May 2024

Dawn chorus walk

We recently held a dawn chorus walk around our beautiful woodland site, expertly led by Fred Milton. Lovely to meet new faces and learn how bird surveys are carried out.

Our sightings included linnets, bullfinch, whitethroat, chiff chaff, gold crest, blue tits and sedge warbler.

25 May 2024

Bird Census no 7

Bright sunshine & warm! Pair Mallard on the muddy hole in the lawn, Grey Heron over the site, 7 Whitethroat, 3 Sedge Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, House Martin, Swallow, Kestrel, 4 Bullfinch, Linnet with nesting material, young Robins & Great Tits indicate successful breeding.

Dr Frederick S. Milton
14 March 2024

2023 Bird Census

During March to June 2023, the third annual breeding bird censuses was carried out at the Woodland and Wildlife community woodland in Sedgefield.

From the mapping fieldwork, an estimation of the number of bird territories at the woodland is then calculated.

This report summarises this data, makes comparisons with the previous years and looks at the overall UK bird population trend for selected species. Using the data collected, it is possible to better understand the birds at the woodland to enable proactive habitat management to conserve and protect these species present and encourage wider biodiversity.

Dr Frederick S. Milton
Read the full REPORT+
Christmas Tree Recycling Success

Thank you to everyone who brought us their real Christmas trees. We had trees from families, individuals, Sedgefield in Bloom, and Durham Young Farmers brought us some they had collected on behalf of Butterwick Hospice. The Woodland and Wildlife volunteers had a lovely morning meeting everyone and we had fun chopping up the trees! The trees we received were used to extend our dead hedges which we first constructed 3 years ago.

1st January 2024

Our next event is our annual Christmas Tree Recycling on Saturday 6 January, 10am to 12pm. To join in, please bring your real tree to the WWG site at NetPark, where you are very welcome to help us use them for developing wildlife habitats.

1st November 2023

Family planting event at the Woodland and Wildlife site

“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!” This autumn, the Woodland and Wildlife Group will be taking part in Round 2 of a project organised by Living Woods North East, to grow native British woodland trees from seeds.

The project, called Seeds2Trees, was featured in Sue Dobson’s article in the August edition; it aims to grow 50,000 tree seedlings by Autumn 2026, and we will contribute by sowing and growing approximately 100 of them. We will look after them for 2 years, when the saplings will be collected by Living Woods, and used in their tree planting programme, at sites across the North East.

We will be holding a family-friendly seed sowing event in late November/early December, to plant up trays with acorns and hazel nuts, and we will continue next spring, with alder and birch seeds. We would love to have your company!

1st July 2023

Summer’s Delights

The Woodland & Wildlife site is positively blooming at this time of year.

There’s an abundance of wildflowers; the newly planted trees are thriving; the birds are busy raising their young; insects are buzzing around pollinating; and the few shy mammals we have on site are making themselves at home - interestingly we have had recent sightings of roe deer and stoats.

One of our volunteers, Fred, has completed his annual bird breeding census.

From his findings, it appears there is a healthy variety and number of birds on the site. His full report will be available later in the year, but highlights are song thrush, skylark, yellow hammer and kestrels. There’ are not as many butterflies and day flying moths on site as previous years, but we are delighted to report that the Dingy Skipper is back with us!

Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who continues to support us with their Co-op membership

1st June 2023

Name That Wood!

A huge thank you to everyone who has put forward name suggestions for the Woodland & Wildlife site - we've had a big response. It's been so interesting reading the suggestions and the reasons behind those suggestions, it's going to be a hard to decide! We'll keep you posted on that tricky decision!

25 February 2023

Working Party

Very cold session this morning. We reassembled the dead hedge, after assessing it we decided it wouldn't disturb the wren. We also did a litter pick and scraped another section of path.

30 boxes on site now inc 2 for owls/kestrel/stock dove & 6 for robins. Here’s hoping for a good breeding season.

