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Summer surveys round II

Following success last year in finding a brown argus butterfly, Malcolm Watling visited Dane Valley Woods back in July to try and re-spot the rare beauty.  Whilst he did not find the brown argus, he recorded the first ever orchid found at the woodlands, a wonderful surprise for us! Read what he found below:

On the 2nd and 3rd September, I visited the woods again to see which butterflies would still be around.  There were lots of Small Whites, several Large Whites, two each of Common Blue and Small Copper, and one each of Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Comma and Brown Argus.  The Brown Argus was in exactly the same place as my observation of one last year.  This is encouraging, because it probably shows that they are breeding here, and they are known not to wander far from their colonies.   The female of the Common Blue is brown and can look very like a Brown Argus, but can be distinguished by differences in the spots on the underside, especially an extra spot on the forewing.  You can see that some of the butterflies are quite worn and ragged after a busy summer dashing about amongst the grass.

 

Malcolm also sent photos along with captions, to help identify certain butterfly species, check them out below!

brown-argus-underside brown-argus common-blue-underside-bletchley-buckinghamshire common-blue small-copper-1


Summer surveys

In between the rain and wind, we have had a few sunny days, and these are the best times to find wildlife at Dane Valley Woods.

We were contacted again by Malcolm Watling, who sent us in a butterfly survey here, from last year. This year he said:

‘The weather hasn’t been very butterfly friendly during my visits to Margate this year, but the 3rd July had some useful sunny intervals when I visited the site.  There weren’t many butterflies, but that was partly because this time of year is between the spring and summer broods of some species.  However, the Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns had recently begun to appear, and there were quite a few of them around, despite the rather cool wind.  I saw several Small Whites, some Holly Blues, a couple of Small Skippers and one each of Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Burnet moth and the pale, summer form of the Comma.  A botanical bonus was a Pyramidal Orchid in the Oxeye Daisy area patch.’

Pyramidal orchid

Such a beautiful photo from the eagle-eyed Malcolm!

Elsewhere in the woods, we have spotted 10 lizards in just a 20 minute stretch, including yet anther rare colour variation of the common lizard, which can be spotted in the middle in the photo below.

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A talk on waste

After doing a voluntary litter pick last month at the woodlands, 1st Margate Cubs were thanked by Secretary Kashmir Flint, who also did a talk about waste, its problems and how we can all help to reduce it. Every year, England and Wales produce enough waste to cover Hyde Park in 80 foot of rubbish, which is around the equivalent of 4 double storey houses! A lot of this waste ends up in natural areas or in the sea where it harms wildlife, with the RSPCA receiving over 7,000 calls over litter-related incidents every year.

But as Kashmir explained to the attentive Cubs, waste is a problem that we have created, therefore it is a problem that we can solve! Using the waste hierarchy, we can reduce, reuse and recycle, often in fun and creative ways.

Waste is an issue closely tied with Dane Valley Woods, from both its past and present. Dane Valley Woods was an old landfill site, as a result, we often find odd items when digging around! Whilst this is great because it is now covered in emerging woodlands, we care about the environment and do not want to see all our natural spaces being covered in landfill sites. Waste is also a present problem for us, as the site is a main route through Dane Valley, therefore we are constantly battling with litter. We spend many task days litter-picking, which consumes voluntary time and effort.

The Cubs kindly helped us by using their time to litter-pick at the woodlands and giving us a kind donation, to which we are incredibly grateful.

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Thanet Volunteers Fair

Dane Valley Woods is pleased to be attending todays fair at the new Dreamland Ballroom, organised by the Thanet Volunteer Bureau – we hope to meet many like-minded organisations and spread the word about our project. The event is between 11am-2pm, there is free entry, refreshments and a raffle, so we hope to see you there!

Thanet Volunteer Fair 2016


Tesco Bags of Help – Update!

Amazing, amazing, amazing news!

Thanks to everyone voting in Tesco stores, we have been awarded the first prize of £12,000 in the Tesco Bags of Help scheme!

The team are all over the moon, and we’d like to thank everyone who voted, spread the word and showed their support for us!

