Record number - 16 volunteers attend April 2019 work party

Friends of Montefiore Woodland – 2019 Annual Report from the Committee

I am very pleased to be able to report on another successful year, the 7th for the Friends of Montefiore Woodland.

Work parties have generally been held on the first Saturday morning of most months throughout the year. This enables us to continue to preserve and improve the area.

We have been very pleased to welcome several new volunteers who have helped in keeping the rampant ivy, alexander and brambles in check. Litter is cleared on a regular basis and the siting and emptying of waste bins is now much less of a problem.

Dave Welch continues to obtain loads of wood chippings, which have been used to very good effect on the pathways.

Dave, Ron and Nick Rankin attended a reception at the Yarrow Hotel in January on behalf of the Friends of Montefiore Woodland. They received a certificate awarded by the Thanet Community Awards “in recognition of outstanding contribution the organisation has made to the community of Thanet.”

The wildflower meadow flourished over the summer months and was cut back in November. Attention has been paid to specific plants in order to restrain the growth of grasses and promote the plants which are most attractive to insects. We are grateful to Peter Atherall for keeping a record of flowers and plants in the woodland. Full details can be seen on the Woodland’s website. Peter was given a much-deserved award from Kent Wildlife for his work on conservation over many years.

Sue Smith has continued her regular butterfly transect over the summer months and her records can also be viewed on the website.

We participated in the National big butterfly count in July when 10 different species were recorded.

Bat walks were held over the summer months attracting a good number of people of all ages.  There were sightings of bats on every occasion. A collection of voluntary contributions enabled us to send a contribution to the Kent Bat Group.  Thanks to Cllr Michelle Fenner’s donation we were able to purchase a Heath Bucket Moth Trap which we set for the first time on the last bat evening, Friday 31st August 2018, 7:30pm – 9:15pm during our Bat Walk .

As the Woodland has free access to the public, the trap was not left unattended, to avoid risk of it being stolen or damaged. On our return to the woodland it was with interest 20 + visitors watched as we opened the trap to see if any moths were within.

The following moths were recorded:

  • Orange Swift
  • Square Spot Rustic
  • Several micros moths (unidentified)
  • Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing
  • Agriphila geniculea

During a recent storm a mature horse chestnut tree was blown over from the Synagogue grounds damaging the boundary wall.  The tree has now been removed and the wall repaired. The sawdust created in the tree removal was a welcome addition to be spread along the path by Dave.

Cllr Michelle Fenner has indicated that she would like to donate £879.25 from her final Ward Funding Pot to Friends of Montefiore Woodland towards the cost of maintaining the flint wall. We express our sincere thanks to Michelle for her continuing support.

I would like to thank Sue Smith and Peter for the excellent job they do in maintaining the website – always a pleasure to browse through it.

I would also remind you that we have a Face book presence, which is useful for sharing information with members and other organisations.

The committee meet regularly at the Montefiore Arms. We thank them for their work and the Montefiore Arms for their hospitality. Also thanks to the Racing Greyhound for the use of the room for our AGM.

Setting our new Moth Trap during the Bat Walk 31st August 2018

Thanks to Cllr Michelle Fenner for funding the purchase of a Heath Bucket Moth Trap we were able to set the trap for our first time last evening, Friday 31st August, 2018 7:30pm – 9:15pm during our Bat Walk .

As the Woodland has free access to the public, the trap was not left unattended, to avoid risk of it being stolen. On our return to the woodland it was with interest 20 + visitors watched as we opened the trap to see if any moths were within.

The following moths were recorded:

  • Orange Swift
  • Square Spot Rustic
  • Several micros moths (unidentified)
  • Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing
  • Agriphila geniculea

2018 ANNUAL REPORT From THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Shirley KBG leads bat walk 26th Aug 17

Shirley KBG leads bat walk 26th Aug 17

This year we celebrate 6 years since the formation of the Friends of Montefiore Woodland Group during which time considerable improvements can be seen thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Each year we see plants looking stronger and more established in the improved environment.  We are already enjoying spring flowers – daffodils, primroses and violets. Summer will see the flowering of the meadow and last autumn there were crab apples and we harvested our first hazel nuts – not a huge crop but we all got to sample them and they are sweet and delicious.  Several more hazel shrubs have been planted so we can look forward to more nuts unless the squirrels get there first. Thank you to Peter for advising and keeping a record of all plant species in the Woodland. Over 60 different species were identified in 2017.

