Our Woodland Work at The Firs
Over the past year our Gardener Dawne and her team of volunteers have been working hard on creating a woodland habitat at The Firs.
With the help of a team of qualified tree surgeons the dead trees in the area were cut down. We ensured that all dangerous overhanging branches were removed and a beautiful clearing emerged. Larger limbs were cut into stumps to create seats then the smaller straight branches were broken down and made into drumsticks for our wooden musical instruments in the sound garden. All the small brash was chipped and kept on site and used as a base for the walkway for the children. Come and feel how spongy it is to walk on.
The dead willow tree in the centre of the clearing was assessed as safe and could be used as a habitat. The Ivy covering the willow is a wonderful habitat for insects and birds.
Alongside the Ivy we have Holly both produce berries for the birds in the winter as well as our Elderberry and Damsons on the surrounding trees.
Our nearby birdfeeders are always topped up with a variety of different foods like fat balls and Niger seeds. Dawne also hangs apple strings between the trees to make sure there is always enough for our birds to eat.
In summer the stinging nettles that surround the woodland clearing are the Red Admiral caterpillar’s favourite find.
By opening up the woodland floor to the daylight, it’s prompted new seedlings and saplings to grow – it’s also a perfect environment for toadstools.
The ground litter is full of beetles too, which our local Robins love.
A variety of different bird boxes were placed around The Firs including the woodland which allows visitors to sit and to listen to the birds tweeting and chattering all year round. In the summer time you can hear the Birch trees sway and talk.
" The trees are singing my music - or have I sung theirs?"
Dawne and House Steward Joe created a Hedgehog house by recycling timber furniture then covering it in foliage and logs to create an inviting home. We make sure the inside has plenty of warm and dry bedding and when we see signs of the bedding being disturbed we know that it is being used.
The Firs is home to two bug hotels, a large one by the cottage and a smaller more boutique hotel in the woodland itself. Again it was created from recycled drawers and broken terracotta pots providing a varied habitat for many creepy crawlies.
Another wonderful habitat for over wintering insects was recently constructed - our ‘Dead hedge’, Dawne with her volunteer gardeners placed stakes into the ground creating a space between then fed cut branches in between and weaved them creating the hedge.
The woodland and its surrounding area is a really a hive of activity, so come and enjoy this calming space in view of Elgar’s cottage all year round and explore the wonders of the outdoors.