We have won #BagsofHelp


Tesco Bags of Help

We are excited to announce Dane Valley Woods has won a major new grant proposal, with a guaranteed £8,000 but we could win more with your help!

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

Dane Valley Woods has been shortlisted in the Thanet region, and the public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.

To help us, please spread the word, and go into stores and vote for us during the voting period!

BOH Poster

 


Butterfly survey

Every so often we are contacted by members of the public who have spotted various things in the Woods. Mr Malcolm Watling, a former Margate resident who now lives in North Wales, visited Dane Valley Woods during the summer and recorded butterfly species present. These included a Brown Argus, which has not been recorded here before. Malcolm writes:-

“On the 28th and 29th July I spent a couple of hours on each day looking round the site for butterflies and other wildlife. The weather was a bit breezy and cloudy, but warm with enough useful sunny intervals. Here is a list of my observations:

– Large White and Gatekeeper, very common
– Small White and Meadow brown, frequent
– Oak Eggar Moth (1) (by the Mill)
– Speckled Wood (1)
– Migrant Hawker dragonfly (2)
– Brown Argus, (1)
– Common Blue male, several
– Common Blue female (1) (with a lot of blue colour)
– Essex Skipper (4)
– Holly Blue (3)
– Red Admiral (1)
– Peacock (1)
– 6-Spotted Burnet moth (1)

There was also one Common Lizard, basking on a crumpled-up black bin-liner!”

Brown Argus (female) 29 July 2015

Brown Argus (female) 29 July 2015

Malcolm has also sent a picture of the Woods site from 1973, showing what is presumed to be the former tip site, with loads of starlings on a bush. He notes that the size of the trees along the road is worth comparing with now, as is the style of the cars. Thank you Malcolm for sending this information in, we look forward to hearing from you again, and we would also like to hear from anyone else who has memories like this or are recording wildlife – let us know via the contact page on this website.

Dane Valley Woods on 2 June 1973

Dane Valley Woods on 2 June 1973


The case for….. Volunteering

Our secretary and media manager, Kashmir Flint, has been talking about her role and the benefits of volunteering…..

“Being a full-time student isn’t always easy and after all the essays and exams, we need experience to get onto the job ladder. To gain this experience, you get a job and to gain a job you usually need experience. It’s a vicious cycle and no wonder that many students end up frustrated.Kashmir

But as I have found out, volunteer work can often provide invaluable experience that will hopefully land me in a dream working placement. I’m entering my third year of a Wildlife Conservation degree at the University of Kent, and hope to be employed as an ecologist after graduation. This job market is competitive and skills are often essential. This is how Dane Valley Woods is helping me out.

The project is found in the heart of Margate and was established in 2002, on land formally used as a rubbish tip. The council owned land is managed by the Dane Valley Woods volunteers, who have heroically braved the winter planting season each year since its establishment to plant over 4,000 trees on the site. They meet on the last Sunday of each month to help maintain the site through various tasks such as bramble clearance and mulching around trees to help prevent weed growth. Since joining the group in June 2011, I’ve been fascinated at the wide range of wildlife found at the site, and have recently started to add to the list of species recorded in order to give an almost complete audit of biodiversity.

I’m hoping that both my practical experiences in maintaining the woodlands and species identification as well as managerial skills gained through my role as secretary will help me to stand out against a crowd of graduates, all applying for the same vacancies. Tree plantingBut the woodland doesn’t just help me. Dane Valley Woods is a community wild space and is open for everybody to enjoy and use. The volunteers established a memorial garden in 2013 for the public to plant trees for loved ones. Wildflowers have been planted at the site for aesthetics as well as for the insects and tasks such as Easter egg hunts and summer fetes have been held to engage the public.

However, Dane Valley Woods is in urgent need of volunteers to help the upkeep of the site. Task days are held on the last Sunday of each month from 10am until 2pm, meeting outside the Dane Valley Woods HQ, at the Dane Valley allotment site and volunteers are given free tea and coffee after their hard work. The group have a website address which can be found at www.danevalleywoods.org and we can also be found on Facebook or Twitter, where you can see many of the photos that I have snapped myself at the site.”


