On Sunday we went to a SWOG event in a Hornbeam woodland near Gatwick. It couldn't really look more different to our wood:
Much more open, and also less flat and wetter. It wouldn't suit what we do in the woods, but it makes for very nice pictures:
The first part of the visit was hosted by Gatwick Green Space, which is run by Sussex Wildlife Trust. They're renting part of the woodland for their activities, and for them it was an opportunity to form links with other nearby owners. They took us on a tour of the wood, explaining how they are managing it to promote wildlife habitat.
They also brought four Kelly Kettles - the most I've seen lit at once:
and used the leftover embers in them to light this 'upside down' fire:
The fire worked well, with the heat at the top drying out the wood below as the fire burned downwards. Later on they cooked us a great lunch of soup, sausages, venison and baked beans!
After lunch we went to visit David Plummer's wood, which is nearby. He's a professional photographer who runs training courses in the wood, where he has everything set up for ideal photos of birds, using perches with food in them and hides:
He took us round the wood, telling us about the wildlife and what happens on the courses he runs.
There's even a toilet for visitors!
Because he's there so much, and feeds the birds, some of them have become very tame. This Robin came along and sat close enough for me to get some nice pics:
That's nothing compared to what you'd get in a proper session with David though - you can see his courses here.
Finally, two interesting pics I got while walking round; a fallen ash with a huge burr on it, the biggest I've ever seen:
and a land rover Defender that's much more beat up than ours is!
That's all for now. It looks like it'll be cold again soon, so there may be some more snow pictures coming...