Events Archive - 2017
September - Work Morning
Conditions were chilly but bright for the first work morning of the year. Our magnificent 7 volunteers tackled scrub clearance in several areas of the wood, removing nettle, bramble and privet growth in order to allow smaller plants and spring bulbs to come through.
The top path through the woodland was also made more accessible by removing overhanging vegetation. As usual, several bags of litter were collected along the way. Wild cyclamen are already starting to appear in the wood, heralding the start of Autumn. Thanks to all who took part.
September - Family Owl Prowl, with Ian McGuire
Around 25 prowlers joined Ian McGuire on a slightly damp September evening to learn more about British owls and attempt to catch a glimpse of some local tawny owls. Ian gave a fascinating presentation on all aspects of UK owls including the different species, their behaviour, threats and conservation.
Unfortunately Ridge Wood's owls once again proved elusive on the night, however a good time was had by all. Many thanks to Ian for an excellent evening.
More information can be found on Ian's website, Wild Owl TV.
May - Wildflower Walk, with Rupert Higgins
April - Work Morning
A fantastic team of ten willing volunteers participated in our work morning today. A large quantity of litter was cleared from the woodland, and we were able to carry out some maintenance of the young trees planted on our February workday - it was pleasing to see that a large number of these appear to be doing well and becoming established in their new location.
This week we have also completed our annual survey of Spanish bluebells and their hybrids within the wood. We are aiming to remove the hybrid plants each season, in order to allow the native bluebells at the site to flourish. Fewer Spanish bluebells were present compared with the previous two surveys, which is very encouraging. All non-native plants that were identified were safely removed today.
Thank you very much to all who came along to help, especially our new volunteers.
Click here for more photos
February - Tree Planting and Coppicing
This morning a keen group of volunteers of all ages set about planting some new native British trees along the side of the main path towards the Quarry Road entrance. Hopefully these trees will grow up over the coming months and years to help form a screen in front of the industrial buildings at this end of the woodland.
The volunteers also coppiced some more hazel trees in the central part of the wood which should allow sunlight to reach the spring bulbs which are already starting to poke through.
Thanks to all who came along to help.
( Click on the above pic for more photos )
January - Woodland Management Training
This morning a group of our regular volunteers met up with Anna Brunton from the Forest of Avon Trust to receive some training in woodland management.
Topics covered included tree planting, coppicing and the safe and effective use of tools for a variety of essential tasks. The session included the opportunity to gain some valuable hands-on experience. The Forest of Avon Trust is a Bristol-based charity promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of woodland.
Many thanks to Anna for her time and expertise.
Hat tip to Geoff, Jill and Sarah for the pictures
Events Archive - 2016
October - Photography Competition
Many thanks for all the entries to our Photo Competition.The lucky winners have been advised.
Click here to view the winning entries.
September - Evening Bat Walk
Over 30 bat walkers turned up for a relaxed walk through the Wood. The Bat Detectors worked well and identified Pipistrelle Bats feeding on the insects /moths which were in abundance due to the fine weather.
Also we suspect that Soprano Pipistrelle bats were present and possibly a Serotine Bat call was heard.
Many thanks to Stuart Rowden and Richard Cook, from the Avon Bat Group,for the entertaining and informative talk prior to the walk.
South Gloucester Council have an interesting page on their site concerning local Bat Audio Trails. Link to this here.
or open a pdf file re the Trails here.
Summer - Photo Competition
View the winning entries here
August - Forest Fun Time
A beautiful day for this year's event. Many thanks to all who came and to the many helpers who made the day such a success.
Nice to see an increase, on last year, of children enjoying the woods.
This year 65.
Also, a big vote of thanks to Hansons and Waitrose for their wonderful support.
May - Evening Chorus Walk - with Ed Drewitt
April - Work Morning - Bluebell Conservation Day
This morning a small group of volunteers continued our bluebell conservation work, removing a handful of groups of Spanish bluebell plants from the woodland to prevent their spread and hybridisation with the native British flowers. It was heartening to see that, following last year's efforts, only a small number of non-native plants remained. The bluebell showing in Ridge Wood this year is particularly good, thanks in part to the work of the Friends cutting back denser vegetation such as bramble and blackthorn in order to allow the smaller plants to thrive. Other spring flowers such as wood anemone and wild cyclamen were also on show.
