Field Reports

Monday 20 May Northwood, Slindon National Trust

Leader David Hart and the National Trust Rangers

Rise of Northwood and other areas of interest

Eleven members met on the National Trust Estate and were joined by Gabby and Hannah, two Slindon Estate Rangers, who were kind enough to lead the walk.   As we walked along Stony Bottom track, Hannah took us back over a hundred years in time and explained that some 180 acres of woodland were felled to support the First World War dependency on wood.  Canadian soldiers did the hard work of felling, we looked at numbers carved in some of the mighty beech trees but no positive reason for these has ever been established!  This area was also used as a prisoner of war camp holding German personnel.  On a lighter note a blackcap sang just a few metres away and for once obliged by allowing us good views, a first for some folk.

Soon we arrived at the re-wilding area which was established 5 years ago, high deer fencing has allowed natural regeneration of a wide variety of vegetation which made us all realise how quickly nature will re-establish itself if left to its own devices. 

The newly created pond (partly sponsored by Chi Nats) was the next point of interest and needs time to blend in with the surrounding landscape but will become an important part of the jig-saw in establishing the ideal habitat for our much treasured feathered and furry friends.  Time allowed us to stroll up to the fast becoming  famous sculpture,  2.5 ton of Portland stone that since 2014 has been located in eight separate areas on the estate so that any passer-by could use their own imagination to interpret the Rise of Northwood.   Expert sculptor, John Edgar, put the finishing touches to this fascinating piece of work and I would highly recommend anybody going to admire it.  Littlewood Lookout is quite close to the sculpture and the new pond.  It is built entirely of wood from the estate and mostly by the Estate Rangers and again I highly recommend a visit on a warm summers evening, it really is the most tranquil of places to be (you might even spot the barn owls).  At that very moment two skylarks were singing their hearts out but none of us could spot them.

Our very pleasant walk was drawing to a close as we wandered across the area known as War Ag Five where Chi Nats have sponsored some standard trees, namely oak, beech, field maple and whitebeam, all are doing very well.  This area will become grazed parkland and is already open to the general public, serviced by several gateways strategically placed for easy access.

All evening our Chairman had been wandering around with our new portable bat detector and much to his relief and our delight, the bats came out about 21.15 hrs,  and he confidently recorded:  Common Serotine, Common Pipistrelle, Nathusius Pipistrelle, Noctule and Soprano Pipistrelle.

Hannah and Gabby were thanked for giving their time to make the evening so informative, relaxed and enjoyable. 

I suggest it could well become a very enjoyable annual evening.

David Hart

Older woods

Number 17 on the tree

Hannah explains the story of the Ancient and Heirs sculpture

The splendid new Littlewood Lookout

The newly built natural pond


A yellowhammer shows off his best side


Sad evidence of Ash dieback

Chichester, West Sussex

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