Interesting events concerning the wood


On a monthly basis, we produce an article for the parish magazine in New Marske
Here is the latest one.

December
Woodlands are once again under threat, but this time it is not from a political force but an environmental one. As most folk will already be aware the dreaded Chalara Fraxinea is now killing Ash trees across Britain and, it seems, there is not a lot we can do about it.
"Ash dieback" was first identified in Poland in 1992 and now it is found widely across Europe. Scientists in this country are working hard to understand more about it but, for the moment, it is just a case of monitoring all locations where Ash grow. At the time of writing there is no evidence that the disease is in Errington Wood, but infected trees have been identified not far away so it may be just a matter of time. Policies on how to manage infected areas are changing by the day, all environmental agencies involved are avoiding any knee jerk reaction so mass felling and visitor restrictions are not likely. Whatever happens Britain will always have woodlands; other tree species will always fill the gap. There is a Chalara helpline for anyone wishing to report possible infected trees- 08459 33 55 77, or the web site plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or why not become a member of the Woodland Trust for Christmas.
On a more happy note, the Friends have been working in partnership with the Teesvalley Wildlife Trust’s Riggs Group (Regionally Important Geological Group), and have been successful in a Heritage Lottery bid to promote awareness about the geological importance of the quarry on the East side of our wood. A leaflet will be produced telling the geological story of site, the Dorman museum and local schools will be involved also access to the site improved. I will keep you updated about future events and activities.

September
We are just getting back to our regular Friday task days after the summer break; one job has been clearing some of the invasive scrub which has grown around gates, fences and walls at the picnic area. Usually at this time of the year the Damson, Plum and Greengage trees at the picnic site are laden with fruit, however, this year it’s a very poor crop, rain has obviously prevented any insect pollination. Those of you who regularly collect Sloes for Christmas Sloe Gin may also be disappointed this season.
Parents who regularly take their children to the play area may have noticed two large scorch marks on the ground near the play equipment, this was the result of a youth minority who ripped down fences to build a large fire one Saturday night. I would like to appeal to anyone who sees any antisocial behaviour in or around the wood to contact the police; we cannot afford to lose the play area as it will not be replaced in the present economical climate.
Meteorologists will admit they can’t give an accurate forecast for more than a week ahead, however, some papers are now predicting a long cold winter (what happened to the barbecue summer?). If birds are indicators of seasonal change the large flock of Pink Footed Geese we observed flying over the wood the other day are confirmation it is now getting too cold for them up at Greenland so they are now moving here for the winter.
Anyone with a special interest in woodlands and forestry can now take part in a government online survey, if you go to the Defra web site and click on "Rural and Countryside" then "Forestry" you will find "Shaping the Future of our Forests". This is your chance to express what woodlands really mean to you.
Of course we would rather you went for a walk in the wood than spend too much time on a computer, but while you are ‘surfing the net’ do check out our web site. www.foew.btck.co.uk
On a final note.. Congratulations and a big thank you to Marion, she provides us with delicious oven fresh scones at 10am every Friday, she won first prize for her scones in the summer show.

August
It seems unavoidable to write a little piece about the wood and not mention the weather, like it or not, the older you get the more you talk about it, (or is it just me?). The diverse weather patterns of Britain have shaped the landscape and allowed our mighty oaks to grow and without the rain our green and pleasant land would be quite different. That said, it still makes it very difficult to know what to wear when you go for a walk in the wood, wellies are not every ones cup of tea but it’s what has been needed recently. Path drainage is expensive to install and austerity measures are ruling out any investment from the land owner, however, a special mention should go to Ed who’s been improving the paths. He is one of our dedicated members who has been on a one man crusade, he works full time so he can’t make it to our Friday working party, but he does do his own thing in the wood on a Sunday, so if you see a lone figure pushing a wheel barrow or digging drainage channels at the side of a path please give him your support.
A lot of people are very interested in the mining heritage of the area, so please look out for a new trail leaflet published by the council, it focuses manly on a route between Eston and Skinningrove but New Marske and the Upleatham mines are featured.