Spotted in Dane Valley Woods: Snake’s head fritillary

Snake's Head Fritillary

Snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) is a British flower which has become nationally scarce. The snake’s head fritillary is commonly found on meadows, explaining its population reduction due to habitat conversion of wildflower meadows into arable land or grassland for grazing. During our 10th year anniversary in 2013, Dane Valley Woods planted these bulbs and other native wildflowers in the hope to increase the diversity of flora within the woodlands and within a few months, they had flowered. We are hoping to see many popping up this year!

Snake’s head fritillaries are easily identifiable in spring by their bell shaped, drooping flowers and chequered patterns, often in purple, pink and occasionally white. Its scientific name Fritillaria comes from the Latin word for ‘dice box’, referencing the chequered patterns which make the flower so unique with meleagris translating to ‘spotted like a guinea fowl’. In folklore it is said that the flowers droop because they witnessed Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and hung their heads in sorrow.

The flowers of the snake’s head fritillaries are pollinated by insects, particularly bees, however, the flowers are hermaphrodites so the plant can self-fertilise to produce a clone of itself.

Did you know? Work at Kew has uncovered that Fritillaria meleagris has 15 time mores DNA than humans have and if its genomes were unravelled it would stretch 30 metres.


Spotted at Dane Valley Woods: Common lizard

Common lizard

The United Kingdom is home to six types of reptile, and one of these scaly friends is found abundantly in Dane Valley Woods. The common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is found across most of the country and Dane Valley Woods is ideal habitat for it to thrive.

The common lizard has a great variation in colour but tends to be brownish with spotted and striped patterns, although different colour morphs exist, such as the rare plain morph which has been spotted in the Woods! Common lizards may also be melanistic, which means completely black (but melanistic adults are not to be confused with new-born common lizards which are also totally black).Rare plain morph common lizard

Common lizards are sexually dimorphic meaning males and females look different. A male lizard tends to be ‘spotty’ whilst a female tends to be more ‘stripey’. The sex can be more easily distinguished by their bellies as males have bright orange or yellow bellies covered with black spots, whereas females have plain grey or yellowish bellies with no spots.

Common lizards are also known as viviparous lizards, which means they give birth to live young, unlike many other species of reptile which lay eggs. However, interestingly, populations in warmer climates actually lay eggs and these populations tend not to interbreed successfully with live young laying lizards. A female may give birth from 3 to 11 offspring which are born black with no markings.

The juvenile lizards as well as adult lizards are important prey species, as you may have read in our Kestrel blog, however, they are not easy prey to catch. Reptiles are ‘cold blooded’ so use the sun to warm themselves up and become active, so on hot days common lizards are extremely fast and nimble and catching a sight of them becomes difficult. Common lizards are also competent swimmers and may use this as a means of escaping. However, in extreme cases, a lizard may also shed its tail to escape. The tail remains wriggling to distract the predator, giving the lizard a chance to get to safety.

Whilst this species is widespread, studies have suggested a decline in its numbers and it has recently been added to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, it is also protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

To read up about this species and other reptiles, visit Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group.

Tiny juvenile common lizard

 


Spotted in Dane Valley Woods: Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrels (Falco tinniculus) are familiar British falcons, due to their ability to adapt to changing environments and their distinctive flight patterns.

Their sex can be distinguished from their plumage; males tend to have blueish grey hoods and rumps, whereas females are more chestnut brown, however, both have a dark band across their cheeks and speckled brown over their bodies.

Kestrels are notorious for their graceful hunting, hovering motionless in mid-air whilst keeping their heads perfectly still as they search for prey. This has lead to them also being known as wind-hoverers. These falcons fly extremely slowly, spreading their feathers to allow a constant flow of air over their wings as they face into oncoming winds, which generates enough lift for them to hover. To watch the kestrel’s flight and see its extraordinary ability to lock its head perfectly when it hunts watch this clip by Attenborough: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Common_Kestrel#p010v3zt

Kestrels usually feed on small mammals (and perhaps in Dane Valley Woods’ case, small lizards, which is rare, but does still occur in Northern latitudes when feeding nestlings) and particularly invertibrates in the Winter. They usually raise 2-3 chicks, although lay 3-6 eggs and they can live for around 16 years. Although they are classified under least concern under IUCN conservation status guidelines, the RSPB lists them as amber species, meaning a moderate decline has occurred in the past, which they attribute to changes in farmings methods since the 1970s.