Monthly Woodland working sessions prove to be friendly and enjoyable occasions. This year we were pleased to welcome several newcomers who we hope will continue their support in the coming months – many hands make light work. Dave Welch has again acquired loads of wood chippings which are spread along the footpaths to make them more user friendly and to deter people from trampling other areas.

The nesting boxes have been maintained and Pat and Gerry Short continue to top up the bird feeders, which attract a variety of birds to the site.  Provision of water for the wildlife is not easy as there is no water supply on the site. We have installed a shallow water container, which is certainly being used but needs regular topping up. The Friends group participated in the national Big Garden Bird Watch, recording 12 different species.

Sue Smith continues with the weekly butterfly transect from April to September and the Friends group also participated in the national Butterfly count recording 8 different species on the day. The total number of species seen within the woodland now stands at an impressive 17!

Full details of plants, birds and butterflies recorded in the Woodland can be seen on our website www.montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

The wildflower meadow showed some improvement this year, more wildflower species have been planted as well as buckthorn with a view to attracting more butterflies. Thank you to Dave for the annual cutting at the end of the summer.

Bat walks on summer evenings were again very popular attracting people of all ages. We are able to lend bat detectors on the walk but some of our enthusiastic regulars have now bought their own.  After each walk a request is made for voluntary donations, which are forwarded to the Kent Bat Group in support of their work.

The collection and removal of rubbish and dog waste continued to be a major problem with the council failing to collect. Following on a road traffic incident which saw part of the flint wall demolished and the bench and bins destroyed and after many complaints and consultations with the council’s officers some of the bins were re-sited and another has been removed. The flint wall was repaired to a very high standard. Georgian Builders advised the removal of some saplings and the accumulated earth that had built up over time as this was and may cause additional problems in future. Our thanks to Ron Newman for tackling this problem with the help of a digger. During the removal of the earth we made an interesting find of an intact old local TOMSON & WOTTON, LIMITED beer bottle! 

Graffiti has been less of a problem as the thorny plants along the foot of the wall take hold and ivy continues to mask the wall. There has been evidence of occasional rough sleepers using the woodland but they have not presented any real problems and their stays have been brief.

We are very grateful for the donations received from supporters this year.

We also owe thanks to the Montefiore Arms who kindly allow us the use of a room for our committee meetings and to the Racing Greyhound for the AGM meetings.

Sue and Peter Smith continue to do an excellent job in keeping the website up to date and looking good. We also have a Face book presence which is useful for announcing current events.

Most of all we must thank our committee members and the volunteers who give their time and effort to maintaining and improving this little haven.

Lisa Hunt

Chair

Friends of Montefiore Woodland

Shirley (Kent Bat Group) pre-walk talk

August Evening Bat stroll from Montefiore Woodland – was our most successful yet!

Shirley (Kent Bat Group) pre-walk talk
Shirley pre Bat Walk talk

Shirley pre Bat Walk talk

Common Pipistrelle pups - rehabilitating pre their return to the wild

Common Pipistrelle pups – rehabilitating pre their return to the wild

2 Common Pipistrelles pupsShirley's interesting talkGroup 2_5995Our final Evening Bat Stroll for this year was last Friday 25th August and I’m pleased to report it was our most successful yet!