Further work undertaken today included a litter pick on all of the main woodland paths.
February - Work Morning
Work completed included; main path litter pick, bramble and blackthorn clearance and some fine dead-hedging.
This ground clearance will improve the display of bluebells this year.
Sunday - 24th January - Work Morning
A very successful morning concentrating on Bramble Clearance
Events Archive - 2015
August - Forest Fun Time
On this beautiful sunny evening a group of over 20 people joined guide Ed Drewitt for an evening chorus walk in the woodland, and were rewarded with sightings (and soundings) of a fantastic variety of bird species. Signs of spring abounded, including the sight of a swallow swooping above, and numerous birds getting on with the vital business of raising young. After a brief flypast from a greater spotted woodpecker, the sound of woodpecker chicks on the nest could be clearly heard. Another nesting species seen and heard on the walk was the great tit, making use of one of the woodland nestboxes.
Thanks to Edís expertise, several bird species were identified by their calls, including chaffinches, a wren, and a blackcap which later put in a visual appearance. A woodpigeon was heard clapping its wings, part of its display flight indicating that the breeding season is here. Dunnocks were heard calling to one another, and this familiar Ridge Wood inhabitant was later spotted feeding on the path in front of the group. Long-tailed tits were also heard making their contact calls in the trees above.
As well as commoner species such as robins and blue-tits, walkers were also treated to the sight of several less familiar birds, notably a fantastic male bullfinch singing away, resplendent in his bright pinky-red breeding plumage, and a treecreeper making its way up a trunk. Another real treat was a sighting of a goldcrest. The goldcrest is the UKís smallest bird, weighing only 5-7 grams (approximately the same as a 10p piece!). As its name suggests it is recognisable by the distinctive black and yellow stripe on its head (with an orange centre in males), and by its thin high-pitched call. If you are patient, these beautiful birds can in fact regularly be seen in Ridge wood.
The final stretch of the walk took the group through St Johnís Park for a final surprise Ė the sight of a mistle thrush with young! The larger cousin of the more familiar Song Thrush, the mistle thrush has a pale brown back and black-spotted front and is a common inhabitant of both woodland and parkland in the UK.
Our thanks to Ed for a wonderfully informative evening, and to all who came along to support the event.
February - Work Morning
Another good day for the work crew. The area cleared in January was planted with 60 snowdrops ( in the green ) to boost the existing cover.
Further coppicing and clearance of overhanging branches was completed and the main path cleared of litter.
Increased squirrel activity was also noted.
Many thanks to all the helpers who turned out for the morning.
January - Work Morning
It was great to have a large and enthusiastic group of 11 volunteers at our first work morning of the year. We set to work clearing brambles and blackthorn from the edges of some of the main woodland paths. Quite a large area was cleared, which should allow smaller plants including wildflowers to come through again this spring. We also cleared a substantial amount of litter from the top of the wood, and tidied up one of the entrances to the wood off Jubilee Gardens. It was lovely to see primroses already emerging and a good number of birds flitting about and singing away as we worked.
Events Archive - 2014
June - Guided Nature Walk
April - Spring Clearance Day
A hard working team, from the Youth section of the Gateway Revival Church, carried out a splendid spring clean of the paths in the wood.
Work days are a fantastic way to make a practical contribution to the future of this important local nature reserve, and are great fun. New volunteers are always welcome.
Events Archive - 2013
October - Owl Prowl
This year's prowl was well attended by all, except for the owls!
Despite a clear, dry evening they were nowhere to be seen.
Prowlers were treated to lots of owl info from Ian McGuire, illustrated with photos & videos on his tablet.
Misty the Barn Owl made an appearance at the end, in time for a question and answer session.
Events Archive - 2012
November - Woodland Work Day
What a great morning to be out in the fresh air!
The sun shone and the spindle berries sparkled.
A small but hard working crew made a good job of clearing the main path verges of nettles & brambles. Also, the oak sign posts at all the entrances were oiled, ready for the winter.