Upcoming Events

Our annual tree planting event is coming up, and following feedback from our Summer Open Day, we are creating a memorial garden to plant trees for loved ones. The tree plant will be on Sunday 1st December from 10am-1pm. This is a free event and everyone is welcome to join us, with under-16s accompanied by an adult. We provide all the tools needed as well as refreshments, just come dressed for muddy conditions. You can find us at the front edge of our site, alongside Dane Valley Road.

We intend to plant 420 blossoming and year-round colour trees such as wild cherry, silver birch and dogwood, generously provided to us by the Woodland Trust. We would be very pleased to welcome you to come and plant a lasting memory for a loved one that will one day benefit our future generations. You can even bring along and tie ribbons and bows to branches, to identify your tree throughout the year. 

We will also be having a task day dedicated to preparing the site on Sunday 24th November between 10am-1pm. Again, help is welcomed to clear space for these trees. We will provide all the tools needed and a hot cup of tea or coffee to all our hard workers.

A council mini-digger will be undertaking some initial clearance work for us, on the front edge of our site facing the local shops, and this will take place during the week commencing Monday 18 November 2013 (weather permitting)

To find out more, or to check that the events are going ahead in adverse weather, contact us through this website – you can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


Spotted in Dane Valley Woods: Field vole

Field vole

The field vole (Microtus agrestis) is one of the three species of vole found across the United Kingdom. It is the most common species of the three and it plays a vital link in the food chain.

Field voles can be difficult to distinguish from the bank vole as they are very similar in appearance but field voles tend to have darker and longer fur, smaller ears and shorter tails. Voles can be more easily distinguished from mice by their less prominent eyes and ears as well as having blunter noses. Field voles can be very aggressive creatures and the males can be heard squeaking as they fight over their territories.

The field vole is predated on by several species such as kestrels, barn owls, foxes, stoats and snakes. It is thought that between 40-80% of a barn owl’s diet is made up of field voles showing their importance in the ecosystem.

As a vole travels, it marks its runways with urine to warn off other voles, however these urine tracks can radiate ultraviolet light which can be detected by birds of prey, therefore leaving a trial for the birds to trace.

As a rodent, field voles have high reproductive rates; females may have up to 7 litters of between 4 to 6 young a year. Rarely, field voles can reach plague proportions with up to 500 individuals per acre. Despite this, it is thought that the field voles numbers are decreasing and although they are common across the country, their roles in the food chain makes them important species to protect.


Spotted in Dane Valley Woods: Common darter dragonfly

The common darter (Sympetrum striolatum) is a striking summer and autumnal species. The males have blood red or fiery orange colourings whereas the females tend to be more yellow or brown. In both sexes however, their main characteristic is their black legs with a contrasting yellow stripe along the length. This dragonfly is a very common and abundant species across much of Europe and can be found away from water sources, as well as close to them.Common darter dragonfly

The species gets its name from its hunting behavouir. The common darter will often be found poised on a plant or post where it will wait until an unsuspecting insect will fly past and the dragonfly will ‘dart’ after it, catching it in flight.

Due to their predatory lifestyle, draongflies are extremely agile and powerful fliers. They are capable of flying backwards, straight up and down, as well as manouerving tight rotations when hunting. This is due to their wings being able to move independetly of each other, unlike many other insects which beat in syncronisation.

Common darter females do not actually lay eggs into the water like many other species of dragonfly do. Instead she sharply flicks her abdonmen which causes the eggs to fall into the water as she flies over and they sink into the sediment below. The egg will hatch into a fericious aquatic nymph which may take up to 5 years to emerge and metamorphasise into an adult common darter.


Spotted in Dane Valley Woods: Ruby Tiger Moth caterpillar

This fuzzy copper caterpillar is the larvae to the ruby tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa). It is the most common of our tiger moths and can be found across the whole United Kingdom, with its numbers having thought to have increased threefold in the past 35 years. It tends to be found in grassland areas or open woodland, so Dane Valley Woods is a perfect habitat for it to thrive.