A beautiful summer’s evening stroll from the Woodland was enjoyed by at least forty visitors of all ages from young ones to wise ones! We were very grateful that Shirley Thomson from Kent Bat Group was able to join and lead our walk and were thrilled she had brought along two furry little friends. A rare treat indeed, being able to see Common Pipistrelles at such close proximity. (These two young Pipistrelles are being cared for by Kent Bat Group with the intention of hopefully returning them to the wild). Once again Shirley gave us an interesting and informative talk about the bats in our local area and the work of Kent Bat Group. Our walk began at Montefiore Woodland at about 8:15pm and much to the delight of everyone, we were treated to two sightings within almost minutes! We were all able to see and hear (via the Bat Detectors) between in excess of 15+ different Common Pipistrelles on the wing as they were hunting their insect prey in our local area. Bat calls are normally beyond the range of human hearing and are used to build up a sound picture of their surroundings thus enabling them to wing their way through the dark night hunting the tiniest of insects, but with the aid of the detectors we were all able to spot these delightful, mysterious, nocturnal creatures. This stroll turned out to be one of the best walks we have experienced during the four years we have been organising these events!

This was a free event however we were grateful for the donations given during these summer evening strolls and are pleased to report that we will be forwarding a cheque for £60 to Shirley for the Kent Bat Group. (NB Our bat sightings have already been uploaded to the National Sunset Bat Survey).

Our thanks to everyone who came along and made this a successful and enjoyable evening!

Enjoy the final days of summer + we hope you may be able to join us at one or more of our monthly work parties, held on the first Saturday of each month.

OH NO!

Friends of Woodland delighted with Wall following its sudden devastation!

Friends delighted with finished wall!

Friends delighted with finished wall!

New Bench_5939

A welcome rest for members of the community.

A welcome rest for members of the community.

The Friends of Montefiore Community Woodland are delighted with the recently restored boundary wall following its sudden devastation early hours one morning last spring, along with the street Light (recently replaced) Litter bin and Bus Stop Bench! The boundary wall (the “Hole in the Wall” entrance) adjacent to Paydens close to Montefiore Medical Centre along Dumpton Park Drive has recently been completed. The Friends must thank and congratulate the builders Georgian Brickwork Conservation and Heritage Brickwork Specialists for their professional skills, not to mention the polite and helpful manner they had during this task over the past few weeks. Even when slowed by the unpleasant weather conditions we have experienced this month, they were happy to talk and answer enquiries with our members not to mention the general interest expressed by numerous members of the local community!

And RTC have also re-installed a bench at the Bus Stop for which the local community are most grateful. When I stopped to take the attached photo it was already in use. The local resident said,

“I have so missed this bench, but am glad I can once again stop and rest during my daily exercise from my house.”

Thank you RTC!Wall before collapsed 13.5.17_5089

Privet Hawk-moth - July work party

Summer Events and Activities at Montefiore Woodland

Privet Hawk-moth - July work party

Privet Hawk-moth – July work party

Eight visitors enjoyed the first of our three Evening Bat Strolls planned for the local community this year.

In hindsight, last month we met a bit early at 8:45pm, especially as the cloudy conditions seemed to lift and the light levels failed to darken until a lot later! While waiting within the woodland we were joined by a fox who approached us with considerable courage on several occasions. We also discovered three of our bat boxes were occupied, one contained a bird, possibly a Blue-tit, but we were unsure of the other occupants as too high up within the box and our torches were not strong enough for us to identify them.

We were just about to leave as we had had no bat sightings and it was now 9:45pm when suddenly our bat detectors alerted us to Common Pipistrelle presence. We were then treated to 6 excellent sightings most of which were within the clearing itself with the bats flying across the wildflower meadow.

We then walked along the alleyways and into King George VI Park, but only saw a further 3 sightings. The best show was definitely within the woodland on this occasion! A very satisfying evening for all.

Our next Evening Bat Stroll is Friday 28th July at 8:30pm. We meet in the clearing at sunset (weather permitting) and then enjoy a casual walk around the woodland along the public footpaths to King George VI Park + back.

During our forthcoming work party, Saturday 5th August (10am – 12 noon) we shall participate in the Big Butterfly Count (this month 10 species have been seen within the woodland: Small and large White, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Common Blue). Visitors can also enjoy viewing the contents of a moth trap from the previous night. At last month’s work party, members were surprised by the sheer size and colour of a Privet Hawkmoth which had been trapped the previous evening close by, in a local garden.

