Category Archives: Organised walks

BAT WALK – Friday 7 September at 7.30pm

It’s time to  adjust your night vision for the now annual Bat Walk.  After a short intro – next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park – Les Clark will lead the walk through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied!

This time we ask that you book your free place in advance using;

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bat-walk-tickets-48480937790 

A maximum of 50 people allows everyone to get the most out of the experience.  If you don’t have computer access please drop a note through the door at 189 Plum Lane with your name and phone number.

Wear suitable footwear (maybe bug spray too) and bring a small torch if you have one. The walk is approximately 1 1/2 hours. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead.

If it’s raining neither bats nor us will be coming out!

Habitats Walk: Shrewsbury Park and Woodlands Farm Sunday 24 June 1 – 3.30pm

FSP and Woodlands Farm have collaborated to offer a relaxing ramble through these two diverse green spaces. It will be a  meandering walk discovering varied habitats, plants, wildlife and atmospheres.

Walk begins at the car park entrance to Shrewsbury Park on Plum Lane and includes the woods, Dothill allotments and nature reserve. We then follow Barry Gray through the Dothill gate to Woodlands Farm taking in more woods, hedgerows and the hay meadows in full bloom.  Endpoint is the café with refreshments available! You can retrace the route to the Park or take the 89 or 486 bus back up the hill.

Cost: £2 – Children up to 16 go free.  We will be walking through fields containing ewes and lambs, so sorry, NO DOGS allowed on this walk.

Wear sturdy shoes and clothes for the weather on the day. Any questions about accessibility etc. please contact werfs@gmail.com

Bee-autiful day for a Pollen Walk

The weather gods were smiling on Sunday 13 May, as we gathered in the park to look at bee behaviour around the blossoming flowers, ably guided by local Apiarist, John Large.

The idea was to mark some foraging honey bees, with a view to finding them in the apiary hives later, but the bees proved (mainly) elusive.

Walking through Shrewsbury Park – May 2018

We then departed for Oxleas Wood Apiary, where after a short, but informative talk, beekeeping suits and gauntlets were passed round, preparing us to get up close and personal with the bees.

Opening up the hives identifying the Queens, and seeing the way the pollen, nectar, honey and bee larvae were stored was a real eye-opener.

Later on, we even got a chance to taste the amazing honey – a great day with a very sweet ending!

More photos here

Thanks go to John Large – find out more about his Beekeeping courses and Apiary Days now.

Foraging Walk a delicious success!

If you’ve ever wondered how you’d survive if you were stranded in the woods over a weekend, our local foraging expert, Kevin Godby is the man to ask.

On Sunday 6 May, 26 residents gathered, eager to learn more about foraging. Amongst the edible plants were, black mustard, nettles, ground elder and ash keys (samples of which Kevin had pickled last year). See a list of our Foraging_Finds

As the group munched their way through the park, he talked about how the first communities would have used foraging to supplement their diets, eating small amounts from each plant. It is an important thing to note, as this would stop any digestion problems from eating too much of a particular plant.

Kevin works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency, delivering the Growing Greenwich project at 5 locations in Greenwich Borough. It allows local residents to attend free, drop in gardening sessions and is part of the Good Food in Greenwich network.

To find out more about Growing Greenwich please contact:

Kevin Godby  on 020 8269 4880 or email Kevin on Kevin@gcda.org.uk

Update: Kevin has some recipe advice for fellow foragers:

The cherry plum jam I made had less sugar than ‘proper jam’ as it is kept in the fridge. To make it I squeezed out the stones as I worked through the pile of fruit and cooked in a preserving pan.

The hogweed omelette would have been tastier if I had ignored the poor advice online that says frying brings out the flavour. If I were doing it again, I would use a smaller amount of the youngest fresh leaves, chopped fine, perhaps steamed for a couple of minutes to soften, and stirred into the egg just before cooking.

I based my pickled ash keys on the parts of several recipes I liked the look of but this one is a decent starting point, the main thing is to boil them and discard the water a few times to remove the bitterness before making the vinegar. Use cider vinegar and brown sugar. I didn’t include ginger as I didn’t want it to overpower the other flavours. Some recipes add curry type spices which doesn’t appeal to me. The harvesting timing is crucial, they need to be quite small and not be at all stringy when tasted raw from the tree, but soon the bunches of keys will be hidden by the leaves until they suddenly become too big.

Link to recipe for Rowan Jelly (ignore the waffle that precedes the recipe, and can use ordinary apples instead of crab apples).

Enjoy!

