When we were roaming free

When we were roaming free

Danielle Chalmers 

I hope this blog finds you all well. Today I am writing to you from my garden “office” accompanied by my children and dogs. I am missing working in Staveley Woodlands, and sad I am not watching it spring forth with life at this wonderful time of year. Hopefully we will all be back out there soon, enjoying the reserve and back to working hard on our conservation days.

I had lots of events planned over the coming months about appreciating and learning about what’s around us. My plan is to now do a video version that you can watch at home, and maybe join in from your gardens.


I am sat here reminiscing in the sunshine on my Staveley Woodlands activities over the last two months and ironically how cold and wet they were! Throughout February and early March we faced some seriously challenging stormy weather, but the amazing volunteers always turnout for our Conservation Days in the woods and the tree nursery and we got lots of jobs accomplished.

One dreary day in February we identified all the boundary walls that need repairing in Craggy Wood and managed to stock-proof most, and re-build one before being almost washed down the hill by the rain.    


© Danielle Chalmers 

I managed to get a lovely (but still rather wet) day out with some of the amazing students from Staveley CofE School. We went to explore Dorothy Farrer’s Wood. We were mainly looking for different mosses and lichens, but we found lots of other interesting things too, like wobbly jelly ear fungus which the kids all found fun. We used small hand lenses and ID guides to try and identify the different things we found and spoke a lot about the importance of Atlantic Woodlands.

The tree nursery is going well, with all our little trees growing well and showing signs of life now it's spring. Hopefully all of you who are growing trees at home for the project are seeing growth too. In these dry spells please make sure any potted trees you have are getting a good water every now and again. Do remember to refrain from giving any plant food though, as this will affect the tree in later life.  


© Danielle Chalmers 

As we have missed out on a couple of fun events already at Staveley Woodlands, I thought I might add a couple of ideas you can do at home in your garden or yard, if you aren’t  too busy gardening that is.

How many birds visit your garden? Spend 10 minutes a day for the next 5 days and watch the birds who visit your garden, what activities are they doing: eating, drinking, collecting nesting supplies? Keep a note on your calendar or in a diary and check back next year to see if you have the same visitors.

Garden wildlife can be fascinating and abundant.  You could start to record all the wildlife you find in your garden, from birds to bugs, and millipedes to moths. If you don’t have much wildlife around you could think about how to add more to your garden to help attract more: plant pollinator friendly plants and put up feeders, then next year check your records to see how much your garden has improved.

Hopefully we will all be out and about soon, and I can see you all on events and conservation days, but for now keep an eye on our website and social media accounts for updates and wildlife stories from around the county. 

Till next time,