The ruby tiger moth gets its name from its adult colouration. The ruby tiger moth has pinkish wings with a brown head and pink thorax with black spots and an orange and black striped abdomen. The name is more fitting for the populations in the south of England, as the individuals tend to become a duller brown or grey colour further north into Scotland.

The moth flies most commonly flies at night but can be seen during the day and due to it sometimes striking colouration, it can be mistaken for a butterfly. It overwinters as a larvae, and the natural chemicals in the caterpillar’s body prevents it from freezing and allows it to become inactive and emerge in the warmer weather to feast on its favourite plants such as heather, dock and dandelions.

Look for the adults in flight from April to June, and again in August to September; or the hairy caterpillars from June to April.

Photo copyright (http://the-nunnally.deviantart.com/art/Ruby-Tiger-Moth-444039893)

 


BioBlitz 2012 – The Results!

On a bright and sunny Saturday 29 September 2012, Dane Valley Woods volunteers teamed up with Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) in an exciting new partnership, to try and identify the extent of biodiversity on the site. A base of operations was set up nearby on the green under DVW’s newly purchased giant gazebo, with a whole range of analysis tools including laptops, microscopes and reference books.  Three groups, each lead by experts in their field, were then sent into the woods to see what they could find…..

The exciting news is that all the results have been analysed by the university’s team (pictured on the day below, with DVW volunteers), and have now been published on our website in the ‘Wildlife’ section, here.

A big thank you to everyone who took part and helped organise, particularly Deborah, Hannah & Judy of CCCU – we particularly enjoyed the fish n chips! The university has also written about this event on their excellent Grapevine+ blog , you can read more here.


10 years of tree planting at Dane Valley Woods

Yes it’s hard to believe – tree planting has taken place at Dane Valley Woods since 2003 – and to celebrate, on 27 January 2013 we are holding a 10th anniversary tree plant. Basically, it’s our birthday party!

To get you in the mood, here is a video of Mike showing us how it should be done! How to plant a tree

And this is our snazzy new poster – feel free to download and distribute, to spread the word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rain glorious rain

After last year’s dry spring that caused much consternation for us tree planters as well as the loss of a good number of the trees that we planted we have been blessed by rain at the right time of the year for the 1000 or so trees that were planted this winter.  The trees are all looking healthy and their leaves are just beginning to burst.  Hopefully this year will see virtually no fatalities.  In order to help make sure this doesn’t happen, volunteers mulched many of these trees this morning with bark chippings very kindly provided by Thanet District Council.  Adding mulch around the trees will help make sure that weeds don’t grow up around the trees competing for moisture and nutrients as well as adding organic material slowly to the soil.  Here at Dane Valley Woods we would like to thank all of those who turned up and would like to apologise for all of the rain.  Unfortunately, the three hour window of sunshine that we had ordered didn’t turn up.  Thankfully, the trees didn’t seem to mind.


Treemendous volunteers plant 400 trees in 3 hours

A fantatsic effort by hardy volunteers at Dane Valley Woods planted around 400 trees on Saturday morning.  The site now boasts an impressive array of spindle, willow, hazel, dogwood, box, wild service tree and field maple whips that will form part of a community woodland in the heart of Margate.  Why not come and join us next Sunday (26th February) where we will do the same thing all over again.


It’s Tree Planting Time

This Sunday sees the first of this winter’s tree planting mornings at Dane Valley Woods.  Timed to coincide with National Tree Week Dane Valley Woods will be planting native trees in Margate’s own community woodland.

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Native tree species are those that were found in the United Kingdom before humans started moving plants and animals around.  We favour the planting of these trees as they have been a part of our environment for longer than other trees and generally more insects and other animals live on, in and around them.

Why not come and join us in the woods on Sunday 27th November or Sunday 11th December between 10am and 1pm.  This map will show you where the woodland is.


What on earth is a Fedge?

