My name is Martin and I have been a volunteer for the Friends for about a year. It is easy to take the wonderful environment around Shireoaks for granted and in my opinion the wildlife discovery area is a case in point.
This 2 acre post-industrial site alongside Marina Drive doesn’t look much at the moment but the foundations are there for a thriving site. There is a bird hide and a well-constructed wildlife pond. What needs to happen in the immediate future is the unwelcome reeds removed from the pond and the hedge planting completed on the boundary with Marina Drive. These jobs will have a visual impact on the area and create habitats for wildlife- protecting and improving our environment has never been more important. If you are a student looking for a project or a youth organisation or community groups looking for a project, or anyone who just wants to do something worthwhile you need look no further. The Friends at the time of writing are awaiting advice on the best way to deal with the unwelcome reeds. The hedge planting day in March this year, when half the boundary was planted was well supported and we would be delighted if we could achieve the same level of support to finish the project over Friday/Saturday 3rd/4th of February. The remaining boundary has been ploughed in preparation so that digging the holes for the plants will be a lot easier than last time. We will also create rubble piles and log piles for wildlife and do scrub clearance alongside the path. If you would like to help with the hedge planting and other activities on 3rd or 4th February, please email us on email@example.com to let us know your interest.
The Friends also have two work mornings a month, please find us on Facebook for information about upcoming workdays @friendsofwoodlandsandcoachwoodgreen.
As the bird hide is the standout feature in the wildlife discovery area, I decided to find out about the bird species likely to visit. I turned to an organisation called SK58 Birders who have a very good website, and for those interested the group meets on the last Wednesday of the month in the Loyal Trooper South Anston. SK58 refers to a square on Ordnance Survey mapping which includes Shireoaks. This organisation has maintained records of sightings within the area of land covered by the square for over 20 years. These records have in the past helped in planning issues. Of the hundred or so different species recorded in the Shireoaks area, the standout one is a single sighting of a Hoopoe in October 2019 (worth a search for images on the internet). Two of the less exotic species you are more likely to see in the vicinity of Marina Drive in the winter months are:
The Redwing, a winter visitor, is a little smaller and thinner than a black bird. It exists in flocks in this country. The red on the flanks illustrated in the image is visible in flight but mostly hidden when the wings are folded.
The Pied Wagtail is not a migratory bird. It feeds singly, but roosts in flocks throughout the year. It is black and white, a little bit larger than a sparrow, and has a long tail which constantly bobs.
As the wildlife area matures in the coming years there should be greater opportunity for the people of Shireoaks and surrounding areas to enjoy observing wildlife.
The summer is a quieter season for work and jobs and it gives us an opportunity to enjoy the Country Park and the Coronation Wildflower Meadow, whether that be cycling, walking, or running. The Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green are a voluntary group caring for the area to protect the habitat and promote it for the benefit of the whole community. As our local community evolves, we welcome all new users of the Country Park to share this aim.
In June we held our Annual General Meeting, where I was appointed as the Chair of the Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green. We wish to express our thanks to previous Chair who has been with the Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green since it started. Having grown up in the village of Shireoaks, I have recently moved back to the area after 30 years away and watched this area evolve from the pit site of the past to the country park of the future. I look forward to working with the local community to create and maintain a Country Park that protects biodiversity, respects our heritage, and provides a space for communities to come together. I believe the environment is where we all meet, where we have a mutual interest and is one thing all of us share.
In June, we were delighted to support the Beacon Lighting at the Viewpoint on the Pit Top. The UK has a long tradition of lighting beacons to mark Royal Events, the last time being the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016. We were blessed with a spectacular summer evening as Shireoaks joined around 3,500 communities around the UK in celebration of our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As a large group of Shireoaks residents waited for the lighting ceremony to begin we were royally entertained by a band of musicians from the Social Club. As the designated time for lighting the beacon approached the crowd drifted into silence and the proceedings were led by Councillor Sybil Fielding and Bassetlaw District Council Councillor Madelaine Richardson
With a hiss of gas, the beacon was then ignited joining our community in with this historic four-day Platinum Jubilee Celebration.
This spring and summer we have had a magnificent show of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees. With all this flora comes the insects, flies, spiders, bumble bees, dragonflies, moths, and butterflies. Whilst they are all beautiful in their own way, butterflies seem to be the most beautiful in our eyes. Maybe this is because of the way they flutter between the flora showing their brightly pattern and coloured wings.
Some of the butterflies seen on the Woodlands and Coachwood Green are the Common Blue, its main food plant is Birds-foot Trefoil; a small yellow flower; of which there is an abundance on the Woodlands. Other butterflies seen are the Marbled White (pictured left), a distinctive black and white butterfly that feeds on clovers, knapweed and thistles, and the Meadow Brown, a common butterfly with a distinctive spot on its wing tip which feeds on meadow grasses. Also seen are the Painted Lady and the Red Admiral which particularly likes nettles. The Small Heath butterfly can also be seen low down fluttering in the grasses and resting with closed wings.
So next time you are visiting the Woodlands and Coachwood Green have a look at what you can see, we would love for you to tell us and share your pictures on our Facebook group Shireoaks Woodlands and Coachwood Green.
Volunteers play a huge role in helping us look after the Country Park and helping us tell the community about the work we do. Work over the Summer months has focussed on litter picking and path clearance as regular tasks.
We hold two workdays a month on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, meeting at the tarmac car park on Marina Drive at 10am. If you can spare an hour or so to help you will be made to feel very welcome, jobs range from everything from litter picking, cutting back hedges to maintain footpaths and helping to create the Wildlife Discovery Area. All equipment is provided. Keep an eye on our Facebook group to keep up to date @friendsofwoodlandsandcoachwoodgreen.
Volunteering comes in many shapes and forms and there are opportunities more than just physical conservation work. We are also looking for volunteers to support with promotion and fundraising. In particular, we are looking for someone to help update our website, if you can spare a couple of hours and help us create a great informative website to promote what we do please get in touch.
I hope you have enjoyed the Summer in the Country Park as we move into Autumn it is a time to look out for Robins, Wagtails and if you are lucky, you may see flocks of Redwings.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Country Park so feel free to get in touch with any feedback or suggestions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org