October - Ridge Wood Conservation Day
Thanks to the large turn out for this event, the woodland ended up looking much tidier and the Quarry Road entrance was pruned & cleared ready for winter.
Nice to see new faces joining our work crew and we extend a warm welcome to all.
October - Wonders of the Universe - Star Gazing
This event, held in The Old Grammar School, was fully booked and the audience were treated to an informed talk, by Callum Potter of the Cotswold Astronomy Society, on all things astronomical, including comets and meteors.
Unfortunately, the cloud cover closed in, so the visit to St Johns Park was cancelled.
October - Owl Prowl
Despite the competition from Halloween and heavy rain during the first part of the evening, around 45 prowlers were welcomed by Ian McGuire & Jaz for the annual search for Tawny Owls.
Unfortunately the owls stayed warm,dry & quiet, so we hope that next year's session will be more successful.
January - Work Morning - Coppicing
More than a dozen volunteers met up, on a fresh but dry Sunday morning to learn about and try coppicing the hazel clumps at the north end of Ridge Wood.
In addition, the cut trunks and branches are put to good use as dead-hedging material providing ideal nesting habitat for wrens etc.
Events Archive - 2011
October - Owl Prowl
Ian McGuire led a group of 50+ prowlers through the Ridge Wood in search of the resident tawny owls. At the various stops to play recorded owl calls to entice the birds down, Ian also described the different types of owl, their calls and environmental requirements, supported by video displays on his trusty iPad.
Despite hearing continuous call backs from the owls in the tree tops, we were limited to a brief glimpse of fluttering wings, so were glad to see Jaz at the end of the walk.
July - Mutt Strut & Fun Dog Show
Dog Walk, led by Mike Drew.
Plus a Fun Dog Show.
February - Wildflower Planting
A dozen volunteers turned out to help create the Wildflower Area, at the Quarry Road entrance to the wood, as part of the tenth anniversary of the formation of The Friends of Ridge Wood.
Work started by digging over the beds, scarifying the seed area and pruning existing woodland shrubs.
A curve of Dogwood, Hawthorn and Wayfaring was planted to extend the current hedgeline.
Finally, the prepared area was scattered with the seeds of numerous types of woodland plants such as cowslips etc and we will be including an update to this article when, hopefully, the results of our labours come into bloom.
February - Youth Volunteer Work Day
A hardworking team from the Youth Section of the Gateway Revival Church have been busy in the wood as part of their community volunteering program.
Work included litter picking, dead hedging and ground levelling.
The results will be appreciated by all who visit the wood.
The team enjoy a well earned break for refreshments, supplied by the Friends of Ridge Wood Catering Department.
Events Archive - 2010
December - Presentation Dinner
At the annual christmas dinner 2010, the current chairman, Roy Bishop, presented the walnut platter to the founding chairman, Peter Capnos.
This beautiful platter has been turned and carved from a piece of wood from one of the original walnut trees in Ridge Wood.
November - Nature's Decorations
A very special visitor greeted the young decorators at the Ridgewood Centre where the workshop started with drinks and nibbles, laid on by the FoRW Catering section.
Around twelve youngsters set to, with glue, pine cones, glitter and yet more glue!
October - Owl Prowl
Around 74 prowlers joined Ian McGuire for the ever popular search for wild owls in Ridge Wood. Unfortunately, the owls were conspicuous by their absence.
However, this resulted in Jaz the Tawny Owl being the star of the show.
October - It's Your World
A most successful event, opened by Richard Angwin.
Our local MP, Steve Webb, also expressed an interest in the Woodland Display Board and Rolling Photo Presentation on our new laptop.
Providing traditional country dance music were the excellent Packhorse Band
From the many visitors who stopped to enquire, we were pleased to welcome four new members to our group.
We do hope that this will become an annual event on the ecological calendar.
September - Bats Along the FromeMany thanks to Richard & Michelle Cook, from the Avon Bat Group, for an introduction to the amazing world of the bat. At St John's Meadow, Richard briefed us on the likely types of bat to be encountered, out of the 17 species in the UK
An enthusiastic group of twelve, armed with Bat Detectors ( see below ) headed toward the Frome and the detectors soon began clicking and popping, triggered by the ultra sonic sound waves from the bats.