Willow used in Fedge

Not an everyday term is your actual fedge.  However, the idea is beautifully simple and with the help of AJS Crafts Dane Valley Woods have created one in their allotment HQ.  A fedge is an alternative to a hedge or fence but combines the properties of both to create a living willow border.  One year old willow stems are cut and then placed into the ground in the line of a hedge in a lattice formation.  These stems are then woven and tied into place.  These stems will then grow into living willow stems and create a semi permanent border as well as a beautiful structure.  Thanks to all of the people who helped out on the day as well as for the lovely food.

Liz, Kashmir & Fedge


Fedges, Fires and Food

We will be joined by woodland craftsman Alan Sage as we continue to improve the headquarters by planting a living willow woven fence (often called a fedge).  There will also be other tasks and we will have a fire with food.  Suitable for all ages.

We meet at the Dane Valley Woods HQ in Dane Valley Allotments at the end of St Peter’s Footpath or find us in the woodland.

There is no need to book but please let Steve know if you intend to come along as it helps us organise refreshments and tasks.

We provide all tools and safety equipment but please wear a sturdy pair of shoes.  All ages welcome.


A New Sign for Dane Valley Woods

We managed to avoid the showers to day and had a great time properly installing the pond, recreating the glade in the woods and creating a new sign to hang from the container at the HQ.  The pond is now installed and awaiting rainwater and we had a lot of help preparing a new sign for the container made out of objects found in the woodland.


Bats in the Woods!

Common Pipistrelle in flight

A “Bats & Moths” event was held last night, organised by the Windmill Community Allotment Project in conjunction with the Kent Bat Group. The assembled bat-hunters headed off into Dane Valley Woods at dusk, armed with special detectors that convert the bat’s high pitched calls to a noise that us humans can hear. We waited in the closing darkness on the cycle path leading through the middle of the woods, and then we heard them – a very quick pass as they are swift creatures in flight! Shirley, our bat expert, confirmed that due to the frequency at 45 kHz, we were hearing a Common Pipistrelle – using its call in the same way as sonar, to echo-locate insects to eat. To receive confirmation that there are these interesting creatures in the woods is very exciting, and can be added to the increasing list of flora and fauna that can be found within its boundaries. If you would like to become involved in helping to identify the biodiversity of the site, get in touch through our contact page – we’d love to hear from you!


New Events Programme

Dane Valley Woods have a new events programme so that you will know exactly when we are up and active as well as what we are up to.  There are some great events coming up includeing joint events with our neighbours the Windmill Community Allotment Project and with the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society as well as the usual tree planting and woodland management.  You can download a copy of the Events Programme by clicking here.  Don’t forget that there are also more details on the Events Page.


DVW joins forces with Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society

Dane Valley Woods are in the final stages of arranging a partnership with the Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society to investigate the original route of St Peter’s Footpath.  Geophysical surveys will eventually be carried out to find out if the footpath used to run through Dane Valley Woods, and we will then be digging some test pits to see if this is the case and if there are any other archaeological finds that might indicate the nature of activities that used to go on in Dane Valley Woods.  The first event will be on Saturday August 13th but check out the events page for more details.


A hot and sticky task day

With the trees happily growing in the wood last Sunday saw us crack on with revamping the Dane Valley Woods headquarters. This included painting the tool store and the newly installed outdoor classroom as well as starting to dig a pond. The pond will come as a welcome addition to the HQ and hopefully we will be able to add pond dipping to the range of things that people can do at Dane Valley Woods.  Having said that, the hot weather and hitting chalk did make this a tough job.  The tool store and the outdoor classroom is now looking fantastic and we are having a big event next month with the Windmill Community Allotment Project.  Look out for more details in the events section.


Let’s all do a rain dance!

Whilst the dry, hot weather may be great for early season barbeques and working up a tan before you go on holidayit is not such good news for wildlife and especially bad news for newly planted trees.  Newly planted trees are particularly vulnerable to drout as their roots have not had time to fully establish and be able to seek out water from deep in the ground.  As we planted over 1000 tree last winter and there is no way to water all the trees we are deperate for rain as some of the trees are looking quite sickly already.  So next time it rains, don’t moan about the British weather and think about how the Dane Valley Woods trees will be breathing a huge sigh of relief.