Finally, on Friday 25th August we are delighted to welcome back the knowledgeable Shirley Thompson from Kent Bat Group who kindly led our inaugural Bat walk in August 2013. We all enjoyed this stroll so much it has become a regular summer event at Montefiore Woodland! Shirley also rehabilitates bats that are in need of specialist care and attention and during her last visit we were delighted she brought along a furry little friend for us all to see at close proximity. We are keeping our fingers crossed she may be accompanied again…..?

Please note all of our events are free although we are grateful for any donations. (NB We contribute data to the National Sunset Bat Survey).

For further information on all Activities and Events see our website for more details http://www.montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

Congratulations to Dave for being officially recognised for all his work at the Volunteers Fayre.

Spring Report at Montefiore Woodland

Congratulations to Dave for being officially recognised for all his work at the Volunteers Fayre.

Congratulations to Dave for being officially recognised for all his work at the Volunteers Fayre.

We have been pleased to welcome new members of all ages this year, including an IB student from Dane Court Grammar School. These new members have been especially useful for the spreading of donated wood chippings along the footpaths (thanks must be expressed to Southern Services for the loads they have delivered to us) and the recent cutting back of the highly invasive Alexander plant. Many encouraging + grateful comments have been received from members of community during these monthly work parties. They include “the woodland is a pleasure to walk through”. This appreciation makes all our efforts worthwhile!

The demolished section of our boundary wall, following a recent car accident, saw the removal of the bus stop, bench and importantly TDC’s waste bin. The down side of this led to the overflowing of dog waste + litter to the 2 bins within the woodland. Special thanks must be given to Dave Welch, a long standing member of the Woodland, who regularly oversees the area + kindly cleaned this unfortunate mess. He also waved down a passing TDC waste collector who kindly emptied both bins for us. We are hoping to be placed on their list for regular collection of waste, watch this space… At the Volunteers Fair at Westwood Casino in April, Dave was publicly recognised for his unstinting voluntary support at our woodland. Members of the committee represented The Friends + were impressed by the sheer number of voluntary groups + activities that are active across Thanet! All of which should be applauded for their generous giving of time + effort!

Our spring Events included celebrating Earth Day in April. Sing to the trees was enjoyed by all ages from young ones to wise ones in our local community + our thanks go to Colleen for the suggestion + leading this session. It was good to participate in a global celebration. The session ended with the sharing of moths trapped in a local garden the previous night. The participants were especially delighted to see a colourful Lime Hawk Moth + the children enjoyed assisting in the releasing of these mysterious creatures.

Thanks must also go to Peter for his close monitoring of the plants that grow within the Woodland. His patchwork trial of the sowing of Yellow Rattle within the wildflower meadow has been successful + is flowering as this is written. Further patchworks will be created in the Autumn.

Forthcoming events include Montefiore Woodland monthly Bat Walks (we contribute data to the National Sunset Bat Survey) which are held on the last Friday of each month. The first of which will be on Friday 30th June. Meet in the clearing at sunset at 8:45pm (weather permitting). We then enjoy a casual stroll around the woodland along the public footpaths to King George VI Park + back. Last year we were not disappointed + enjoyed excellent sightings of local bats – guided by our useful bat detectors. The following Bat Walk will be on Friday 28th July.

We also participate in The Big Butterfly Count during our 5th August work party (10am – 12 noon) at which participants can enjoy the viewing of the contents of a moth trap from the previous night.

Finally on Friday 25th August we are delighted to welcome back the knowledgeable Shirley Thompson from Kent Bat Group who kindly led our inaugural Bat walk in August 2013. We all enjoyed this stroll so much it has become a regular summer event! Shirley also looks after bats that are in need of specialist care and attention + during her last visit we were delighted she brought along a furry little friend for us all to see at close hand. We are keeping our fingers crossed she may be accompanied again…..?

Please note all of our events are free although we are grateful for any donations.

For further information on all Activities and Events see our website for more details http://www.montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

Enjoy the summer + we hope you may be able to join us at one/ more of our activities….?

Friends of Montefiore Woodland – 2017 Annual Report from the Committee

This year we celebrate 5 years since the formation of the Friends of Montefiore Woodland Group.

