Blackberry and Cinnamon Cake – Sounds delicious!

Thanks to Fiona B who contacted us with this recipe ahead of Saturday’s blackberrying Open Day:

Photo: Fiona Buckley


150g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
150/5oz caster sugar
150/5oz ground almonds
150/5oz self raising flour
1 free range egg
10ml/ 2 teaspoons cinnamon
10ml/2teaspoons vanilla extract
225/8oz fresh blackberries
Plus some for decoration
Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark4. Check temperature for fan ovens.
Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9 inch spring form tin

Put the butter, sugar, almonds, flour, egg, vanilla extract and 5ml/ 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a bowl and beat well together.
Spread half the mixture into the prepared tin, lightly flatten the stiff mixture with a fork.
Sprinkle over the blackberries, carefully dot and then evenly spread the remaining mixture over the blackberries to cover them.
Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for about 1 hour until golden on top. Test after 45 mins with a skewer, cover with foil to prevent burning the top if it is not ready, cook for another 15 minutes or so. Leave to cool completely in the tin. If still quite warm will break up when removed.
Dust the top with the remaining cinnamon and icing sugar, arrange a few blackberries on top for decoration

Things to do!

Here is our continuously maintained list of tasks to be done at Dacres Wood Nature Reserve and Field Studies centre.

Some of the tasks will be simple, some more long term visions, and we will have missed other things volunteers might be able to do, so please use the form here to make suggestions – and best of all to say “I can do this!”

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Continue reading Things to do!

Lewisham Nature Walk this Sunday

Dacres Wood will feature in a Lewisham Nature Walk this Sunday.  Led by botanists Tom Moulton and Pete Richardson (who has documented many of the species in Dacres Wood), it will start from Forest Hill Station at 2.00 pm, and we expect to be getting to Dacres Wood around 2.45, before going on to Mayow Park.

More details on the Lewisham Nature Walks web site here

Forest Hill To Mayow Park

June 25th Open Day, Arts activity for kids, Official Bridge Opening

And even an AGM, beforehand from 12.00.  What more could anyone want?

Seriously, from 1-4pm Dacres Wood will be open for our regular last Saturday of the month Open Day.  Dani will be organising an arts themed activity for kids, in anticipation of Dacres Wood being a major venue for the Sydenham Visual Arts Trail the following two weekends.  Visitors to the Open Day may have a chance to meet some of the artists preparing for this.

 At 1.15pm we will hold an official opening of the new bridge / walkway running across the pond at Dacres Wood, by our local Councillor Susan Wise.


The new bridge has been largely funded by the Perry Vale local assembly and allows visitors a closer look at the wildlife in and around the pond as well as providing a new route through and viewpoints of the reserve.  We are promised a rather special ribbon for Susan to cut, made for us by Ema’s Secret Adventurers, who meet at Dacres Wood on Tuesday mornings.

As always, our Open Day is an opportunity for any one just to enjoy the space, and meet the Friends.  If you want to get more involved, why not come along to our AGM, which will start at 12.00, and after a brief formal part, will be mainly a discussion about future plans and ideas.

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!