Last week saw a visit from the Higham Wood Scout and Guide group, including members of the 17th Tonbridge air Scouts as well as the 12th and 13th Guides. The young people took part in wide games before lighting a fire and completing the evening with sparklers. Great to see so many scouts and guides at the wood. 🔥 … See MoreSee Less
Whilst waiting for their fire to settle enough to cook on Cubs from the 6th took part in some natural art, using leaves and sticks to create pictures on the tables. The team really like this idea, and the best bit…… very little clearing up afterwards! … See MoreSee Less
For those of you who follow this blog will be aware the team has posted loads over the years about fungi. Well it’s that time of year when they can be seen all over the woods again. We won’t post individually this year but all of these species were found on one recent visit to the wood! We are confident there many more species present at this time only we didn’t spot them on a quick walk about the facility. … See MoreSee Less
Recently beavers from the 11th (Paddock Wood) visited the wood, for some outdoors fun including fires and marshmallows. Fantastic to see young people from our youngest section learning skills that will stay with them for life. We wonder how many marshmallows have been consumed at the woods…….. or for that matter by Scouts (of all ages) per year across the Uk! … See MoreSee Less
A while back the team created some wooden angels to use as training aids particularly with our youngest members, these were a lot lighter that the metal versions but unfortunately weren’t durable enough.Despite being created from a laminate, they snapped at the neck. Well the team have come up with another solution and have 3d printed some trial ones, a huge thanks to Ben for his work on this project. We have tried them in the range and they work well, so we look forward to seeing how the young people take to them. … See MoreSee Less
Recently the team ran their Native American Indian Braves training day, with beavers from the 2nd Tonbridge and their leaders taking part in a tracking trail, tomahawk throwing, themed games and marshmallows in the morning. In the afternoon we were joined by young people from the 6th Colony for similar activities. The day is loud, with plenty of war cry’s, face paint and excited beavers, thanks to Martin and Billy for delivering a fantastic experience. … See MoreSee Less
Over the summer the team has taken a break and we haven’t posted. With Scout groups also taking a break from activities it’s been pretty quiet at our facility. During this period the team has continued with the regular vegetation maintenance, and also replaced the floor in the brown storage container, as it had unfortunately rotted away over the years. With scouting restarting the bookings are popping up which is fantastic, don’t forget to send us any pictures that we can use to keep this blog ticking over! … See MoreSee Less
This species of moth is associated with native pine woodlands as the caterpillars like to feed on Scot’s pine, Spruce,Larch and Corsican Pine, all species that can be found in the compartments of horse pasture woods. ‘Caterpillars can be seen between June and October and pupae overwinter on the ground amongst conifer needles’ (butterfly conservation.org). This common moth has a wingspan of 34-40mm. It is ’a sexually dimorphic species, the males having a white or yellow ground colour, bordered with black, and the females a more subdued variation of the pattern, in yellowish and brown. The yellow form tends to occur in the south, the white forms further north, but there is some gradation.’ (Ukmoths.org.uk) … See MoreSee Less
This easily recognisable butterfly is very common throughout the Uk, and has made its home in many different habitats, so it’s not surprising that it is found at Cart Wood. It typically has a wingspan of 67-72mm classing it as a large butterfly. ‘This butterfly is primarily a migrant to our shores, although sightings of individuals and immature stages in the first few months of the year, especially in the south of England, mean that this butterfly is now considered resident. This resident population is considered to only be a small fraction of the population seen in the British Isles, which gets topped up every year with migrants arriving in May and June that originate in central Europe. Unfortunately, most individuals are unable to survive our winter, especially in the cooler regions of the British Isles.’ (Ukbutterflies.co.uk) Caterpillars generally feed on nettles, certainly a plant in plentiful supply at our facility! ‘Eggs are laid singly on the upper surface of young common nettle leaves. With the summer warmth, these can hatch in a about a week. The young caterpillar will make a small tent at the base of the leaf. As the caterpillar grows, it makes larger and more conspicuous tents, before finally pupating, suspended from the roof of a tent.’ (Bto.org) Adults feed on flower nectar, buddleia being a favoured source, although they have also been recorded feeding in rotting fruit in the Autumn.