10 January 2023

2022 Bird Census

During March to June 2022, the second breeding bird censuses was carried out at the Woodland and Wildlife community woodland in Sedgefield, following on from the inaugural survey carried out in 2021.

From the mapping fieldwork, an estimation of the number of bird territories at the woodland is then calculated. This report summarises this data, makes comparisons with the previous year and looks at the overall UK bird population trend for selected species. Using the data collected, it is possible to better understand the birds at the woodland to enable proactive habitat management to conserve and protect these species present and encourage wider biodiversity.

Ten visits were carried out in March to June 2022. All were undertaken, where possible in the early morning, when the site is less disturbed and to maximise the number of singing birds recorded.

Dr Frederick S. Milton
Read the full REPORT+
7 January 2023

Christmas Trees for Habitats

On 7 January 2023, 10am to 12noon, we will be welcoming people to bring their real Christmas trees to the Woodland & Wildlife site. This year we will be using your trees to extend the dead hedges which we created last year. Dead hedges provide habitats for insects and small mammals and act as a barrier to allow areas of the site to regenerate.

Christmas trees can be dropped off with our volunteers on site at TS21 3FG or find us on Google Maps. Families and individuals are welcome to stay to help process the trees and have a look round.

A place to enjoy nature

The Woodland & Wildlife Project site, located North of Sedgefield at NETPark, is not only a place of work, but also a beautiful spot to take time out and enjoy nature.

While out for a stroll take time to notice the flora and fauna. Recent interesting sightings have included kestrels, dingy skipper butterflies, orchids, yellow hammers, greater and lesser white throat to name only a few!

You could even record what you see on the iNaturalist app (www.inaturalist.org). The data collected on the app is important for natural scientists to enable them to get a clear picture of biodiversity trends around the country.

You don’t need to know the name of what you are looking at, as the app comes up with suggestions which are then verified by other users.

It’s quite addictive! The Woodland & Wildlife Project will soon be having an online information session about recording wildlife followed by an in-person event on the W&W site. If you are interested, please look out for dates on our Facebook page.


Volunteers

Participate in the upkeep of the site and woodland management tasks
Write some articles about the project for the Sedgefield News
Give guidance and knowledge to promote biodiversity
Carry out wildlife surveys e.g. trees, botany, birds, insects or animals
....and much more!


Where are we?

In Summary

Activities so far have included; the planting over 2000 native trees supplied by the Woodland Trust, litter picking, clearance of undergrowth, a botany survey with Durham Wildlife Trust and a breeding bird survey.

There are many more exciting ideas for future plans, such as sowing a wildflower meadow, plans also include hedge planting extending the woodland and encouraging more wildlife onto the site. New volunteers are always welcome, we value any contribution people are able to give.


Volunteers

Participate in the upkeep of the site and woodland management tasks
Write some articles about the project for the Sedgefield News
Give guidance and knowledge to promote biodiversity
Carry out wildlife surveys e.g. trees, botany, birds, insects or animals
....and much more!


Where are we?

In The News
Upcoming Events

We have a couple of events coming up that all are welcome to attend. Please email if you would like to come along.

- Saturday 30th April, 10-12 noon - Bioblitz onsite (See link below). We'll also do some maintenance onsite.
- Sunday 8th May, 6am - 8am - Dawn Chorus Walk led by Fred Milton. Hot drinks and danish pastries will be on offer following the walk, please let me know if you are coming.

Read about wildlife recording portal +

February 2022

In 2021, the first breeding bird census was carried out at the Woodland & Wildlife community woodland, to identify the number of species present and to better inform site management. A total of 50 bird species were recorded, of which 28 species held territory. A total of 139 pairs of birds were present.

The ‘top ten’...
Rook – 28 active nests
Blackbird – 12 pairs
Wren – 11 pairs
Chaffinch – 10 pairs
Woodpigeon - 9 pairs
Dunnock – 9 pairs
Robin – 7 pairs
Blue Tit – 7 pairs
Blackcap – 6 pairs
Whitethroat – 5 pairs
The census uses a mapping technique, which allows us to pinpoint key habitats.

