Previous updates from 2015                                            

Volunteer session, November 2015

For the last tidy-up in Knolls Wood this year the focus was on removing some of the many holly saplings that have been spreading rapidly. This was one of the tasks identified in the spring when the Friends and Gary (GST) did a survey of the wood and noted that the holly was invading the footpaths in places.

The volunteers cut down a lot of the smaller trees and dragged them to the chipper parked at the southern end of Monkey Puzzle avenue, not easy as it meant pulling the prickly branches up from the lower part of the wood. Many more were removed from alongside the avenue. A dozen or so helpers worked for three hours (aided by Enzo and Jude, the dogs) and everyone was pleasantly surprised at how much was achieved in the time.

The dates of future volunteer sessions can be found by clicking here. Please come and join us.

Children’s event 2015 - Build-a-Bug & Bug trail

This year the children’s event was held in the school half-term week. The day started wet but luckily brightened up as the youngsters arrived, ready to build their own bugs. Using coloured pipe cleaners, fluffy balls and even clothes pegs, they made an assortment of caterpillars and wasps, adding wings, antennae and eyes as the finishing touch (see the photo).

Then the children went on a bug trail in Knolls Wood, looking for photos pinned on the tree trunks and trying to identify which insect was shown in the picture. As the photos were close-ups of just a small part of the insects, it wasn’t that easy. The morning ended with refreshments for all.

Thanks go to Gary (Greensand Trust), who organised the activities, brought along the materials and, most important, gave the Friends a quick training session on bug making.

Watch out for the Fungi!

Walking through Knolls Wood this autumn you are sure to see some interesting fungi. It has been a particularly good season for fungi so look out for them and see how many you can spot.

Giant puffball
(Calvatia gigantea)

Found in grassy places such as woodland edges, fields and parks, often in ring formation. They can sometimes grow to up to 150cm in diameter and weigh up to 20kg.

Penny bun
(Boletus edulis)

Found near oak, beech, birch and coniferous trees, usually on open ground. It is prized by the food industry which dries it and uses it as flavouring for soup.

Shaggy parasol
(Macrolepiota rhacodes)

Found in woods and shrubberies, often near conifers and has a sweet aromatic smell. Its flesh turns pinkish orange when sliced in to.

Fly agaric
(Amanita muscaria)

Found around the base of birch trees and also in pine and spruce woodlands. It is poisonous and can be fatal. It was traditionally used as an insecticide because of its ability to both attract and kill flies.

Wooly milkcap
(Lactarius torminosus)

Found in woods and heaths, usually with birch trees and on damp, peaty soils. If the flesh is broken it bleeds a while ‘milk’ which is severely irritating to the digestive system.

Chicken of the wood 
(Laetiporus sulphurous)

Found mainly on oak tree trunks but can also be found on the trunks of yew, cherry, sweet chestnut and willow.  It has a chicken-like texture and is considered a delicacy in Germany and North America. However it has been known to cause dizziness and stomach upsets in some people so eat with caution.

Star of the woods!

Our Golden Sweet Chestnut may be small but it is very special. It is rare to find this species in the UK - and this autumn ours has produced quite a few chestnuts.

Volunteer Session on Sunday 20 September

Volunteers turned out in force today for the first work party of the autumn.  Gary arrived with the "Big Chipper", on loan for the day from Ampthill, which hungrily devoured the Holly and Laurel cleared from Monkey Puzzle Avenue by our strong volunteers. The Holly and Laurel are being removed because they have taken over the path edges and large expanses of the wood. In addition, low hanging branches along Monkey Puzzle Avenue were cut and chipped to allow more light in to the gladed areas. It will also aid us next year when it comes to cutting the grass as the mower will be able to get further in and Gary, our skilled operator, won’t be getting smacked in the face!

Now that the nesting season is over, the main task for our next work party will be to clear out the bird boxes and continue to widen the paths which have become overgrown in the summer. The “Big Chipper” will be returning for the winter task of ongoing Holly bashing! The chippings will be put to good use on the lower path to improve the boggy areas.

If you are interested in helping at one of our work parties in future, please check our website or the FoKW notice boards at the Sandy Lane and Plantation Road entrances.  You can message us here - your help will be greatly appreciated. 

Volunteer Session on Sunday 14 June 

Just six volunteers turned out for the recent work party, so it was a smaller team than usual. However, they achieved a lot in a short time, clearing back the cuttings along Monkey Puzzle avenue, which Gary (Greensand Trust) had already mowed, using the Trust’s recently purchased flail/mower. They also cut back overhanging branches along the paths and cleared the area of Knolls Wood adjoining Redwood Glade where the Friends have planted two new trees during the past year: a Red Oak and a Cedar.

At the last committee meeting Paul Burgess from Central Bedfordshire Council came along to discuss the Management Plan for the future of Knolls Wood. He mentioned, in particular, the need to clear a few small glades to open up the wood and let in more light in order to make space for new trees. With this in mind the work party began identifying suitable places and this task will continue during the year.

It goes without saying that the Friends would welcome help with this project from anyone who can spare a bit of time now and then to join Gary and the team Click here to contact us if you can provide some help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photos courtesy of Jack Owens
Gary Peach our Greensand Trust Ranger and some of the volunteers clearing the main Monkey Puzzle walk path of undergrowth. We also took time to plan out future clearance work and look for areas where we might plant some replacement trees.

Raking recent scrub cleared space where two new trees were planted earlier this year and the trusty workhorse.

Watering the recently planted new Cedar tree.

Jack Owens spotted this Rowan tree that has taken root over the remains of an old mature tree stump!