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.
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.
Friends of Montefiore Woodland