Across the road and walking behind the church by the riverside, even more bats were heard and could be seen in the torch beams, wheeling and swooping across the hedges.
At the flood plain area, by Quarry Road, there was so much bat activity that the group never made it to Ridge Wood. Unfortunately the bats flew too quickly for this photographer to catch a decent picture!
A superb detector available from Batbox.Com
Warning: These could be seriously addictive!!
July - Woodfest
Woodfest 2010 was very well attended and a wide variety of crafts and woodland based activities were available. Feedback from visitors confirms that this bi-annual event continues to entertain.
May - Wild Flower WalkDespite the extended cold weather there were numerous exhibits to view when local wildflower expert, Rupert Higgins, led today's 'Wild Flower Walk' on a circuit of Ridge Wood.
Over twenty walkers attended and all were amazed at the variety to be seen. Rupert identified the different species, plus their latin and countryside names.
We were advised which ones were edible and which were poisonous, although no one appeared to do the taste test!
Many thanks to Rupert and his family for a very enjoyable and informative Sunday afternoon.
For more info, check out the Natural History Museum website here
The collage below contains just a few of the plants we saw. A larger version, in a separate window, is available with a mouse click.
Events Archive - 2009
November - Nature's Decorations
Jo Wright, of Organic Blooms inspects the willow frame for the next Festive Wreath. Following Jo's guidance and using the materials supplied, these frames quickly took shape producing wreathes, pentagons and garlands. All from nature's foliage.
The afternoon session proved to be a more popular choice than the morning one, so the two sessions were combined. The Ridgewood Centre soon became a hive of activity, with more than the planned 20 places catered for.
October - Heavy Horse Demo
Doug Joiner and Ella ably demonstrated the benefits of using traditional horse logging methods in a woodland environment.
Visitors were amazed at the way large logs were manouvered around trees, down muddy slopes and positioned accurately, for use as the base for future dead hedging. All this was completed using less than seven quietly spoken commands from Doug.
During the tea breaks he explained the harness and equipment being used. The traces connected to the swingle tree connected to the choker chain!
Ella is a Percheron mare standing some 17 hands ( 1.7m ). Originating in the Le Perche region of Normandy and bred for their hardiness, better balance and good temper, they were found to be particularly suitable for drawing artillery and general transport during WWI. Fortunately these qualities are now put to more peaceful use.
When all the jobs were finished Ella returned to base for a good meal of mash and the youngest visitors were given the chance to groom her.
The rest of us made for the tea & biscuits supplied by the Friends of Ridge Wood Catering Section ( managed by Pat Nicholls ) who had been doing a steady trade throughout the afternoon.
Sadly Doug passed away peacefully in 2014 and we have retained this link to his website as a tribute to him. Please visit Doug's website at www.heavyhorses.net for details of his achievements.
For more information on the Percheron Breed try www.percheron.org.uk
October - Owl Prowl
Ian McGuire, pictured above with Jaz the Tawny Owl, led a large crowd of over 120 through the moonlit Ridge Wood on the trail of the Tawny Owls.
After two or three stops, where he played a recording of owl calls, he managed to entice at least three owls into the tree tops near by. We heard the male then the female owl responding, also the aggressive 'Clear off' call directed at us, the intruders.
Ian gave descriptions of many different types of owls and the reasons why their droppings, or 'owl pellets', can tell you a lot about their diet etc.
At last the owls appeared, caught in the strong beam of the torch, flying into the tree tops above to see what these 'intruders' were up to. A truly magnificent sight, as the reaction of the crowd confirmed.
Back at the start we were introduced to Jaz, see above, and there were many questions from a very enthusiastic audience.
Do visit Ian's website, Wild Owl Educational Services, for more owl facts, examples of owl nesting boxes and to listen to sound clips of owl calls. Also learn about Jaz' TV and movie appearances!
Note: Fresh, new site updated for 2010
If you want to know even more about Owl Pellets visit this page on RSPB website.
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