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!
During woodland play sessions children may be exposed to ticks as they are commonly found in woodland, moorland, grassland and parks. Ticks can sometimes pass on diseases such as Lyme disease and Tick-borne encephalitis to humans. Not all ticks are infected and, if they are removed quickly and safely, the chance of illness is greatly reduced.
We strongly recommend that children wear long sleeved tops and trousers as they not only reduce the risk of tick bite they also protect against nettle stings, scrapes and scratches.
We also recommend that parents check for ticks routinely and, if found, remove as soon as possible. The safest way to do this is to use a tick removal tool commonly available in most outdoor shops and chemists.
The following information and guidance may also be useful :
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 very pleased to welcome Kay and Heather from Echoes Ecology to our woods this morning. They have picked a beautiful, warm, sunny day to visit!
Kay and Heather are are conducting a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) of our site in the woods which will document the range of habitats present and will look for signs of any protected species. This initial appraisal will inform the requirement for any future surveys.
Kay is known to us at CVN having helped us put up squirrel and bird feeders in the woods a couple of years ago. We are hopeful that our children can again be involved so that we can learn more about the creatures that live in our woods.
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!
Last week a team from Learning through Landscapes Scotland visited us on a glorious sunny spring day. LtL are making 24 short films for Scottish Forestry about managing sites for regular use by early years settings and asked if they could come and see what we get up to at Gillies Hill Community Woodland. We were very happy to meet them and show them around. We were also very interested to see their film and sound equipment.
We received funding last year from Falck Renewables to allow us to begin the development of our new nursery in Gillies Hill Community Woodland. We also won the Falck Renewables Recovery for a Resilient Sustainable Future Competition. As part of the funding process we were interviewed by Falck and asked about what we do in the woods and about our plans for the future.