Badger, bats and beech nuts

Den at Staveley Woodlands © Danni Chalmers

August has been a busy month, with the school holidays in full swing the woodlands have been visited by many intrepid explorers.

One of the many amazing things about Staveley Woodlands is the feeling of adventure it instils in everyone; there have been lot of new dens created on these woodland quests around Craggy Wood and Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood.

Den at Staveley Woodlands

Den at Staveley Woodlands © Danni Chalmers

I have hosted two family bug hunts during the last four weeks, both of which were well attended by local families despite the weather being torrential. Also, I’ve put together a kids 'Things to find in Staveley Woodlands' sheet that will be available to download from the website soon. 

I have mainly been recording the mammal activity in the woodlands this month, by trying to capture the adventures of the resident badgers, deer and foxes on a trail cam, so far I haven’t been successful just lots of pictures of an unidentifiable blur but I will persevere and hopefully get some good images soon. 

Deer footprints at Staveley Woodlands

Deer footprints at Staveley Woodlands © Danni Chalmers

As well as the four legged mammals, I’ve also been looking at the bat population too. There is a very healthy group of bats with three species recorded so far: the common pipistrelle, noctules and brown long eared, some of which are residing in old trees and some who just come to feed on the insects under the tree canopy. It really is an amazing place to be in an evening, well worth a night-time visit to listen to the owls and watch the bats swooping overhead. 

Staveley Woodlands at night

Staveley Woodlands at night © Danni Chalmers

The woodland is really laden with fruit and nuts this year with branches of the big old beech trees in Craggy Wood bowing under the weight of their beech nuts.  The floor is also scattered with an abundance of windblown hazel; a quick meal for passing squirrels or mice.  The rowan trees are almost glowing red on sunny days when the light hits the berries.

Rowan berries at Staveley Woodlands

Rowan berries at Staveley Woodlands © Danni Chalmers

If you would like to join me and see what is going on in the woods I have a few events and conservation days coming up in the coming months so please take a look at our events listing on the website.

Until next month,
Danni Chalmers, Staveley Woodlands Officer