I am sure that everyone will agree that year on year the Woodland has shown considerable improvement thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Work parties have focused on controlling invasive sycamore, brambles, ivy and Alexander.  This has allowed space for the planting of a variety of native hedging plants and wildflowers.

I always find the Woodland sessions friendly and enjoyable but numbers attending have been worryingly low at times. However last month we welcomed several newcomers who we hope will continue – many hands certainly do make light work.

The nesting boxes have been maintained and several are occupied just now. Pat and Gerry Short continue to top up the bird feeders, which attract a variety of birds to the site.  We are trying to find ways of providing water for wildlife, as there is no water supply on the site. The Friends group participated in the R.S.P.B. Big Garden Bird Watch, recording 38 birds of 14 different species.

Sue Smith does a weekly butterfly transect from April to September and the Friends group also participated in the national Butterfly count. Peter A. continues to record the species of flora to be found within the woodland.

Full details of plants, birds and butterflies recorded in the Woodland can be seen on our website www.montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

The wildflower meadow remains fenced off to protect it from being impacted by overuse by some dog walkers.  The meadow was maintained by Dave Welch who also strimmed other grassy areas.

Bat walks on summer evenings continue to be popular attracting people of all ages.  After each walk a request is made for voluntary donations, which are forwarded to the Kent Bat Group in support of their work.

Over the year several loads of wood chippings were acquired and spread along the footpaths to make them more user friendly and to deter people from trampling other areas.

The collection and removal of rubbish and dog waste continues to be a problem.  The council does not collect and it falls to be dealt with by Dave Welch.

A further annoyance is the graffiti on the wall at the bottom of the site.  This has been painted over in the past and thorny hedging plants planted in front of it as a deterrent.

We are very grateful for the donations, which we have received from supporters this year. Special mention is made of the generous amounts received from WWW Martin and the proceeds of the quiz night held at the Elephant and Castle public house.  These funds have enabled us to buy more plants and tools for the work parties.  The daffodils we planted last autumn have put on a brilliant display this spring.

We also owe thanks to the Montefiore Arms who kindly allow us the use of a room for our committee meetings.

Sue and Peter Smith do an excellent job in keeping the website up to date and looking good. We also have a face book presence, which receives a surprising amount of hits.

Most of all we must thank our committee members and the volunteers who give their time and effort to maintaining and improving this little haven which has come to be valued and enjoyed by the local community.

Lisa Hunt

Chair

Friends of Montefiore Woodland

Chippings

Daffodils by Info Board

The hardy team who were spotting the birds within the woodland on 28th January, 2017

Montefiore Woodland’s Big Garden Bird Watch results + Pub Quiz generous donation

Seven hardy members met for the RSPB’s largest national survey in the world, the Big Garden Bird Watch on Saturday 28th January. During which the sunshine emerged shining welcomed winter warmth on members and new buds and catkins are appearing. We suitably placed ourselves in the four corners and clearing for the bird count, following which we re-convened to collate the following results: 38 birds of 14 Species: 5 Ring necked Parakeets, 2 Starlings, 2 Blackbirds, 3 Bluetit, 1 Great-tit, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Robin, 1 Long-tailed tit, 8 Feral Pigeon, 1 Woodpigeon, 2 Wren, 1 Jay, 2 Magpies + 6 Goldfinch. Plus: 3 squirrel.

An interesting find of another tarmac path was discovered under some of the undergrowth near where we hope to create a Chris Packham wildlife washing up bowl pond! We will investigate this further during our future work parties.

Our next work parties are on Saturday 4th March + Saturday 1st April 10am – 12 noon (weather permitting). We meet in the Clearing in Montefiore Woodland and proposed tasks will be clearing and creating the washing-up bowl pond area, revealing the hidden path removing unwanted Alexander not to mention on-going ivy /side shoots from trees and litter collection.

