks constrained by the breeding season.

    After a glorious summer and with autumn looming large, we're now back to our regular fortnightly meetings.  The first of these on the 11th September, was at least dry and warm, and we welcomed Wednesday Stalwarts - Brian, Dave, Gareth and Michael…

    • 17 Sep 2013
  • Froglets and Fungi

    The ‘changeable’ weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the dozen-or-so nature enthusiasts keen to learn what wildlife Tudeley Woods had to offer. Led by the very knowledgeable Ian Bevis from Tunbridge Wells Museum, the group followed the woodland trail around the Brakeybank area of Tudeley Woods.

    Here are some of the species we found:

    Berries of guelder rose (Viburnum opulus). An important source…

    • 9 Sep 2013
  • Springtime at Tudeley! (in pictures)

    An early purple orchid (Orchis mascula), caught by the morning sunlight on the edge of our recently cleared and increasingly verdant High Voltage ride.

    Common dog violet (Viola riviniana). This species likes the partial shade found at a wood’s edge or light-dappled glade. It is the most important larval food plant of the pearl bordered fritillary – a declining butterfly species.

    Cuckooflower (Cardamine…

    • 30 Apr 2013
  • Hazel fence weaving

    After roughly 12 months of non-stop freezing rain, Sunday at Tudeley felt like the azores. The sun shone for most of the day and the rain was brief and mild. According to the Met Office, it reached 21 degrees! And as our skin worked overtime to stock up on vitamin D for the coming 12 months, our muscles too worked hard coppicing hazel at the intersection of Brakey Bank main ride and the new High Voltage ride. We were working…

    • 15 Apr 2013
  • Bog or Mire

    On Wednesday our volunteers helped clear invading birch scrub and Rhododendron saplings from our valley mire.  This started the discussion (mainly by Alison) of whether it was a bog or a mire.  In reality it can be both, since a bog is a type of mire!  Wikipedia says 'A bog is a mire that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, Sphagnum moss.'

    This unique…

    • 28 Mar 2013
  • Orchids, voles and smokey holes

    As we approached the end of the ride, clearing as we went, its character changed: the ground was dryer and more level and there was more light as the finger of wood we were working in narrowed and opened out onto a field. The brash covering the ground also became more sparse. All this meant that there was a lot more ground flora; there was a wide variety of plants in their overwintering and flowerless state that I, with…

    • 28 Feb 2013
  • Diversity benefits butterflies and bees

    The last two work parties (Sunday and Wednesday) involved more ride clearance under the high voltage power lines. When the spring sunshine reaches the bare ground we've uncovered it will spark the germination of wildflowers that will provide a rich nectar source for invertebrates such as the silver-washed fritillary and the rare fringe-horned mason bee; this solitary bee is only found at a handful of sites in the south…

    • 31 Jan 2013
  • Location, Location, Location

    Our Wednesday Work Party met with frosty conditions and fog that persisted for most of the day.

    Luckily we had a physical task in mind to get the blood pumping. Our plan was to collect the brash and log wood remaining after clearance work beneath a further section of power lines and to convert the material into a number of mansion sized habitat piles. These will provide vital shelter for invertebrates and small mammals…

    • 17 Jan 2013
  • A Win-Win for Technology and Wildlife

    Our volunteers have cleared a vast swathe underneath the High Voltage power lines on the Green and White nature trails.  This will encourage woodland flowers such as primrose, bugle and violet to germinate.  In the Spring this sunny bank will be rich with flowers.  This will help bees, butterflies and other insects, which in turn will help birds.

    Keeping this sunny bank open for wildlife also benefits the electricity co…

    • 31 Dec 2012
  • Four Go Wild In Wellies: Part Two!

    Another day was spent at Decoy pond, with a slightly altered group of four: Alison and Keith were replaced by Joe and Me, and lucky for us the rain was also replaced with sunshine! Needless to say, lots of work was done and a sterling effort from the volunteers meant that the vegetation that was obscuring the view from that path was removed, opening up the area and letting lots more light in (as can be seen in the before…

    • 14 Dec 2012
  • Four Go Wild In Wellies

    Our Wednesday work party this week took us to pastures new.  We are now clearing the overgrown pond near Decoy Cottage.

    We were a little concerned by the heavy rain upon meeting, but our work location was thankfully in a tree sheltered valley.

    Having slashed through the ankle biting brambles to give safe passage to our brash pile, we moved onto the pond margins.  Our aim was to collect lying wood; remove saplings and size…

    • 22 Nov 2012
  • Please vote for the RSPB Weald Reserves volunteers

    Our Broadwater Warren and Tudeley Woods volunteers have been short-listed for an award in the Kent and Sussex Courier and Chronicle newspapers annual Heart of the Community competition - http://cmgheart2012.nmgl.co.uk/vote.  Our 50 volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds – the youngest is 15 and the oldest approaching 70 - and contribute over 3000 hours of their own time each year. Here are some photos of them…

    • 15 Nov 2012
  • Fairy bonnets and sulphur tufts at Tudeley woods

    There was a brilliant turnout for the fungus walk at Tudeley Woods last Saturday - more than Martin and I were expecting, but it was great to see so many people taking an interest in the fungal delights of autumn. It was a pretty good turnout by the fungi as well and we were barely out of the Carpark when we found a Rosy Bonnet (Mycena rosea, see below). This lovely little species is in a genus called Mycena, which is a…

    • 22 Oct 2012