‘The name ‘red admiral’ apparently comes from a corruption of the original 18th-century name ‘red admirable’. We like the French name for it too: Le Vulcain, meaning the Vulcan, the god of fire, which particularly includes the fire created by volcanoes, conjuring up the orangey scarlet flames against the inky black igneous rocks – wonderfully describing the admiral’s colouration!’ (Gwct.org.uk) When this insect closes its wings the underside had a tortoiseshell colouration which allows it to camouflage itself well against a wide range of backgrounds. … See MoreSee Less
Spotted recently at the wood this small butterfly is dark and drab compared to some of our other native butterflies, which of course helps it blend into its environment. ‘The dark colouring also allows this butterfly to quickly warm up – this butterfly being one of the few that flies on overcast days.’ ( ukbutterflies.co.uk) ‘the Ringlet has a velvety appearance and is almost black, with a white fringe to the wings. The small circles on the underwings, which give the butterfly its name, vary in number and size and maybe enlarged and elongated or reduced to small white spots; occasionally they lack the black ring.’ ( butterfly conservation.org) this small butterfly has a wingspan that ranges from 42-52mm with males being larger. This species ‘is commonly found along woodland rides, edges and hedgerows, and on damp grassland from June to August. The adults prefer bramble and wild privet flowers as nectar sources and can be seen flying with a characteristic bobbing movement even on dull days.’ (Wildlife trusts.org) It is a common and widespread species. ‘Did you know?……… The female ringlet lays her eggs by perching on a grass stem and ejecting them into the air so that they land on nearby vegetation. After two to three weeks, the eggs hatch and the caterpillars emerge. The larvae are nocturnal and undergo four moults before pupating.’ (wildlife trusts.org) … See MoreSee Less
‘A large fast flying butterfly, separated from other fritillaries by its pointed wings and silver streaks on the undersides which can be viewed as it stops to feed on flowers such as Bramble.’ (Butterfly-conservation.org.uk) This brightly coloured butterfly is the largest in the fritillary family, with a wingspan of 72-76mm. ‘The male has four distinctive black veins on its forewings that contain special "androconial" scales that are used in courtship.The female is paler than the male, has rounder wings and more-prominent spots.’ (Ukbutterflues.co.uk) This species caterpillar likes to feed on common dog violet, and the developed adults feed on nectar including flowers of bramble and thistle, all of which are prevalent at Cart Wood. ‘Silver-washed fritillaries are found in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but are absent from Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. They live in oak woodland or woodlands with sunny rides and glades. Occasionally, the butterflies use mixed broadleaved and conifer plantations. In parts of South West England and Ireland, wooded hedgerows and sheltered lanes next to woods are used.’ (Woodlandtrust.org.uk) … See MoreSee Less
Or to give it is full name the European peacock, but more commonly known simply as the peacock butterfly, is a colourful butterfly, found in Europe and temperate Asia as far east as Japan. ‘The Peacock's spectacular pattern of eyespots evolved to startle or confuse predators, make it one of the most easily recognized and best-known species. It is from these wing markings that the butterfly gained its common name.’ (Butterfly-conservation.org.uk) the underside of the wings are much darker and plain in order to mimic a dead leaf, when closed the butterfly uses this camouflage itself amongst its habitat. ‘It is one of the commonest garden butterflies, found throughout lowland England and Wales. It is rarer in Scotland. In May, after mating, females lay their eggs in batches of up to 500. After a week or two the caterpillars hatch and spin a communal web in which they live and feed. They pupate alone, and adults emerge from July. The main priority is to feed-up before the winter hibernation in dark crevices, sheds and tree holes. ‘(rspb.org.uk). … See MoreSee Less