June
Friends of Errington Wood
A walk around the wood at this time of the year may seem a quiet affair, gone are the heady days of spring when birds were in full voice pronouncing their territory. In July and August adult birds become cautious and keep a low profile as they moult and renew worn out feathers, it may seem quite extreme but they are not in their peak of fitness during this period and are vulnerable to predators. However, if you listen carefully you can hear weird and wonderful sounds coming from high in the canopy, these are the begging calls of young birds which have now fledged but are still relying on their parents for food supplements. The immature and inexperienced chicks get lost in the thick woodland canopy and must rant to be fed, but not too loud, as young sparrow hawks are also hungry.
I suppose we must mention the weather, warm March, cold April, OK May and wettest June on record. We had to cancel a few working days in the wood due to the rain, but there is one consolation….Peters pond is looking great. Butterflies of all species are struggling this year due to the weather, if you see any of interest we would greatly appreciate any records of sightings within the wood, we can be contacted via the web site.

May 
Friends of Errington Wood
“Isn’t nature wonderful” is the adage, and it’s true. Only a few weeks ago we were looking at a parched piece of ground where the pond used to be and were full of doom and gloom about a drought, worried that the amphibians would have nowhere to breed this year. Well, just two days after the first rain newts were back performing as though nothing had happened. The big mystery is where had they been and how had we not come across any when we dug out the silt from the dry bed of the pond? Nature is brilliant!!
If wild flowers are your thing now is the best time to be in the wood, on the higher paths the carpets of bluebells are magnificent but lower down on the old shale heaps is where there is diversity. Winter work of thinning none native trees has opened the canopy to allow seeds to germinate; species such as Foxgloves, Red Campion and Stitchwort are now common but each year something new makes a brief appearance such as the rare Broad-leaved Helleborine last year.
For more information about the wood and the activities of the group read through the other pages.

April
Friends of Errington Wood
Spring is here and the new green shoots are a sign of great things to come. Resident birds in the wood such as Robins, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes have been singing their territorial song since February, but it is when you hear the first Chiffchaff of the year you know that spring has sprung. These small warblers head for Southern Spain and North Africa for the winter but in March they arrive back in British woodlands and repeatedly sing their name, once heard never forgotten. However with the onset of climate change some Chiffchaffs are now taking a gamble and overwintering in our wood instead of migrating to warmer climes, this strategy can give them a head start when it comes to territorial claims for the best breeding sites but when we get a serious winter they are in trouble.
Through the winter months the Friday work party have continued to coppicing dominant vegetation to allow more sunlight into the wood, this will help germinate wild flower seed, as the North facing aspect of the site makes it like living on the dark side of the moon. 

March
Friends of Errington Wood.
At the time of writing we will have experienced one of the mildest and driest winters on record, we’ve had no substantial rain in our area since last summer. As a consequence regular walkers in the wood will have noticed that Peter’s Pond has become a mere shadow of its former self, it is so dry at the moment any local amphibian emerging from hibernation will be shocked and distressed at the arid conditions. Frogs, toads and newts usually arrive at the pond in March to breed, so if we don’t get any rain soon they are in trouble. A pond situated within a woodland will eventually silt up and revert back to trees unless action is periodically taken to remove the build up of old leaf litter, Peter’s Pond has always been a very fertile and productive pond with good numbers of breeding frogs toads and newts, not to mention dragon and damselflies. The pond was formed when old mine workings were abandoned almost ninety years ago and in the last twenty five years efforts have been made to improve it as a fresh water habitat.
Over the last few weeks winter jobs around the wood have included scrub bashing, removing encroaching vegetation from around some of the archaeological sites and wallowing in the mud de-silting and deepening areas within the pond ready for the spring migration. We meet every Friday in the wood and you are most welcome to join in the fun.

This one is from January.

Friends of Errington Wood
I am sure no one was complaining about the mild weather this autumn, least of all the migrating birds. Normally we would see Redwings and Fieldfares in the wood any time from the end of September as they cross the North Sea to escape the arctic conditions, however, with high temperatures here and in Scandinavia the birds were reluctant to leave. We didn’t begin to see any great numbers of these migrant birds in the wood until mid November.
Usually we hear of at least one sighting of Pine Marten in the wood each year, unfortunately so far we have had none, if anyone believes they have had a curious sighting of one of these enchanting mammals why not log onto www.pinemarten.info.
Anyone walking along the bottom track towards Quarry Lane recently may have noticed excavation work being carried out; this has been the efforts of a band of enthusiastic industrial archeologists. They have been surveying an old winding house which was used to extract ore from working drifts when the ironstone mines were in operation. When the survey work is complete the site will be back filled to preserve the foundations.
Our practical winter work continues each Friday in the wood; anyone wishing to save money on gym membership is most welcome to join us in the free green gym.

        



Of intersest as well is this picture of a Stinkhorn fungus. You don't need to look for these. You will smell them first, hence the name.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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