The woodland in summer
Life in the woods follows gentle seasonal rhythms from dusk to dawn. The long days of summer can improve your chances of encountering wildlife, hearing whirring insects or an evening chorus of birds. Spot vivid flashes of colour, from the profusion of wildflowers to sunning butterflies.
With the lengthening of the days in summer you're more likely to spot a greater variety of wildlife: foxes venture out in daylight, driven by the need to feed their young and morning's are best for admiring butterflies as them bask in the sun, warming themseves before flight.
The longer drawn out evenigs reveal deer, badgers and stoats as they emerge from their daytime resting places. Even nocturnal tawny owls may be spotted on a summer evening, out hunting to feed hungry mouths.
Sounds of summer
Subtler than the famous dawn chorus is the evening chorus which is less intense but equally enchanting. You can hear it as birds prepare to roost, one by one falling silent in a reverse of the morning crescendo, with the robin often left the last to sing.
As light fades, bush crickets chirp from bramble thickets and maybugs fly to feed on tree foliage. Many of the flying insects are a great food source for bats that whizz among the trees and across the surface of the lake.
In late spring we had heavy horses clearing Douglas Fir that had been felled along a woodland ride. The area is home to the uncommon ivy leaved bell-flower Wahlenbergia hederacea, which has decreased in number, battling for light and water with nearby conifers. We couldn't risk damaging these sensitive plants by using heavy machinery so it was time to call in the horses. The horses took it all in their stride and this remarkable project supports the heavy horse's role in the working woodland where conservation is key.
The woodland team of volunteers skilfully produce charcoal using traditional methods and timber that's a by-product of the woodland work we do and coppicing. All the proceeds from the sale of charcoal are reinvested in the ongoing management of the woodland. Buying a bag of our charcoal for your barbeques this summer means that not only are you directly supporting the work we do in the woodland but you're buying local. Charcoal is available from the shop.