December is traditionally the time for looking back over the year before looking ahead to the new one, which will undoubtedly be better and shinier with all the New Year’s resolutions we’ve so carefully made. The effects of too much eating and drinking can easily fool us all into making promises to ourselves that are harder to keep than to make!
However, weaving back through the Jubilee Wood memories of 2019, a tapestry of happy and interesting activities has been built up and stored on many a smart phone. Events such as pond dipping, creating art from nature, the making of hay and celebration of the summer solstice are just a few of the community get togethers that have taken place in the wood. The weather favoured some and not others but even that was always a useful reminder that we still can’t control that part of nature. After a dry spring, a mixed summer and a very wet late winter, inky black stretches of water can now be seen underneath the hardy hawthorns, and the pond has risen to new heights in an attempt to break its banks.
What went on in 2019?
The Jubilee Wood continues to be a place of quiet reflection for many as well as a fascinating place for anyone interested in nature and wanting to learn new things. The Huntingdonshire Fauna and Flora Society came and carried out a survey in June which is a useful benchmark regarding what can be found in the wood, and volunteers could help to build on the information by helping with a short survey in 2020 – watch this space for further details! The pop up events which took place throughout the year are a testimony to the generosity of those people who organised them and gave their time and expertise free of charge, as well as the interest that many of us have in learning something new. Perhaps for some of us it’s a case of revisiting things we had long forgotten, but sometimes that brings with it the memories of childhood pleasures such as the first time we went pond dipping or had different trees pointed out to us….. how many of us can recite different rhymes we learnt long ago about Oaks and Ashes or not casting a clout before May is out? According to the Friends of the Earth, half of the people in Britain who took part in a study couldn’t identify an oak leaf! Very unscientific as no details are given about the people who took part but perhaps we could all get more pleasure from nature if we understood a little more about it. The link to their tree quiz is at the end of the blog if you’re interested.
What’s in store for 2020?
Looking forward to 2020 there will surely be many more fun and interesting events in the wood as long as people support this wonderful resource we have. Volunteers continue to manage the woodland by cutting back intrusive brambles and young hawthorn, and planting up new areas such as the holly copse.
You may have already spotted a couple of new additions as you wander around, especially if you’re a dog walker. The new dog pooh bin at the entrance should be a great help to dog owners, making it easier to keep the wood clean for everyone. There is also a new …….art installation? or bird hide?…….. which has been created just off one of the main paths of the wood. A wonderful example of how waste material from the wood (in this case coppiced hazel) can be used to provide both a functional bird hide which fits in perfectly with its surroundings as well as something beautiful to look at. Anyone for willow weaving sculptures next year?!
Finally, thanks to all the volunteers who, throughout the year, give their time to maintaining Jubilee Wood but especially to Michael who keeps the show on the road. Without his enthusiasm and hard work the wood could easily lose the diversity of species which is slowly but surely being built up. Sustainable woodland management allows a habitat to become a wonderful place, much loved by humans and of great benefit to plants and animals when managed well. Many people contribute in different ways to make our community wood a special place; making and positioning bird boxes, turning up on cold wet days with secateurs and strimmers to help manage the wood, cooking delicious cakes and soups for community events.
Hopefully, many more people will enjoy and share in the wood in 2020. Happy New Year.
The Wood Wanderer