Wednesday, 27 April 2016


On the ground in the coppice coupe there are loads of hazel nut shells.  Either this means we have been feeding the squirrels or, perhaps, we are going to get a lot of new hazel bushes.  Probably the former, unfortunately.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Beanpole sale

Laying out the produce for our beanpole sale today.

From beansticks

to medium plant stakes

 down to really small stakes

Sustainable coppice produce.
All profits to the management of Filnore Woods
New VOLUNTEERS always welcome.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Dawn Chorus Walk

This Sunday, 24th April, 5.00 am at Filnore Woods.  Meet at field gate on far side of Thornbury Leisure Centre car park.

Learn to recognise these birds without seeing them!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Stakes and chips - beanpole sale

A lot of stake sharpening happened the weekend before last, which produced a lot of woodchips.

Straightness of sticks is the most important followed by length.

We had five axes on the go on five chopping blocks.

Then the longer poles and shorter stakes were sorted for size, bundled up   .  .  .

.  .  .  .  and loaded on the truck to take down to the White House - our shed.

The bean pole sale is on Saturday 23rd April on the far side of the Leisure Centre car park, from 10.00 am till they're all sold, or noon at the latest.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Ash Bark Beetle

This piece of dead ash wood looks as if it has been used as a dart board.

But no.  These are the holes where adult Ash Bark Beetles (Leperisinus varius) have emerged, probably last summer.

When the bark is removed you can see the typical pattern of galleries tunnelled by the beetle grubs as they fed on the nutritious substances just under the bark.

The female beetle lays eggs in a horizontal line and the larvae tunnel either upwards or downwards, avoiding each other.  

Monday, 18 April 2016


While I was up at the coppice coupe enjoying the rural peace of Filnore Woods, my ears were assailed by a very industrial -sounding noise.  It was a sort of metal clanging.

As I was next to the pylon, which gives its name to the pylon field, I glanced up as the noise came again.  Then I saw somebody small, and black and white flying off into the woods.

Photo: Mali, Littlehampton

It was a greater spotted woodpecker.  At this time of year they do their 'drumming'  to establish their territories.  It's a sort of machine gun noise or a drum roll, usually on a tree.  The bigger and more hollow the tree is the better, because it makes a bigger and better sound and intimidates rivals.  This is competitive drumming.

Photo: paulmitch

Well this particular pecker at Filnore has discovered that the pylon makes the best sound ever.  I've heard him several times since, r-r-r-r-rapping out his metallic signal to all in the neighbourhood.  It really carries.

Fortunately woodpeckers have thick skulls and strong neck muscles so they don't get headaches when pecking at up to 20 blows per second.

They like feeding on insects especially in dead and dying trees, so we mustn't cut down all our dead wood.  In winter they feed on conifer seeds, so perhaps we need to plant a few more conifers.

Come to our Dawn Chorus Walk 5.00 am on Sunday 24th April at Filnore Woods.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Bird Cherry

The Bird Cherry tree is one of the earlier trees to leaf up in spring and it also produces attractive sprays of white flowers.

It is more common in the north of England and in Scotland but we have a few in Filnore Woods and they are blooming NOW.

Once the flowers have gone it is harder to recognise the tree.  The bark may have little orange spots (lenticels) and the leaves are errrm .  .  .  . leaf-shaped and a dull textured green, with tiny little teeth round the edge.  However, if you pick a leaf or two and examine the stalk where it joins the leaf, you will find two little pimples.  These glands can be found near the junction of leaf and stalk on all cherries - a useful clue for identification.

It doesn't like the deep shade of woods and grows best on the woodland edge or out in the open, where the flowers are a welcome sight.