Wow, that was a busy month for camping and visiting the wood! I think we had a total of four camping trips with various people, and numerous other day/evening visits as well. I'll start with a few of the group photos that often get taken...
Metal detecting with my brother Andy, nephew Joshua, and friend Matt with his family:
Friends from work, some of whom camped:
Friends from Rye:
Friends from Sidley:
We also had a visit from the Udimore Gardeners Club (link with photos)
Every visit that includes some hours of darkness now includes using the rope swing in the dark, which is quite a surreal experience. Here's our friends Josh and Ben having a go!
Toasting marshmallows round the fire has also been popular, as well as setting fire to sticks and waving them around...
One benefit this summer has been our supercharged fire pit. I posted a few weeks ago about how we made it, but now it has a new feature, based on an old PC fan that my friend Olly gave me:
This is powered from the 12V solar PV system that I often take to the woods when we're camping to use for lighting:
The result is an almost smoke-free fire, which can put out a lot of heat, or be small and controlled for cooking:
We've done a few jobs over the summer too, such as moving logs and making racks to store them in:
Cutting chunks off a tree butt to use as a work surface back at the campsite:
and also relocating the toilet, where my brother Andy helped with the digging:
and my nephew Joshua checked the new hole was deep enough:
The old toilet is safely filled in and the new one ready for use now:
Joshua had a really good time in the woods, and it was his first ever camping trip! So everything was new, from where he ate breakfast...
To having to scare things away...
And one day when we popped back to the house for a shower (we thought 4 days without one might not be a good idea...) the excitement overcame him...
He also really enjoyed playing with Matt and Anita's son Ishan when they came to stay for one of the nights:
The metal detecting (see the first picture in this post) yielded some great results:
The trawl includes a shell from a WW2 plane (unexploded, so it's been carefully disposed of now)
and two 20mm shell casings, probably from a Spitfire:
Here's the three of them side by side:
We saw lots of wildlife during August too, though most of it when Tracy and I were there on our own, as 3 and 4 year old boys don't usually play quietly! Here's a few pics...
A caterpillar (Pale Tussock moth?)
a Speckled Wood butterfly:
a Gatekeeper butterfly:
One of many large beetles, which are now dying by the dozen as Autumn approaches:
a Robin, flitting around the trees in the wayleave:
which coincidentally looks great on a summer morning:
I was particularly pleased with these pics of a Wood Pigeon, which has been making a nest near our camp (they nest all year if they think they can):
And last but not least, we discovered a second Alder Buckthorn tree (well, shrub at present), this time along the public footpath. This is good as it's the food plant of the Brimstone caterpillar - and I was pleased to see some leaves had been eaten!
Well that's the story for August. I'm doing my London-Brighton bike ride soon, so after that I'll have more time for blogging as I won't be training!