The small white has bright white wings, with grey/black tips, with one or two black wing spots. Common across the Uk, it also known as the cabbage white, along with its larger cousin the large white, which is due to the damage it does as a caterpillar to Cabbage plants. Often seen flying between April and October, it is one of the most widespread species of British butterflies. ‘It is believed that this butterfly can fly up to 100 miles in its lifetime although, undoubtedly, most butterflies will only travel a mile or two. Evidence of the mobility of this species comes from a misguided introduction in Melbourne in 1939. 3 years after its introduction, the species had reached the west coast of Australia some 1,850 miles away in only 25 generations. This species has been a pest in the continent ever since.’ (Ukbutterflies.org.uk) ‘There are usually two generations of small whites in a year, but if the weather is warm, there can be up to three broods over the spring and summer. Adults of the first brood tend to have lighter markings than those of the summer broods.’ (Wildlifetrusts.org.uk) … See MoreSee Less
Recently we posted about the brimstone butterfly, well by chance we spotted this brimstone moth on the side of our container. Moths and butterflies are very difficult to get photos of as they don’t stay still for long, but this moth clearly wanted to be identified! ‘The brimstone moth is a medium-sized, mainly night-flying moth that is on the wing between April and October when it frequently comes to light in the garden. It can also be found in woodland, scrub and grassland habitats.’ (Wildlifetrusts.org) ‘An unmistakable yellow moth with chestnut-brown markings on the tips and along the leading edge of the forewings. They also have a white crescent or dash near to the leading forewing edge.’ (Butterfly-conservation.org) These moths are generally spotted between April and October, and their bright colours make them easy to spot. The caterpillars of these moths feed mainly in hawthorn, blackthorn and rowan, all species found in Cart/ Horse Pasture woods. These are also species that we have been planting lots of whips of during our hedge planting project, so will produce a good food source for the brimstone moth in the future. … See MoreSee Less
The Big Butterfly count starts on Friday 15th July and runs until Sunday 7th August. Go to the following web-site and download a butterfly spotting chart. Spend 15 minutes outside and count the number of butterflies and moths that you see. Then log onto the web-site and register your counts. You can do as many counts as you like during the time period. Get spotting. bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org
Over the next few weeks we will be posting about some of the species of butterfly found at Cart Wood, and how we can all help to increase the numbers of these amazing insects 🦋 … See MoreSee Less
Recently Low Weald Explorers visited Cart wood, and constructed a traditional scout alter fire, using some of the left over chestnut poles from coppicing. Great to pass on these skills to the young people. … See MoreSee Less
‘King Alfred’s cakes look like hard, roundish lumps of coal stuck to the surface of decaying wood. The older they get, the darker they become. They don’t rot away quickly but can remain on deadwood for years.’ (Woodland trust.org.uk) Found typically on ash but also beech trees, widespread across the uk and inedible. For nature these can provide habitats for small invertebrates for example developing caterpillars.
But why the name? ‘King Alfred lived in the 9th century when parts of Britain had been overrun by Vikings. Trying to escape them, he took refuge in the home of a peasant woman who asked him to watch over her cakes, baking by the fire. He let them burn and was scolded by the woman for his negligence. It is said that embarrassed and ashamed, he scattered the cakes to get rid of the evidence. As the fungus looks like small, burnt cakes, especially as they get older, the name King Alfred’s cakes went into common use.’ (Woodlandtrust.org.uk)
You said this fungi had a difference! Well from a scouting point of view this small fungus is fantastic! It can be used to catch a spark when using friction fire lighting techniques, and once lit dependant in size will smoulder for some time. When lit they can be used to transport a fire thus saving the need to use a bow and drill each time. They can also be used as briquettes to cook food, and don’t produce smoke, a fuel used by soldiers wishing to avoid detection!
These pictures weren’t actually taken at the wood, and we haven’t spotted this one at the facility yet, but we came across it on our travels and thought it an interesting fungi to post about. It is very widespread so we would surprised if it isn’t at Cart, we just haven’t found it yet! … See MoreSee Less
So often we concentrate on the big flashy bird, or large mammal, that it’s good to consider some of the smaller residents of the wood, who you could argue form a more important role in the complex webs of this ecosystem.
