A friendly and supportive group

woman holding hazel branches in woodlandI have been volunteering as a member of the Woodland Working Party at Oxlip Wood for 5 months now.

We meet once a week for 2 – 3 hours and come rain or shine it’s always enjoyable to be part of what is a friendly and supportive group of people.

We’ve been involved in all manner of woodland management tasks, engaged in to a level that suits us individually in respect of age and physical ability. There’s no pressure to do more than you can or want to do.

Just being in a wood delivers simple pleasures that soothe the mind and somehow energise it too. I always think that attending a Woodland Working Party is a great way to start the week, helping set my mind on a positive track

Felling, fires and fallow deer

three people tending a fire in woodlandIn the Autumn there was a lot of tree felling that went on in the wood and we volunteers got involved with helping to clear the brash (twigs and small branches) ready for burning.

We were even given guidance in woodland fire making and management so that we could get more fully involved. I think everyone really loved the fires, an activity that always brings back memories from childhood of times spent out in the wilds.

After brash burning comes the tree planting and we’ve been involved in planting hundreds of trees to replace those felled. Oak,Hazel, Cherry, Hornbeam and small leaved Lime have been planted throughout the felled areas, then tubed and staked to protect them from marauding Fallow deer that manage to get inside the perimeter fence now and then, loving to snack on tender new tree growth.

 Connecting with nature and chocolate biscuits

men and women sitting in wood enjoying a coffee breakAt Woodland Working Parties we always look forward to the coffee break, the chocolate biscuits and the social time sitting and chatting about our morning’s adventures.

Interestingly, it rarely seems cold in the wood and more often than not is sunny and warm in our sheltered southerly coffee break place.

I cannot explain the enjoyment of just being in the wood and seeing and listening to the sounds of nature without interference from traffic or urban noises.

We watch the many species of birds that are attracted to the feeders. We hear the drilling sound of the Woodpecker and see the Red Kites and Buzzards soaring overhead.

group of pink orchids growing in woodlandDuring the Woodland Working Party sessions there’s usually an opportunity where we get to explore an area of the woodland in search of interesting plants.

In a garden you almost take the flowering plants for granted, whereas in a woodland the discovery of a single Oxlip or Orchid can deliver a sense of excitement.

It’s always a thrill to come across a new plant that you’ve found through taking time to notice, then revisiting it week by week to monitor development.

As the wood is an ancient one there are many lovely flowering plants to discover, at difference points during the year, including Bluebells, Oxlips, Cowslips, Orchids and many, many varieties of fungi.

Intergenerational learning experiences

adults and children planting trees in woodlandSome of us have chosen to get involved with intergenerational events, bringing all ages together for a shared activity.

So far we’ve worked with children and their families, supporting them to make bird boxes and to plant trees, both of which were very rewarding sessions to be involved with. It’s lovely to experience the enthusiasm of the children and be appreciated for lending a hand when needed.

I have to say that the intergenerational events leave me feeling pretty tired by the end, as the children seem to have unbounded energy, but I also feel buoyed up through these experiences of interacting with the younger generation.

Susan, our Woodland Working Party leader, told us that when we joined we’d soon be smiling from the inside, to which I answered politely “maybe!”.

I have to say that as a result of coming along to the sessions I have met and made new friends, learned new things about nature and even got a little fitter. I’ve also found, despite my initial scepticism, that I am indeed smiling more from the inside and the knock on effect is feeling more energised about life beyond my time spent in the wood..

Fancy coming along to a Woodland Working Party?

two ladies cutting hazel sticksIf you’ve enjoyed reading the feedback above maybe you’d also like to listen to an interview with some of our Woodland Working Party volunteers and find out how it was and is for them!.

We invite people along to the wood, in advance of joining Woodland Working Parties, to allow them to make a judgement as to suitability of activity and environment.

We welcome everyone. Age, illness or disability present no barrier to coming along.

So, why not find out whether Woodland Working Parties is just the ticket for benefitting your wellbeing through experiencing just one morning a week at Oxlip Wood, just off the A6116 between Thrapston and Corby.

Send us your details and we’ll get in touch with you to arrange a convenient time for you to visit the wood, or call Susan on 01832 733457 or 07799 892900. 

Why not subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future events you might like to attend. Fill in your email below and choose areas of interest. 

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