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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.