Most of us can remember looking under rocks at beaver age and seeing these small grey/black critters scurrying away from the light. ‘The common woodlouse has smooth, shiny, grey 'armour' (an exoskeleton made up of segments or 'plates')’ (wildlifetrusts.org) but who knew that there are actually 30 different species of woodlouse in the U.K. which range from dark brown to pink in colour. ‘Woodlice are actually terrestrial crustaceans, not insects, so are more closely related to crabs and shrimps.’(wildlife trusts.org) Woodlice play a vital role by eat decaying plant and leaf matter, releasing valuable nutrients and compounds back into the soil. Also forming a prey species for centipedes, spiders, frogs and toads. When threatened by predators, woodlice use their extremely flexible exoskeleton to role up into a ball, protecting their soft underparts. They are generally about 1cm in length, and have an average lifespan of 2 years. There are over 3000 species globally and they have been found to inhabit nearly every environmental except for polar or desert habitats. They are a truly ancient species with,‘ the oldest fossils of woodlice are known from the mid-Cretaceous (around 100 million years ago)’(Wikipedia). … See MoreSee Less
Recently the team planted the final whips from the latest batch of trees. Through this project young people of all ages from across the district have planted over 1600 young trees at our facility. We now have trees lining the whole of the western boundary of the compartment as well as from the corner with Clarence wood, along to the edge of the parking area. In addition there is a double line planted around the range edge. Unfortunately not all of these whips will survive, and we may need to ‘patch in’ any gaps that appear in the future. Thanks to the woodlands trust for giving our young people the resources to take part in this project. 🌳 … See MoreSee Less
The Low Weald explorers visited recently to help out with some maintenance work. Their leaders felt they had enjoyed using the facility lots, and wanted to give something back. Being a warm day we asked the explorers to get some wellies on and help us clear debris from the stream. This will help the flow of water later in the year when the weather changes. They did really well, even finding a ‘land mine’ which on closer inspection turned out to be some scrap metal which caused quite a laugh amongst the leaders and young people! Afterwards the explorers started preparing some materials for an alter fire project they hope to create during their next visit. Thanks for you hard work! … See MoreSee Less
Last week saw the return of the 6th Tonbridge (Hadlow) Scouts, on their second of a two week rotation. Some young people continued the tree planting project for us, whilst the other half practiced their axe and saw skills whilst filling these unique bug huts! 🐜 🐛 🐞 … See MoreSee Less
Last week saw a visit from the 8th Tonbridge (Hildenborough) Cubs, who practiced their fire lighting skills in the coppice area. What better use of a fire than to toast some marshmallows. We hope you had fun and look forward to your visit next time. … See MoreSee Less
Last weekend saw explorers from Low Weald and Central combine for the evening and overnight at the wood. Both units are attending the Kent International Jamboree in a few weeks time, so this was an opportunity for the young people to get to know each other. The explorers started off their visit with some service work, weeding and re mulching the whips on the Western boundary, before building shelters to sleep under overnight. One group used the fort, positioning their tarpaulins over the walls and tower, and another some of the large hemlocks in the middle clearing. The Cart team were really pleased to see young people camping in the fort as this was one of the purposes they had hoped it would be used for. … See MoreSee Less
Ladybird larvae (coccinella sp) (This picture is Coccinella septempunctata)
Most readers will be familiar with the common ladybird,(also known as ladybugs, or lady beetles) and we wrote a post a while back about the many different species native to the Uk. However, many of you like ourselves may well be unaware of their life cycle. A ladybird goes through 4 stages in its lifecycle, egg, larvae, pups and adult. Adult mating normal occurs between April and early May. ‘The eggs are bright yellow, about 1mm long, and are laid on the underside of leaves. They only take about one week to hatch.’ (uksafari.com) ‘The larvae vary in colour and markings. Many are grey with mottled spots but yellow, buff or brown larvae are also found. A larva sheds its skin four times over a 3-6 week period, before attaching itself to a leaf or stem and becoming a pupa.’ (BBC.co.uk) Larvae are serious eaters, in the two weeks it takes to become fully grown, a single larva can consume 350 to 400 aphids. 