Shrewsbury Park Pollen Foraging Walk and Apiary Visit – Sunday 13 May

Sunday 13 May, meeting at Shrewsbury Park Car Park
(entrance on Plum Lane)
11am – 2pm
Ever wondered where honeybees gather their pollen to make nectar and then delicious honey? Or what the link is to local honey relieving the symptoms of hayfever?
Join us for a walk through Shrewsbury Park identifying which plants are in bloom and taking samples of pollen using tweezers and poly bags – also watching the honey bees foraging on the plants.
Afterwards, we have tickets for 10 lucky members to visit the Oxleas Apiary to see the bees in action – we might examine some microscopic slides of pollen samples too!
We can accommodate much more than 10 on the walk but only 10 at the Apiary session 
Children are welcome on the Park walk, but not at the Apiary session which is held at the Council’s depot, meaning it could be dangerous for them – also, no pet dogs please!
Here are some links that might be useful if you are thinking of joining us for the event – http://www.largeassociates.com/cz1000/QuestionsandAnswers/BeeCatcher.html
Access to the Apiary is from Kenilworth Gardens, into Crown Woods Lane, 1st right by Jack Wood Cottage, then 1st right again through the black gates (that may appear locked), into the depot yard and congregate near the parked YELLOW council lorries.
Finally, please read the Oxleas Wood Apiary Risk Assessment and for the visit wear a stout or preferably toe protected footwear and try to avoid using heavily scented soaps or perfume, as it can trigger hostility in the bees – more information on Health and Safety issues, bee stings, and Do’s and Don’ts when in the Apiary are available HERE: http://www.largeassociates.com/cz1000/YourPastQuestions.htm
Want to know how to book the Apiary session? just click through and register for free: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pollen-foraging-walk-tickets-45129025129 
p.s. if you would like to make up some pollen microscope slides in advance then we could view these through a microscope during the visit.

Spring Foraging Walk – Sunday 6 May at 2.30pm

Meet at Garland Road entrance This free walk will take about 1.5 hours and finish at the car park off Plum Lane.

Kevin Godby of GCDA leads the walk, suitable for beginners or those who want to revisit his Autumn foraging trail of last year in a new season. You will learn to identify around 18 common forageable species, be shown where they grow and taste some of them too!

You may also bring along something to take home the things you come across, if you wish. A small teaspoon might be handy too…

Please wear suitable footwear and be aware we will be walking uphill. This walk is aimed at adults. If you have questions about the route re mobility please contact werfsp@gmail.com so we can help. No dogs, please.

This is an all-weather walk!

 

Spotted on Bird Walk – Greater Blue Tree Climber!

Our Bird Walk was a success (despite grey skies) with an enthusiastic group of members plus some visiting RSPB spotters invited by Stuart.  Between them all 23 different species were identified. The visitors were impressed by the habitats and birds Shrewsbury Park has to offer.

Nicky Wilson of RSPB Bexley wrote a wonderfully detailed and interesting report and graciously agreed to share it, so I’ll leave you to reading it yourself on this link.  Thank you so much , Nicky!

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/groups/bexley/reports/

Guided Bird Walk – Saturday 24 March 9am start

Come join this FSP walk led by Stuart Banks, resident RSPB member, for an hour or two discovering what’s going on as the nesting season starts.  The birdsong is growing every day!

The full route will be somewhat up and down but leisurely. Sturdy shoes and binoculars would be helpful.  Email werfsp@gmail.com and we may be able to help with accessibility. Bus 291 stops at the gate.

Free to members, £2 for non-members.

Sorry no dogs, please.

This is a RAIN or SHINE walk!

Events in your Park for 2018 – UPDATED

A belated Happy New Year to all!

After furious, squirrel-style planting a small group of members managed to get all 2000 crocus and daffodil bulbs into the ground in November. These were free from our Parks and Open Spaces Dept. Keep an eye out for green shoots in the coming weeks…

SEE LINKS BELOW FOR EVENTS LIST (in Word and pdf formats) with details so far. Some favourites, some new ideas, all to be confirmed as the year progresses. See you soon!

Events in your Park (DOCX)

Events in your Park (PDF)

Foraging Adventure

Finding food in the Park

Sunday 10 September saw the much-anticipated Foraging Walk take place at Shrewsbury Park.  Around 35 local people attended the walk to learn which hedges, plants and trees to forage from, but also those to avoid. The park offers a huge array of plants which can be used as food in a raw state, cooked, or in the form of teas. Amongst others they sampled cherry plums, hops, sloes, ground elder, burdock, horseradish, yarrow and raspberries.

Kevin Godby, a local expert who works for Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) on their Growing Greenwich Project demonstrated how to find the seeds, berries and fruit and how to safely consume them. He shared home-made jam and produce that he had made from berries found in the park, pointing out where they grew as he went along the trail.

Explaining the delights of hawthorn

 

Kevin said: “It’s important to remember that foraging is about eating a little from a range of different fruit and not lots from one place, as the body needs variety and too much from one place can tip the balance the wrong way.”

 Kris Inglis, Chair of FSP said “we have all learnt so much about what we can and can’t consume from the hedgerows. It is amazing to find so much in one space, which will change with every season. Until today we knew little of this intriguing aspect of the park.

Michael in action

Michael Stuart, a keen forager from Kilburn also attended to offer his experience; his key advice is to observe an area to get to know it and see how it changes through the seasons which will lead to a deeper appreciation of the environment. He recommends winter and spring for the variety of fresh leaves available to add to salad.

By Sandra Bauer

Foraging finds:

  • Hogweed
  • Mustard
  • Cherry plums
  • Hops
  • Sloes
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Ground elder
  • Ash key
  • Elderberries 
  • Burdock
  • Horseradish
  • Yarrow
  • Raspberries
  • Acorns
  • Birch syrup – harvest in march
  • Chickweed
  • Oregon grape
  • Lime tree