Hakeford Woods Forest School has recently opened on some land we recently sold to Stuart near Chelfham. He has given up a teaching job in order to develop the forest school, which is being run as a community interest company. If you haven’t come across forest schools before they aim to build the connections of young (and not so young!) children with nature. So plenty of camp fires and muddy nature study. It’s all about learning through experience. I guess Stuart will be able to explain it better, so why not have a look at his web-site? Click here for more information. But well recommended if you are close enough to visit or book. From our point of view it is great to see the woodland being put to another use, after many years of neglect, and we wish Stuart well with this venture.
I was in the adjacent area of woodland last month, and saw a kingfisher perched on barbed wire over the river. This is a new species for me on the site. Now the hunt could be on for otters, which are almost certainly present! They are very good at marking their territory by sprainting (a posh word for otter poo). I did find a couch (otter resting point) and spraint on a recent ecological survey in Cornwall – see below. I wonder who will find the evidence of otters at Chelfham first, Stuart, Rosanna or me?
Meanwhile Rosanna has been attending a dormouse handling course and has plans to undertake a survey of hers ours and Stuart’s woods. We think they are present, and Rosanna has found hazel nuts almost certainly chewed by dormice. Maybe we will have some dormice photos next year, but for now, I will sign off with one from Stuart: a curious fox has been sussing out what his forest school has to offer!