All posts by Sidney Piggott

Spring and Bluebells

by Trevor Morgan

Spring heralds some of the most beautiful and inspiring sights in our woodlands with the blooming of our native bluebells. One of the best places to see our favourite flower is in Darrick Wood. At the time of writing (early May 2017) the bluebells are starting to die back but there are areas which are still blanketed with these iconic flowers. Continue reading

The Sounds of Humans in Darrick Woods

by Trevor Morgan

For a long time I have thought that human beings make far too much noise but not with their voices: our world is filled up with too much mechanically driven noise. I like to go to Darrick Woods to try to find some peace and quiet but some mechanical noise always disturbs me eventually. Usually, it is the constant noise of the traffic on the A21 and the airplanes taking off and landing at Biggin Hill but Zumba – come off it. Continue reading

The Ticks of Darrick Wood

by Trevor Morgan

There has been a lot of news lately about ticks. It has been claimed that 1 in 3 dogs attending veterinary surgeries are carrying a tick. Ticks are related to spiders and these arachnids can give a bite which usually goes un-noticed by the host animal. The tick then engorges itself with blood and when fully fed it falls off the host to lay eggs. Continue reading

Woodland Walk with Doctor Judy John

On Saturday 9th of April we did the Darrick Wood Walk with Doctor Judy John. This followed up quickly from the Woodland Year talk by Simon Ginnaw at Beeche. Dr Judy’s introduction to the woodland species found in Darrick Wood helped to put Simon’s talk into context in a live environment.

Judy’s presentation inspired me into doing some research into the species which I would have just passed by when running or walking through the woods.

There are many plant species which act as indicators of ancient woodland including wild garlic, wood anemone and wood sorrel. Continue reading

The super moon and its total eclipse

by Trevor Morgan

Supermoon1A total lunar eclipse of the super moon is a rare occurrence: the last one was in 1982 and the next one will occur 2033.

I looked forward to it with increasing anticipation and excitement. Luckily the observing conditions were excellent during the early hours of Monday morning the 28th September 2015. The weather was also kind, so there was no need for a thick coat and gloves.

The super moon is supposed to appear 14% bigger and 30 % brighter than an ordinary full moon so I began to observe the moon before the eclipse started. I could not honestly say that the super moon looked any different to an ordinary full moon. Our memories are short after we make observations and it is difficult to remember how bright the full moon is from one month to the next. Continue reading

Dark skies from Tubbenden Meadow by Trevor Morgan

When I was a young lad living in West Wales in the 1950s I had no problem finding a location without any light pollution as all I had to do was walk about half a mile from my village. It was easy to see the Milky Way and recognise the constellations. Orion in particular was a wonderful sight and you could easily see its nebula with the naked eye. The night sky was an inspirational sight and my sense of wonder and awe at seeing the heavens in their full glory has not diminished and it still stimulates my imagination. Continue reading

Summer Migrants on the Way!

Gary1In the next few weeks our woods will be full of the sounds of birds singing. Males make themselves known at this time to attract mates and to establish and maintain their territories. They add to the resident birds like Great tits as they call ‘teacher, teacher’ and the drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Soon we will be hearing Chiffchaffs as they sing throughout the woodland like their name implies.

 

 

 

Gary2Later Blackcaps and Garden Warblers will add to the chorus with their melodious, bubbly song. Approximately the size of a House Sparrow, the male has a black cap on his head, while the female has a brown cap.

Look out for these new arrivals as you wander through the woods in Spring!

Keeping Fit In Darrick Wood

Image0019 (1)Last year my wife and I took up running to keep fit. We reckoned that the school playing field near the tennis courts and bounded by Darrick Wood would be a good place to train. We found it to be perfect. We were a little hesitant to run far at first and planned four laps of the track, just over 1600 metres, but we were pleasantly surprised that we achieved over 3,000 metres on our first run.

We have always been avid walkers and we often walk through Darrick Wood to get to Downe village via Farnborough. The walking had stood us in good stead to achieve a medium distance on our first run.

The track and the paths through the woods and Tubbenden meadow are ideal for running. The ground has plenty of give in it and it is much easier on the knee joints than running on the streets. Continue reading

Darrick Wood – March / April 2014

P1000934by Pat Collinson
We do love to discuss the weather, don’t we – and the first ten weeks of 2014 have given us plenty to discuss – with confirmation by the MET Office that it has been the wettest winter on record. I confess that I am a “statistic addict” and have kept daily weather details since 1982 – so here are the local rainfall figures for the start of 2014.  January 228mm, February 143mm, and March (up to the 21st) 24mm – a total of almost 16 inches compared to other parts of the country (Somerset for instance) this is paltry, but we are considered to be one of the driest areas and it certainly felt pretty wet!!  The previous wettest start was 2001 with 335mm, which included the whole of March (113mm) and made a total of about 13½ inches . . . So what surprises has the coming Spring got in store for us?  Two inches of snow in April?  A hosepipe ban in May? Continue reading

Winter 2013

By Pat Collinson

It is hard to believe, as I write this, that there are only seven weeks to go before we welcome the new year. Will 2014 give us better weather than 2013? I do hope so!

At the end of May the Met Office announced that it had been the coldest Spring for 50 years, and temperatures continued unseasonably mixed — June 30th max 78°f (approx. 26°C) but July 2nd chilled out at a max of 58°f (14°C), a shivering drop of 20°f!! July 6th gave us a max of 78°f — then down to 70°f by July 11th — but on 13th we hit 82°f, and the mini heat wave continued (too hot for some—myself included!) for two weeks reaching a sizzling 88°f (31°C) on 22nd July. August stayed mostly in the 70—72°f range — comfortable but seeming rather cool for the (usually) hottest month of Summer — and the 24th and 25th were two of the wettest days of the year, with a combined total of 49mm — just missing 2 inches (50mm) of rain. I have been asked several times what the rainfall totals were for September and October, so here they are — September 96mm, October 110mm — compared to 2012, 61mm, 137mm and 2011, 29mm, 27mm. 2012 was one of our wettest years, with a total of 943mm, and 2011 was one of our driest years with a total of 605mm. And I apologise to all readers who are falling asleep form boredom — no more weather — except to say thank goodness the October 2013 storm was not as fierce and destructive as the infamous 16th October 1987. Earlier in the summer we were told we might expect a particularly spectacular show of Autumn colour — but the foliage of trees and bushes remained stubbornly green as September and October passed! The Field Maples took on their lovely yellow hue and Oaks mingled ochre and rusty tones with their green — but the winds of October have brought down a lot of leaves and the dominant hue is still green! Continue reading