Ramblings from Finemere Wood

Charlotte Karmali brings the latest news from the volunteers at Finemere Wood.

December is upon us once again: the glorious, colourful autumn leaves are gathering on the ground, many trees are now stark and bare. The world can seem monochromatic at this time of year, particularly on those days when sun and sky are hidden from view by low dark clouds. All may be grey and gloomy and quiet in the woods, but there are still many creatures going about their daily business. 

The wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), inconspicuous and brown, blends in with ease to the December gloom. This tiny, secretive bird scuttles around in the dense undergrowth, near or on the ground, searching in crevices for insects and spiders.

Meaning “cave-dweller”, the scientific name may refer either to this behaviour or to their cave-like nests with only a small opening. One of the commonest birds in the UK, it is recognisable by its round body and short, narrow tail, which is invariably held upright.


Active and busy, Troglodytes troglodytes is a territorial bird. Come springtime, male wrens will build up to 12 unlined nests for their mate to chose from; the female will line the chosen one.

For one so small, the wren has an impressively loud and complex, hurried song, producing up to 700 notes per minute, which is a joy to hear. Most vocal in the spring, the wren can be heard singing all year round.


At this time of year, the Finemere Wood volunteers too can be spotted scuttling around in the undergrowth, adding a little colour to the wood with their lively banter, and energetic chopping. They too have an impressively loud and complex song which, unlike the wren, doesn’t quieten down over the winter months.

Despite a miserable weather forecast and the promise of getting thoroughly soaked, the turnout for the last work party of the year was commendable. The focus for the day, baking potatoes: a Christmas tradition loved by all. The challenge: to light a fire in the pouring rain; to build a bonfire hot enough to cook the lunch. It is worth the struggle in these adverse conditions, for the end result is a baked potato so delicious, nothing can compare.  

Come and join the Finemere Wood volunteers. Everyone's welcome and no experience is necessary!

Contact Charlotte for further information.

Next work party dates: Thursday 9 January, Thursday 23 January, Thursday 13 February, Thursday 27 February, all 9.30am-3pm.