May Update

May has been an exciting month with lots going on in the cluster! We kicked it off with a nightingale walk at Dering Woods kindly led by Clive Steward who manages this site for the Woodland Trust. It was a really interesting evening which covered a fascinating history of the site which can be found on their website and some details about Turkey Oaks which I’d not known before – find out more here! (Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) – British Trees – Woodland Trust)

We were also lucky enough to hear at least 7 nightingales singing which was beautiful! As you may know, Chas Holt our ecologist has been out and about completing the surveys for this wonderful bird across the cluster so I will follow up with an update on how this has been going soon!

If you are interested in hearing what birds you have around on the farm but are struggling to identify them, I may have found just the app for you. The Merlin Bird App is a really useful tool and I am using it loads at the moment! (Merlin Bird ID – Free, instant bird identification help and guide for thousands of birds – Identify the birds you see (

South East Rivers Trust have been out with some of the farmers in the cluster providing Riverfly Survey training. They have provided kits to some members so sampling can be carried out and the findings reported back to SERT. This will help monitor how our waterways are looking by seeing what species are about! If you want to get involved, please get in touch with me!

On 30th May we held a joint event with The Forestry Commission, Natural England and Southern Water to talk about all the different schemes currently available, especially around woodland. This was kindly hosted by cluster member Will Samuelson on his farm and included a lovely farm walk. The walk was a great opportunity to see some impressive natural regeneration of woodland, in particular Oak and admire the riparian corridor developing along his leaky woody dam.

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