Disaster Averted

I arrived at Lodge car park at around 8:20pm and set off to do the Nightjar survey organised by the Ashdown Bird Group that evening. I had only walked a short way when I saw what I initially thought was a helium balloon sailing across the sky, I watched it start to descend and cross in front of me and with binoculars I studied it in more detail. I then realised that it had what looked like a light or flame under it. Not a balloon then but one of these Chinese lanterns.

Chinese Lantern

Chinese Lantern collected off the Forest

It started to fall quite quickly out of the sky and out of my view. I walked further down the hill so I could get a view back towards Old Lodge nature reserve. I picked up the lantern again as it casually dropped in to the field just short of Old Lodge drive. Concerned it was still alight I walked quickly across and down to the dividing fence line to get a better look. It didn’t seem to be burning and I hoped it had gone out. I had no signal on my mobile so I couldn’t call for help so I decided to try to get in to the field.

I walked back up the fence line and found a cattle gate but unfortunately I couldn’t get it open. I thought about jumping over but there was plenty of barbed wire along the fence so I decided against it. I walked back up the hill and managed to cut through the Old Lodge drive, walked down the road and eventually found a gate I could climb over. I did so and walked down to the lantern… Thankfully it was out! I picked it up as I wasn’t going to just leave it there and took it back to my car.

Had I not seen it or that it had not gone out and I couldn’t get there, it could have turned in to a massive Forest fire. Releasing these lanterns is so dangerous because they can travel for miles, alight, and then end up destroying somewhere like Ashdown Forest. Need I mention the fire at a recycling centre not so long ago?

I could’ve called the police or the fire service but the disaster was averted and there was no way the police could’ve tracked where the lantern came from. It is now languishing in my dustbin, and cause no harm to anything, not even as litter!

Healthy Walks – Walk Leaders Required!

The Ashdown Forest Centre and The Conservation Volunteers are recruiting volunteer walk leaders for their very popular healthy walks on Ashdown Forest.

Healthy Walks are part of the nationwide Walking for Health scheme which aims to get people healthier and happier by providing free, short and easy led walks. A free walk leader training day will be held on Thursday 2 May in Wych Cross from 9.30am – 4.00pm. No previous experience is required, just a friendly nature and the availability to lead the Ashdown Forest healthy walk on a regular basis. The walk takes place every Wednesday at 10.30am. To find out more about becoming a health walk leader or to book a place on the training, please contact Paula Hubens, TCV Healthy Walks Project Officer on 07740 899559/ [email protected].

Click Here to download the full Ashdown Forest Centre Flyer

Norfolk Trip Report – Last Day

Brambling [female]This is it, our final day. The last day everyone pretty much does their own thing before heading home and this trip was no exception. For the purposes of this trip report I shall take you through what we did but I will mention that Sue and Bob went to Salthouse again and then to Cley and Holkham Fresh Marsh; Dick, Dot, Martin and Carol spent the afternoon walking out to see the seals on Blakeney Point; Continue reading

Norfolk Trip Report – Day 3

TurnstoneThe third day of our trip. At sun rise it was a glorious start to the day but by 7:15am the sea fog rolled in. Strangely by 9am the fog had rolled out again revealing the sunshine. We all met down in the car park after breakfast and headed out to our first destination – Salthouse.

At Salthouse we expected to see Snow Buntings. Every year so far they have been pretty easy to find. This year however Continue reading

Norfolk Trip Report – Day 2

SnowdropsAfter a nights sleep and an excellent breakfast we set off for Titchwell Marshes (RSPB). West Runton is between 5-10 miles further east so the journey took about an hour.

The weather wasn’t bad, dry with patchy cloud and hardly any wind to really speak of. For our Norfolk trips this is almost tropical! It had been agreed that we would head out to the sea straight away and then work back to the Continue reading

Norfolk Trip Report – Day 1

Black-bellied DipperWe all met up for breakfast at the Little Chef just outside Mildenhall early on a dreary, wet and generally miserable morning. Not the greatest of starts especially with the uncertainty surrounding the hotel.

Traffic had been kind to most of us as we sat and planned the days’ events. We left Mildenhall around 10am and headed for our first destination – Thetford for the Black-bellied Dipper (continental Continue reading

Sheep and Cattle out on the Forest

The sheep and cattle will be out grazing on the Forest from 1st April.

There are notices posted on all gates that say, ‘Please ensure all gates are closed. Dogs must be kept under proper control at all times. If a dog is seen attacking or chasing livestock it could be shot. If you see any problems please ring the Forest Centre straight away Thank You’

During office hours the Forest Centre can Continue reading

Forest Blaze

Forest Fire Pano #1

Traveling across the Forest today (around 3pm) past Poundgate I could see billowing smoke coming from the next valley over beyond Crows Nest Clump. Fire engines, 4×4 rescue vehicles and a helicopter were all screaming to the scene. Pulling in at Poundgate with a throng of other people we watched as distant fire fighters tackled the blaze and the helicopter buzzed overhead.

I managed to take Continue reading