4th in-star Larvae also feed on other soft-bodied plant pests as well, including scale insects, mites, and insect eggs, including other ladybug eggs. In its pupal stage, the ladybug is usually yellow or orange with black markings. The pupa remains still, attached to a leaf, throughout this stage. The ladybug's body undergoes a remarkable transformation, similar to that of caterpillars/ butterflies and is called metamorphosis. This is controlled by special cells called histoblasts, which control a biochemical process through which the larval body is broken down and reformed into the adult ladybug. This can take between 7 and 15 days. ‘The adult ladybird emerges from this pupa with very soft wing cases and is often very pale in colour. The ladybird will develop full colours and harden up in about 24 hours. Young adult ladybirds of 7-spot ladybirds (as well as other ladybirds with red colours) are often more of an orange/red which deepens to a dark blood red as the ladybird ages.’ (Ladybirdchallenge.co.uk)
Thanks to Charles Nicholls for this picture which was taken just outside the wood, however later we also spotted them at our facility. … See MoreSee Less
This black spider grows up to 16mm (female) and 12mm (male) and can be found all year round across the Uk. ‘Black Lace Weavers have a dark brown coloured body, and the abdomen has pale yellow-brown areas giving it a marbled appearance. The males are similar, but generally smaller and slimmer than the females.’ (Uksafari.com) This species is commonly found under stones or logs, and has a funnel shaped web. We disturbed this one whilst clearing some fallen timber. ‘A. ferox prefers to lay its webs on vertical surfaces, and the species most often creates a tangled mesh of threads surrounding a circular retreat leading into a crevice. When the web is newly spun, it is extremely sticky and has a lace-like appearance and faint blue color. The web is most often spun at night due to the species' nocturnal activity, but they are known to respond to any insect prey that gets stuck in the web during any time of day.’ (Inaturalist.org) This species is matriphagous, which means the mother sacrifices herself as food for her spiderlings. ‘First, the mother undergoes a three week incubation period during which she stays within extremely close proximity of her egg sac. At the end of the incubation period, the mother breaks open the egg sac allowing her 40 to 135 spiderlings to emerge into the world. Within their first few days of emerging, the mother lays trophic eggs for her offspring to consume. At the end of their first week, the spiderlings begin to molt, and finally, 1 or 2 days later when the molting process is complete, the spiderlings cannibalise their mother.’ (Inaturalist.org) Spiders aren’t everybody’s favourite animal, however at the wood like all species they form part of the complex web of predators and prey species, which keep our facility in balance. … See MoreSee Less
Last week saw a combined evening of the Central Explorer Unit and the 6th Tonbridge Scouts. The young people played stratego, a wide game based on capture the flag, but with an added element of ranks, giving them the opportunity to win without actually finding their opponents flag. The 6th feed into the central unit so it was good for the older scouts to meet the explorers, and to see some old faces again. Evenings like this will hopefully retain our young people as they move between sections. Apologies for the lack of pictures of the young people, we were too busy having fun! … See MoreSee Less
We saw some bright yellow butterflies in the top clearing recently, and are not 100% sure if our identification because they were moving quickly and we were unable to catch an image of them at rest. However one of the only Uk species of this colour, we are confident we spotted Brimstone butterflies. ‘The male brimstone is the only large, lemon-yellow butterfly in the UK, so is unmistakeable. The female is cream-coloured and can be confused with other butterflies such as the large white, although the brimstone has no black on its wings.’ (Woodlandtrust.org.uk) they have a wingspan of 6-7.5cm and are commonly found throughout the uk. ‘They can be found in damp woodlands, along sunny, woodland rides and mature hedgerows, and in large gardens.’ (Lancswt.org.uk)
Brimstone butterflies have a slightly different lifecycle to most butterflies, which is why they are some of the first to be seen each spring. ‘Brimstone adults emerge in late summer. They hibernate through the winter and emerge the following spring, often as early as late March, though with a peak in April and May. They breed, lay their eggs and die. Their caterpillars may be found through the midsummer months and pupate in late July and August, shortly before emerging as the next generation of adults.’ (Norfolkwildlifetrusts.org.uk) Butterflies form part of the complex web of food chains at the wood, and are preyed upon by a variety of mammals, birds, spiders and other insects. … See MoreSee Less
Last year we posted about a lot of spring flowers found at Cart so this year it has been much harder to find any new ones!
