May 28th Open Day – Teddy Bears’ Picnic

teddy bear's picnic poster 2016

Claire’s organising another of her ever popular Teddy Bear picnics for our May Open Day this Saturday – with an earlier start time to encourage families to come for lunch with a picnic.

We’re also thinking about a new activity this year … watch this space.

And in the background, there may be woodsmen, digging out invasive plants, measuring trees, while general visitors are as always welcome.

April 30th Open Day – help us get to know our trees!

We’ve got our April open day coming up this Saturday – 1.00 pm to 4.00, so everyone welcome to have a look round. The reserve is looking very spring like, but the paths are still flooded. We can lend wellies, and in kids sizes too.
We’re also planning a tree identification and measuring activity which will help us get a proper map of our trees for the first time, and an idea of how old some of them are.

sketchmap regions
We’ve roughly divided the reserve up into 12 regions – see this map – and made a list of which of the total 17 species in the woods that we’ve spotted in each of them. We’ve also noted where the really huge trees are which will need two people – parent and child? – to get a tape measure or just some string round them.
We’re still working on details, but we hope our visitors will come away with bark rubbings and leaf prints where feasible (some of the trees are surrounded by water!), and we get the girths of our trees measured, from which we can start working out how old they are. If you leave contact details, we’ll be able to get back to you with the results, and where your trees are on this map!
By the way … here’s another date for your diary: Friends of Mayow Park will hold a family-friendly tree event around Mayow Park on Sunday 5th June.  For more information email

Open Day, Sat March 26 – Frogspawn Egg Hunt and Conservation work!

This Saturday, from 1.00 to 4.00, is our first “last Saturday of the month” Open Day at Dacres Wood Nature Reserve.

As well as just having a look round this rather special local space, we hope visitors will take the opportunity to meet members of our committee who will be around, and learn more about what we do.  In particular, we’re hoping to see artists from Sydenham and other local festivals thinking about using the reserve as a place to show their work.

We will also be laying on some activities.  New Friends committee member, and local Mum, Dani is planning:

a frogspawn themed egg hunt kind of thing for the kids? Something along the lines of… Each kid has a sheet of paper with the frogspawn life cycle printed on it, however the images are blanked out, they hunt for the (plastic) eggs which have next to them (or in them, if we can get some big hollow eggs?) a picture of a stage of the life cycle – the aim being to complete the life cycle and assemble/draw it in the right order.
An activity in the courtyard too for both kids and adults – your own veggie seed to take home? Could be pretty straightforward – use newspaper rolled into a small pot and I have lots of spare tomato seeds (and perhaps some other things)
I’ll be doing some conservation work – marking, maybe digging up invasive species such as cherry laurel, and getting a wheel barrow to move some rubbish dumped over a back fence – so volunteers to help with this welcome.
The paths round the pond are still flooded, and other paths are a bit muddy, so practical footwear please – although we do have eight pairs of adult wellies, and three for kids we can lend!

22 March 2016 – Little Explorers Club

12729148_537803536380152_6555292642539217811_nAbsolutely perfect day to be outside yesterday. We had a wonderfully sunny moring exploring around the pond trying to find frogs and spawn. We managed to see a fox with a poorly leg, a heron who was very busy eating frogs (we saw him gobbling a huge one)922938_537803566380149_5967342632617007952_n

and a pair of crows building their nest. Spring has well and truly sprung.


Chat about what to do in reserve this Sunday?

I went round the reserve yesterday with Nick Pond, LB Lewisham Ecology officer, reviewing all the things we might one day want to do there. At the moment it’s just a list of notes which I need to get into some kind of order. After our bird walk Sunday we could maybe talk over some of it, and get more of all your thoughts.

Booking Dacres Wood

Did you know it’s possible to book Dacres Wood for children’s parties, and other events? It’s done via the Council, but they now have:

We’d like to help get the building prettied up a bit – any suggestions and help welcome! – but it’s already great value – here’s what a friend who used it for his kid’s party last year wrote:

It’s a very nice venue. The woods were centre stage for us but we also used the building to gather everyone together at the start and we were in there again after our party activities in the woods for pasta and birthday cake.

It would have been really helpful to have a fridge and a cooker or hob. Also the chairs that are there are difficult for little kids to manouevre and took up too much space when we set them up around the tables (this wouldn’t matter so much with a smaller group). We brought our own, but some people might want a basic sound/speaker set-up?

It’s great that you have time to set up and tidy up – a lot of places have a small timeframe and that can be very stressful. Also it was easy to clean up and look after – nothing breakable or needing polishing! We had lots of muddy kids in there but it wasn’t a big deal to mop up after them. Lots of powerpoints too, which is useful.

I think everyone who came enjoyed it and thought it was a real find as a venue. A lot of people hadn’t realised it was there, but one person had been at a party there in the summertime and had really liked it then too.

The courtyard could be prettied up very easily too, which would make a good outdoor eating area in summer, particularly if you had a couple of picnic tables. In fact, I thought it would be a brilliant spot for a summer pop-up if you’d have any interest in me trying that out?!