Early Spring 2017 Open Day at Westcombe Woodlands
Our forth open day event took place on Sunday 30th April. Once again we were amazed at how many people came through the gates. It was an incredible 150 people, a good mixture of regular volunteers, those who help out on a more occasional basis, all the committee members and a good number of people who had never been before.
As with previous events, we raised a substantial amount of money, both via our refreshment stand and by people donating their money in the form of a one-off donation. When the numbers were counted, almost £200 had been collected, a truly enormous achievment.
We made full use this year of the pond for children’ activities. As can be seen in the photos below, we had pond-dipping for insects and also the use of a microscope to help identify what had been caught.
In addition to committee members guiding people around the woodland, they were also on hand to discuss progress and help supervise the many children who also came along.
Our refreshments on sale also provided extra funding for our work; we can see committee member Kate Campbell looking after the stall.
Also to welcome people at the entrance are local councillor Geoff Brighty and Richard Sylvester.
As with last year, one of the attractions are the bluebells, which were planted in large quantities last Autumn and the previous Autumn. These are really starting to become established now, as well as the spring flowering primroses and red campion. Brightly coloured Garlic Mustard, a typical Spring flowering hedge plant is also starting to become very well established. These extra plants were possible thanks to the generosity of all members and volunteers.
Finally, a few days earlier, we took delivery of our bees, and while it was not a warm day, it being quite overcast, some could be seen leaving our beehive which we have located in The Glade area.
Second Successful Open Day for Westcombe Woodlands
Our second open day took place in the afternoon of Saturday 7th May 2016. Our afternoon session allowed more than 100 people to see for themselves the work that has taken place since the last open day 6 months earlier. The warmth of Spring was definitely felt in the woodland, allowing early flowering plants to take advantage of the open woodland canopy.
The photos below 2 areas of woodland plants in The Glade area; the first shows a patch of recently planted common bluebells that are already well developed and with regular maintenance will continue to spread; the 2nd shows a patch of woodland plants we planted as small plugs 2 years ago. All are growing well in the conditions offered.
Our orchard is also now putting on a good display of blossom, as can be seen in the photo below. The pear tree is in full blossom, and other blossoming pear and apples can be seen behind it. The 2nd picture shows a fully mature pear tree in The Glade area. This tree has already reached full blossom, as witnessed by the many white petals underneath the canopy on the ground. A new feature of the woodland as part of our ongoing management is the introduction of our pond. This was recently built with the help of committee members and volunteers from Barclays Bank. Already the water’s edge plants are growing, but to our amazement committee member Nigel Duncan took the below photograph of a mallard which had made an appearance! Already it’s proving to be a new wildlife feature after only a few weeks.
Finally, the last 2 above photos show a mixture of the committee members and the public enjoying The Glade area. The last photograph showing our achievements over the years that we have printed off for everyone to look at and appreciate. Following on from another successful event, we will be soon putting together plans for another open day in the Autumn.
Successful Open Day for Westcombe Woodlands!
Sunday, 4th October 2015 saw the official and formal opening of the Woodlands to the public. After some 4 years in the making, we saw blue skies and glorious sunshine greet some 350 people through our gate.
The opening ceremony was presided over by the newly elected MP for Greenwich & Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook.
The photos below show Matthew cutting the ribbon at the new entrance to woodland with the ceremonial garden shears after delivering a welcoming speech to the crowd. The next photo shows people heading in to the woodland.
Many of the people who attended the open day have never experienced at first-hand the inside of the woodland, so this was a great achievement for all the committee members and volunteers’ efforts over the years.
The above photos show the area known as The Glade with people looking around this area and looking at the information boards and taking part in some of the activities that were put on through the day.
Below is a photo of the refreshment stand which had drinks and refreshments for sale including cakes made by committee member Don Albrecht’s children. Donations taken on the day amounted to an incredible £175! Finally, we have the The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Councillor Norman Adams standing at the new entrance and another of him with the public in The Glade area.
The day was a resounding success, generating much interest with new members eager to join in next year’s activities. It’s hoped we will be able to undertake another open day in the Summer of 2016.
The Westcombe Woodlands are located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich between Maze Hill and Vanbrugh Hill and very near to Greenwich Park and Maze Hill Station.
The Friends of Westcombe Woodlands are a group of local people set up to:
- secure the preservation, protection and improvement of the Westcombe Woodlands
- educate the public in the history, natural history, ecology and biodiversity of the woodlands and to promote the work of volunteers to achieve those objectives
- to promote high standards of conservation in the woodlands
About the Woodlands
The land is a steep and densely wooded area, 3.6 acres in size, to the south of Maze Hill Station and is today almost completely surrounded by housing.
When these activities ceased it became more and more overgrown. Footpaths disappeared under weeds and ivy, bramble and sycamore flourished.In the early 20th century the woods passed into the ownership of the Regional Health Authority. Woodlands Heights, a block of flats adjacent to the woods, was originally a nurses home.
In 2011 BPT ran a pilot project with Trees for Cities to get volunteers from the local community involved in the management and improvement of the woodlands. Nearly a hundred enthusiasts came along.In 1982 the woods were acquired by the Blackheath Preservation Trust, which has a distinguished local history in preserving historic buildings (Blackheath Halls, Vanbrugh Castle and Boones Chapel for examples). The BPT is now part of the Blackheath Society, a registered charity, and the ownership of the woods is vested in a subsidiary woodlands company.With the encouragement of the Greenwich, Blackheath and Westcombe Societies, the Friends of Westcombe Woodlands were then formed to work in partnership with BPT. A new chapter in the life of the Westcombe Woodlands has started. A more detailed history of the Woodlands can be found on the history page.