‘This widespread plant lives happily in many different habitats, including woodland, grassland, heathland, hedgerows and old pasture. It flowers from April to June, but its flowers are not scented’ (wildlifetrusts.org). ‘Dog violets are small ground covering species growing up to 15cm in height. The Leaves are heart-shaped and dark green in colour. Their flowers have five purple petals that overlap each other slightly, with a white centre.’ (Woodlandtrust.org.uk) ‘It is a key food source for five of Britain's most threatened butterflies: pearl-bordered fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary, high brown fritillary, silver-washed fritillary and dark green fritillary.’ (plantlife.org.uk) … See MoreSee Less
Tents in the wood again! Recently the Tonbridge District Bronze Duke of Edinburgh teams used the wood as their overnight base, as part of their two day practice expedition. The explorers hiked to the facility before setting up tents and cooking their meals on trangias. After overnighting the young people packed up and continued their expedition, carrying all of their equipment. … See MoreSee Less
Trees and bugs- recently scouts from the 6th Tonbridge visited Cart wood to help plant some more trees as part of the ongoing natural hedging project, as well as constructing some novel bug hotels. The scouts split into two groups and alternated over two weeks. The bug hotels were a great way to teach the young people about safe handling of axes, knives and saws whilst having a practical project for them to work towards. … See MoreSee Less
The facility has been really busy of late, and it was great to welcome The 3rd Tonbridge Scouts to the range recently for an evening session. The young people had not been tomahawk throwing before so the team enjoyed introducing the throwing techniques, before playing some accuracy games with them with both the flying angels and tomahawks. By the end of the session all of the young people had ’stuck’ something, including their leaders! Thanks Billy for helping to instruct. … See MoreSee Less
Some more pictures from the latest American Native Indian Braves training day, with beavers from the 8th (Hildenborough) a couple of weekends back. Thanks to Lorna for assisting with their training! … See MoreSee Less
Last week the cubs from the 6th Tonbridge pack had their meeting at the wood. The young people split into two groups, alternating between planting some trees alongside the access track and having some fun in the range with tomahawks. Thanks for you help with our ongoing tree planting project. … See MoreSee Less
An unexpected species to spot at the wood, as not really a wetland environment, we spotted a male and female pair of these dabbling ducks, just the other side of our boundary in Clarence Wood on a small natural pond beyond the whips that have been recently planted.
‘The mallard is a large and heavy looking duck. It has a long body, and a long and broad bill. The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill.’ (RSPB.org.uk) They have a varied diet, from nuts and seeds to plants and insects. ‘Mallards usually nest on the ground, often in dense undergrowth beside lakes and streams. They will also nest in holes in trees, sometimes well above ground level.’ (First-nature.com) ‘Mallards start to pair up in October and November, and start to nest in March.’ (RSPB.org.uk) so there is every chance the pair we saw may be nesting, which could result in ducklings in the wood! This species is on the amber list meaning it’s not the highest conservation priority but the species is in decline. … See MoreSee Less
Last weekend saw a visit from the 8th (Hildenborough) beavers, who took part in the Native American Indian Braves training activity- some tracking through the woods following a trail and of cause some tomahawk throwing! … See MoreSee Less
It’s getting to that time of year again, the days are getting longer and warmer, and the woods are awakening. We have already spotted some frogspawn in the waterways, so it was no surprise to hear the familiar sound of a bumblebee.
These large yellow and black invertebrate pollinators are a common sight but what do we really know about these animals?
‘They are social insects, living in colonies of up to 200 workers. Queens hibernate underground during the winter, emerging in spring to find suitable nest sites – for example, abandoned mouse holes. Each queen builds a nest of dried grasses and then lays about a dozen eggs that hatch into workers – sterile females. The workers gather pollen and nectar to feed later batches of grubs. New queens and males hatch at the end of the season and mate. The males, workers and old queens die; new queens hibernate.’ (RSPB.org.uk) You may be surprised to read that there are 25 different species of bumblebee in the Uk and and over 250 species worldwide, identification starts with the colour of colour of their tail. ‘Bumblebees fall into three rough groups based on tail colour: white-tailed (includes off-white to yellow), red-tailed, and ‘uniform-tailed’ bees, where the tail is the same colour as the rest of the abdomen (usually ginger).’ (bumblebeeconservation.org) A really good identification guide can be found at www.bumblebeeconservation.org/bumblebee-species-guide/ if you wish to look into these further. ‘Bumblebees evolved in the Himalayas around 35 million years ago, and all species are quite closely related.’ (Blooms Forbes.co.uk)