For example, it was obvious that all the Rook territories were located in the woodland alongside Salters Lane, but it also showed that Blackbird, Wren and Chaffinch were evenly spread across the site with no specific habitat preference.

In contrast, all Whitethroats (see photo) were located in the ‘marginal’ scrub hedgerow and weedy belt that border the north of the site, underlining the importance of this often-disregarded habitat.

This census illustrates that ‘our’ woodland is home to a rich and abundant variety of birds. Other notables included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Buzzard, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting.

In addition, several breeding birds, such as Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Linnet, are listed as ‘Red’ Species of Conservation Concern. Increasing the number of nest boxes, for example, would support Tree Sparrows.

Censusing will be carried out annually so we can build upon our knowledge of the site’s birdlife. Fieldwork starts again in spring, if you are on site, please say hello, and find out more about the birdlife. The 2021 full report can be found on our Facebook page.

We aim to construct birdboxes in February and would welcome an donations of scrap fencing timber or floorboarding (in reasonable condition please), as well as old wellies (for box hinges).


December 2021

Many Thanks to a Young, Local Environmentalist!
Earlier in the month we met a fantastic young man called Tristan. Tristan has been becoming very concerned about the climate emergency after learning about it at school and decided to take action. For his birthday, instead of having a party, he decided to do a sponsored silence to raise money to help the environment.

Tristan had been part of the original planting team in 2018, so with some of the money he raised, he bought a native tree pack from The Woodland Trust and donated the 30 trees to The Woodland & Wildlife Project. With the help of a few of our volunteers they were planted onsite this month. He should be incredibly proud of himself!

Christmas Trees for Habitats
On January 8th 2022, 10am – 12noon we will be welcoming people to bring their real Christmas trees to the Woodland & Wildlife site. This year we will be using your trees to create a dead hedge and build more habitats for insects and small mammals. Drop it off with our volunteers or even better stay for a hot chocolate, help processes your tree and have a look round the site.

A volunteer’s reflections

I’ve lived in Sedgefield for over 25 years and have always counted myself lucky to live in such a beautiful friendly place. Three years ago, I made a New Year resolution to say ‘Yes’ to the first Sedgefield volunteering opportunity that came my way as a thank you to the village and its folk. That opportunity turned out to be The Woodland and Wildlife Project.

A couple of weeks later, along with a small army of fellow villagers, I found myself on a snowy March morning trying to plant tiny trees (whips) into frozen ground with a random selection of garden tools we had brought from our homes. Remarkably, that day we somehow managed to plant nearly 500 whips and had a lot of fun and interesting chats about trees, gardens, birds and how achy our backs were getting.

Since then, lots more whips have been planted and a hedge is being established. We’ve had a botany group walk us round the site pointing out the kinds of flora in the woodland. We’ve had wildlife experts showing us where to build bat boxes and nesting boxes for birds. In the spring and summer, we do some targeted weeding to allow the trees to grow and in the winter we turn discarded Christmas trees into mulch and wildlife habitats.

I’m glad I made that New Year resolution – being involved has got me out in the fresh air in all weathers and helped me appreciate the beauty of all the seasons. I’ve learned so much about woodlands and wildlife and I’ve benefited from the exercise too! I’ve had some lovely and interesting chats with fellow woodlanders as we’ve hacked back weeds and created pathways.

From our woodland site, we have watched some new houses being built in the distance and just recently we have seen young families moving into the houses. I love to think that by the time the children are grown, they will have an established woodland to walk through and maybe they’ll think how lucky they are to live in this village too.
Maura Banim

If you’d like to get involved with the project, please contact Melissa at woodland@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk or join our Facebook page “Woodland & Wildlife - Sedgefield”.