Ramblings from Finemere Wood

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

With Christmas festivities behind us for another year, it is time to venture out into the woods again, to crack on with the winter work in preparation for the spring. Waterproof boots and mud-proof clothing are a necessity following months of heavy rain. The work area is a quagmire, through which the volunteers will spend many happy hours sliding and squelching.

Pete Bray (BBOWT’s North Buckinghamshire Reserves Officer) and his chainsaw gang have been at Finemere Wood in the volunteers’ absence, to cut down those larger trees, which even the most mighty and foolhardy would not attempt with a hand saw.

The spoils are left for the mud splattered workers to cut and sort into bonfire material, fencing stakes and logs. The creative amongst us scavenge for odds and ends of wood to turn into spoons, bowls, birdbaths, and trellises. 

Meanwhile, Pete and his mob head up the track to tackle some immense conifer trees. A Forestry Commission site in the 1970s, large areas of this ancient woodland became a timber plantation. Over the years, since BBOWT’s ownership, these conifers are gradually being removed, making room for the regeneration of native trees. A small number of conifers will be left as they provide an important habitat for some species.

Red kite

Red kite by Jon Hawkins/Surrey Hills photography

The red kite (Milvus milvus), soaring and circling effortlessly in our Buckinghamshire skies, is a familiar sight to all.

Once persecuted to near extinction by humans, they were successfully reintroduced in the late 1980s, Buckinghamshire being one of the release sites. Slow to disperse, the red kite is yet to become a common sight across the whole country.

A large, russet brown bird of prey, with a long forked tail and a wingspan approaching two metres, it scavenges for food, eating carrion and small mammals. Milvus milvus likes to nest high up in tall trees, such as conifers, in open woodland. Nests are made of twigs, lined with grass and sheep’s wool. Just prior to egg laying, the nest will be decorated with paper, rags, plastic, crisp packets and other such treasures. If it proves to be successful, a nest will be used in future years, more material being added year on year. There are few less conifers in Finemere Wood now, but plenty still for the red kite to enjoy. 

Explore Finemere Wood The National Grid works, along the track into the wood, have now been completed and so there is public access once again. But be warned, it is a very muddy and pot-holed walk.

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 23 January, Thursday 13 February, Thursday 27 February, Thursday 12 March;  Thursday 26 March, all 9.30am-3pm.