Bumblebee numbers are in decline and the reasons are simple. Bees feed exclusively on pollen and nectar, and there are far fewer flowers in the countryside than there once were. ‘Hedges and marshland have disappeared and unimproved grasslands, which are rich in wild flowers have been almost entirely swept away, replaced by silage and cereal fields. Gardens now provide a valuable flower-rich refuge and as a result have become a stronghold for some bumblebee species.’ (canalrivertrust.org.uk) ‘Pesticide use is also contributing to the problem, particularly new generations of systemic, persistent insecticides called neonicotinoids that get into nectar and pollen of both flowering crops and wildflowers.’ (Woodlands.co.uk) Cart Woods can form an important resource for bumblebees with lots of old or disused holes on the woodland floor, and standing deadwood with crevices and holes can be used by these species as nest sites. Our tree stock and woodland flora, bluebells, willow catkins, hawthorn, bramble, bugle, and ground ivy all provide a valuable nectar food source, alongside some of the many wild flowers found in our facility. … See MoreSee Less
A big thank you to Tonbridge Guides for the donation of these two bbqs. We have plans to install a cooking area near the fire area. These grills will be ideal for a quick sausage sizzle or those occasions when there isn’t time to light a fire and wait for embers to cook on. We look forward to installing them properly. Thanks! 🙂 … See MoreSee Less
Frequent in Southern Britain, this saprophytic mushroom is often seen between July and November. We spotted these all over the woods, near the range and the central clearing. This mushroom is found growing singularly as well as in clumps, and is often recorded in woodland clearings, pasture and even on sand dunes. The cap is ‘initially spherical and pale brown with a darker brown area near the crown that breaks into scales, it expends until it is flat with a small central bump, known as an umbo. The cap diameter at maturity ranges between 10 and 25cm.’ (first-nature.com) The surface of the cup has a characteristic snakeskin-like pattern of scaly growths, which make it stand out. The stem is ‘White/off white/cream, often very slightly mottled grey to brown with a kind of snakeskin effect, strong and up to 30 cm, almost always with the skirt still on nearly 2/3 of the way up the stem.’ (wildfooduk.com). The Parasol mushroom starts out looking something like a drumstick, before the initially egg-shaped cap opens up to form a more traditional mushroom shape. Parasol mushrooms are edible but cause stomach upsets in some people. The team always advises leaving fungi and mushrooms found at the woods as a food source for the wood’s inhabitants, which avoids problems with misidentification. These can easily be confused with the shaggy parasol mushroom, which is more poisonous. … See MoreSee Less
This weekend saw scouts from the 1st Tonbridge at Cart wood. The young people hiked from South Tonbridge to the facility before setting up camp and staying the night. Great to have young people camping again! … See MoreSee Less
Our eye was drawn to this pinkish purple jelly fungus growing on a rotting silver birch stump. More subtle than many of our other fungi finds this small fungi has no common name. ‘Fairly common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, Ascocoryne cylichnium is also found in mainland Europe wherever the are broadleaf woodlands or parklands where fallen timber is allowed to rot away naturally’ (firstnature.com). This fungi can be between ‘5-22 mm across; disc-shaped to cup-shaped or goblet-shaped; gelatinous; upper surface purple and bald; undersurface similar to upper surface, or paler and finely fuzzy; with or without a poorly defined stem-like structure; odorless.’ (Mushroomecpert.com) … See MoreSee Less
We posted previously about Sulphur Tuft, a poisonous saprophytic mushroom, growing on deadwood found at the wood. Since this discovery we spotted these beautiful mushrooms growing on a pine on the boundary with Wagon wood, and assumed it was Sulphur Tuft. We have never seen it growing up the stem of what appears to be a healthy tree, but guess there may be some deadwood we can’t see. This prompted us to do some more research and have discovered that this is in fact Conifer Tuft, closely related to our previous discovery.
Conifer Tuft is frequently found throughout Britain, and is easily mistaken for its cousin Sulphur Tuft. ‘It has a stem diameter of 5-10mm and 50-80mm tall, pale yellow at the top, and rusty brown towards the base. Unlike Sulphur tuft, it has no persistent stem ring.’ (first-nature.com) The most important difference between Sulphur and Conifer Tuft are the gills, Sulphur Tuft has bright yellow (sulphur) coloured gills, where as Conifer Tufts have grey gills, turning grey/brown with maturity. Conifer tuft is edible, but given the similarities with the poisonous Sulphur tuft we wouldn’t advise eating, much better to leave these mushrooms for other woodland inhabitants. … See MoreSee Less