The sun shone and the woods buzzed with fun, conservation and learning at our family weekend and ‘open afternoon’ in early April.
Held in Spring and Autumn and aimed at families and individuals alike, these popular events are an opportunity for everyone to get their hands stuck into the soil, play games, make campfires and relax together in the fresh air, with the added bonus of experiencing the off-grid eco-lifestyle.
An extra draw this Spring was the Nature Discovery Open Afternoon on Saturday, led by Salisbury Natural History Society Experts, Kevin Horner Bee Keeper & Jason Turner Forestry. With a table laden with curiosities in front of the Oak House our experts entertained and educated the group showing fascinating objects such as dormouse nests, feathers, skulls, eggs and up-close views of bugs under the microscope.
The open afternoon was well attended by local residents who received a free pass to join the group at the woods, and activities included a nature trail, forest walk, “tracks & signs”, bees and beekeeping demonstration and tours of the beautiful, functional eco-buildings at Hazel Hill Wood. The fun didn’t end there for the weekenders, Steve and Mandy led a wonderful clay-mask making session around the campfire – the sheer concentration everyone felt creating these was reflected in the brilliant expressions of the masks which ended up adorning the surrounding tree trunks.
But of course it wasn’t all play and the group managed to complete some vital conservation work at the woods. Assisted by the local scouts with their leader Duncan, over one hundred new cherry, oak and sweet chestnut trees were planted out. Recycling the tree tubes for new stakes proved a surprising hit with the children, and the satisfaction of helping to ensure new growth was rewarding for everyone.
These wonderful activities, along with energetic bursts of “Capture the Flag” with Sarah, meant hearty appetites all round. Despite going down with an unfortunate bout of flu our lead cook Claudia kept on smiling and created fabulous meals and home-made cakes to nourish and sustain the hard-working conservationists.
After the weekend, posting lovely pictures on our facebook page, one attendee summed up her feelings: “So many wonderful things took place in the woods at Hazel Hill this weekend. Catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, so much growth and expansion. Thank you Alan for your vision.”
These wonderful events are only possible with the hard work of Alan, Marcos, Kate and the rest of the team, and the generosity of the wood opening up its wealth of experiences for all to enjoy.