Echoes Ecology have now completed their PEA of our proposed site in Gillies Hill Community Woodland. Their executive summary records “There was no field evidence of protected species found during the survey. There is suitable habitat for nesting birds and commuting and foraging for bats. If proposed works are to be undertaken during the breeding bird season (March to September inclusive), then any areas of the Site that need to be cleared of vegetation must be shown to be free of nesting birds prior to works commencing. There are no other recommended surveys.”
Echoes Ecology report lists several species from the Scottish Biodiversity List which may be present in the woodland – these include bats, toads, hedgehogs, red squirrels and native bluebells. We have seen lots of bluebells this spring, we regularly see toads and have once spotted a red squirrel. We need to keep our eyes peeled for the rest!
We planted a tree in our orchard in the Walled Garden today to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III. We don’t know what kind of tree it is so it will be a surprise to see what grows. Our children think it will grow really tall and maybe it will give us some pears or apples to eat for our snack 🤞🏻
We were pleased to join with so many people at the mid month volunteer session in the Walled Garden at Gillies Hill Community Woodland today. The garden is literally springing into life and there were many jobs on the go including digging over and planting potatoes in a new bed, fixing the door to the poly tunnel, clearing the ever present glass and rubbish, planting strawberry plants and planting a new willow dome. It’s great to see changes and improvements as a result of everyone’s hard work. Despite the long list of jobs on the go there was time for a chat while enjoying a well earned cuppa. Our job today was building a willow dome and, if we say it ourselves, we were very pleased with the result. It has a little bit of growing to do as we were maybe a little bit over ambitious with our planning but ambition is never a bad thing 😉 We are looking forward to watching it grow!
Despite the very cold temperatures of recent days our children were thrilled to spot some positive signs of spring in our woods this week! The beautiful sunshine emphasised the different shades of green starting to appear all around.
We’ve been getting on with planting our vegetables in the Walled Garden at Gillies Hill Community Woodland this week. We’ve been planting the beans, turnips, carrots, courgettes, onions and beetroot that we sowed before the Easter holidays. So far we have filled one of the beds where the old greenhouses used to be. Next week we hope to get our raised bed planted too!
We are very grateful to Aldo for making a lovely new sign to go beside the fruit trees in our orchard in the walled garden. Amos helped the children find a good spot to put it up. Our apple trees are already covered in blossom and there are leaves on the pears , plums and cherries. The children are hoping to be able to harvest some fruit next week!
We celebrated Earth Day this week in the woods – what better place?? We have been fortunate to have received fruit trees from The Tree Council and today we planted them in the orchard area of the Walled Garden Gillies Hill Community Woodland. Our children are looking forward to harvesting apples, pears, cherries and plums! It was a lot of hard work with some very exciting finds (worms, bees, butterflies, frogs). Our children are indeed a #ForceForNature
We spent this morning in Gillies Hill Community Woodland tapping birch trees and harvesting birch sap with Amos. This was a fantastic opportunity for our children to learn about the changes spring brings to the woods and also to understand more about different types of trees and how to identify birch trees by their distinctive silvery white bark. Amos showed us how he drilled a small hole in the tree to let the sap come out and we watched as it started to drip. The children were so excited that they wanted to try catching the sap on their tongues and told us it tasted amazing! We learned that birch trees are better at producing sap than most other trees as we tried tapping a willow tree and found that it didnt drip at all. We tied milk cartons to the birch trees to catch the sap and when we checked later it was nearly half full. Thanks for a great day Amos 😊