Recently, we received a surprise email inviting members to attend a Quiz at the Elephant + Castle Public House as we had been nominated to receive the funds raised that evening as the chosen community group for that night. Six members of the Woodland Committee formed our team and we all remarked on the friendly and welcoming atmosphere we were given by the organisers. Despite not coming high on the scoreboard at the end of the evening, we still left feeling winners, thanks to the generous donation we were presented by the organisers at the end of the evening. We understand this group have a Pub Quiz every first Wednesday of the month and many regular quiz followers support them and they meet at various hostelries in the locality. All funds raised from the evening are donated to a nominated community group and they have been active for nigh on 20 years! They must have been quietly raising a lot of money for community groups in that time! Not to mention the time and effort that must have gone into the planning of these!

Their next Quiz Night is on 1st March, 2017 at the Royal Navy Club if you wish to attend.

Contact Mary: mary.rubie@sky.com for more details.

For more information on our activities at Montefiore Woodland in general visit our website http://montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

Finally, if you haven’t visited the woodland for a while, may I suggest you do so and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this little oasis.

Chippings

Report from 2016 AGM

Friends of Montefiore Woodland – 2016 Annual Report from the Committee

I am very pleased to be able to report on another successful year for the Friends of Montefiore Woodland.

Regular work parties have been held throughout the year, which has enabled us to continue to preserve and improve the area.

Numbers attending the work parties have dropped off and we need to recruit more volunteers if we are to keep up standards.

Work has included thinning out sycamore saplings and cutting back or removing brambles and Alexander as well as some of the ivy.  This will allow more diverse species to flourish. Native plants including bluebells, foxgloves, primroses, celandines, daffodils and cowslips have been introduced. Litter is cleared on a regular basis and new waste bins have been installed.

Dave Welch has obtained several loads of wood chippings, which have been used to very good effect on the pathways.

We thank Travis and Perkins for their gift of builders bags which are most useful for clearance work.

It was decided that the fencing around the wildflower meadow be kept in place as the ground was becoming impacted due to over use by some dog walkers. The meadow flourished over the summer months and was cut back in November.  Disappointingly the yellow rattle did not appear but we are hoping that this was due to the previous mild winter. We are grateful to Peter for keeping a record of flowers and plants in the woodland. Full details can be seen on the Woodland website: http://www.montefiorewoodland.org.uk/

Sue Smith does a regular butterfly transect over the summer months and her records can also be viewed on the website.

We participated in the National butterfly count in July when 10 different species were recorded.  Dr Francis Burgess recently donated 6 Purging Buckthorn which have now been planted in an effort to attract Brimstone butterflies. Buckthorn is the sole food plant of the brimstone butterfly which is known for its ability to travel miles to find the bush to lay its eggs on. The reintroduction of the buckthorn bush paid dividends for local brimstones in Suffolk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/2011/07/brimstones-and-buckthorn.shtml

Buckthorn flowers provide nectar which seems particularly attractive to bees and hoverflies. Later in the year, shiny black berries provide a valuable source of food for birds. A number of moth larvae are also occasionally found on these bushes.

Pat and Gerry Short continue to fill up the bird feeders on a regular basis. Requests have been made for contributions towards the cost of bird food on the following lines : £2 will buy 1kg sunflower hearts, ,£2 1kg Niger seeds, £2.50 1kg peanuts and £5 will buy 50 fat balls. We find that some people who are unable to carry out the physical tasks are pleased to show their appreciation in this way.

We participated in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January when 45 birds of 12 different species were recorded.

Bat walks were held over the summer attracting a good number of people of all ages.  There were sightings of bats on every occasion. A collection of voluntary contributions enabled us to remit £20 to the Kent Bat Group who were very appreciative of our efforts. Again full details can be seen on the Woodland website.

During the year the wall to the back of the Woodland was made secure and shrubs planted in front of it.  Jim Webster did an excellent job of painting over the graffiti.  Council repairs to the flint wall are still outstanding, however, new bins have been erected at both entrances.

I would like to thank Sue Smith and Peter for the excellent job they do in maintaining the website – always a pleasure to browse through it.

I would also remind you that we now have a Face book presence, which is useful for sharing information with members and other organisations.

The committee continues to meet regularly in the Montefiore Arms and we thank them for their hospitality.

Lisa Hunt

Chairman