The Friends of Haddon Wood

Everything interesting we can think of about Alhampton's community woodland. To leave a comment on a post, click on its title and scroll down…

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Our new Woodland Trust Manager…

… is Joe Middleton, who arrived at the beginning of June.  If Hil’s memory is accurate he comes to us from the Wildlife Trust; some of FHWC walked the wood with him and he was very impressed by the level of interest and how things are looking.  He’s very knowledgeable and we’re looking forward to working with him.  I hope there’s a way we can get together so some of you can meet him too.


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Open Gardens 2015 – a glorious day!

Weary, but oh, so worth it, at the end of a long day of Open Gardens, didn’t our gardeners, cake bakers, signmakers, ticket sellers – all brought together by Hil – do us proud! It’s too late to write anything sensible and considered but here’s a taster…

…and here’s a selection of Rose Hubbard’s pictures from the day. It’s good to have an official photographer on the committee!

…and finally, the good news, from Hil…

Once again we used this as a fund-raising opportunity for Haddon Wood, and on 7 June we were blessed with three things: weather, the results of advertising on a free website, and Monty Don’s reference to Somerset having great gardens to visit.  All that meant more visitors than we’ve ever seen, and a total profit of over £1660!  A lot of people put in a great deal of effort and it was well worth it.  If you’ve never come along to this, we’ll be doing it all again next year; we do have some different gardens each time (and some everyone always wants to see).  If you’re not keen on gardens, come for the tea and cake – delicious!  We’re building an excellent fund for taking us into leasing, and allowing us to do some things as we go along.


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7th June 2015 – a date for your diary!

Open gardens poster 2015It doesn’t seem all that long since the last Open Gardens day in Alhampton – particularly, no doubt, to the hard working people allowing us to invade their privacy – but here we are again! Gert Schley and Charles Dowding are opening again, but to ring the changes and spread the load, the others are all different from last year.

With parking and tickets at The Alhampton Innn, by kind permission of the landlords (sat nav – BA4 6PY), we have 10 gardens to see for only £5, plus our ever popular teas. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?


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A recent early morning visit …..

Haddon Wood is a magical place at any time of the year, but more so when covered in frost.  Here are a few recent pictures from my visit and hoping we have more frosts soon!


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The Orchard is in!

We finally – finally – after talking about it for two years and waiting for the nursery to lift the trees (delayed by the mild weather) planted the orchard in December 2014!

The Hutton family were out in force – having supplied more than half the trees in memory of Bill Hutton, who had farmed our fields for so many years, they probably wanted to know that things were being done properly – and did sterling work alongside most of the FHW committee.

It was a little more time-consuming than the rest of the wood – digging large holes and checking planting depths, before installing mulch mats and larger, hand-cut tree guards that needed stapling to the stakes – but by the time I got there, most of the work had been done.

I’ll post plans and information sheets about the varieties as soon as I have time.

(BTW I started this post at the time but, what with one thing and another, have only just got back to it, which hopefully explains any confusion on the timing of its posting).

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Final community planting day! Saturday 22 November

So it’s finally arrived – the very last planting of the native broadleaves, delayed until now because of construction of the pond.  There are around 200 left, all heeled in at the end of the March planting by Gert in his garden (did you spot them on open gardens day?  Bet you didn’t!)  They’re alders and willows, so they’re appropriate for round the pond which is where we’ll be planting – on the eastern and southern perimeter at the bottom of the bank up to the pond (if you use our site maps, the pond is in field 4 and the plan showing the pond needs updating as the pond is further north and east than shown).

If you’d like to come along and help, please bring a spade as we don’t have many spares!  If you haven’t done this before, no previous experience required as there’ll be someone to show you exactly what to do. In fact, please find either Gert or Nick for a planting demo. Join us and you can tell your children and grandchildren that you were part of the creation of our fantastic wood.

If you need to drive, please park in the Castle Cary Rugby Club car park (BA7 7PF).  Turn right as you walk out and use the pedestrian gate into the wood across the road on your left as you walk away from Castle Cary.  Follow the hedgerow which runs alongside the road and you’ll find us.

Hope to see you there!

Pond sept 14


The pond is complete …you can’t miss it!

Yes, it’s a pond that, at the moment, thinks it’s a reservoir …or at least that’s how it looks to me. I hasten to add, that isn’t a negative, more an observation.

I’ve been holding off from writing this post in the unrealistic hope that I’d be able to accompany it with an attractive picture, but that isn’t going to happen in the near future – at least at my skill level. Having said that, the topsoil, back in place round the edges and covering the banks, is starting to green up already, specially from a distance and committee members have scattered pond-specific wildflower seed around – quite a lot in fact, but we thought it worth raiding the budget for.

The great thing is that there’s water collecting in the bottom already, by now all round the island and filling the three deeper pools.

I say great thing and it is, because that’s the point after all, but what none of us took into account from the beginning – and it’s one that makes me more than grumpy – is that our wildlife pond would be adopted as a handy, regular swimming pond for dogs. This was never the idea and whilst we thought it possible that one or two might flop in to cool off occasionally in future years, it simply never occurred to us that, if we put up yards of tape and clear notices asking people to stay off the area – for goodness sake, the place is big enough without it! – while soil settled and seed germinated, that people would ignore the request and any possible reasons behind it and follow their own agenda. Naive? Obviously!

To be fair there have been only a few transgressors, probably not in the Friends group and who almost certainly won’t read this, but they have been regular and persistent and accompanied by the larger (and therefore more destructive) breeds.  If you see if happening, please feel free to have a word, if for no other reason than to find out why they do it. Personally, I don’t get it because apart from anything else the water is grey and smelly and will be unless and until it gets deeper – probably in the cold weather when no-one, canine or otherwise – feels much like swimming. But there you are. There will always be a few who have to be different.

It’s a shame because our wood is being enjoyed by increasing numbers of people, most of whom are brilliant in all other respects – picking up dog poo, pulling and cutting back thistles – but I’m guessing this will be a longer and more drawn out battle and I really don’t know how it will turn out. Perhaps a pair of particularly aggressive swans will take up residence on the island and repel all borders….



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