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Dawn and Dusk at Markstakes Common

When bluebells give way to bracken

I needed to get up there after a week away and was sad to find little new. The wood now with a dense canopy feels dormant and predictable. I used up three poo bags collecting 11 dog shits. The first 250m into the woods are becoming a ‘dog shit alley’. Does it matter? The woods can accommodate it. Should people know better. What is the answer? Bins? Signage? Education? Patrols? Threats? CCTV?

Simply shite

I only returned this evening as I was on the way back from the swimming club and sundown is at 9:05. I did a tour, enjoying honey soft glows on the tree tops and then bats. I tried video, even slow motion … one was flying a figure of eight circuit that included flying at me then away again.

Notable Ash

Moat Wood, East Hoathly, East Sussex, 14th September 2021

No. 1. Woodland Trust

This is my first self-conscious Woodland Trust wood walk. 

I made it easy on myself and went to a wood not far from home, to a village I thought I knew and where there would be easy parking. I still managed to go off in the wrong direction on the A26 for 3 miles before doubling back; this is what happens these days when I turn the SatNav off. The weather was as promised and worst. I took an anorak and umbrella.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Leaving Lewes to the north east is a painful exercise as major roadworks have reduce a busy road to a single lane. I’m sent back on the south route to avoid it coming home.

Being my very first trip specifically to a Woodland Trust I wonder what regular observations I will make? I record 30 seconds of sound for a potential set of soundscapes. I also take a deep breath and take in the ‘forest’ smells. Adsly at this time of year things can start to set off my hayfever allergies. Something about spores or seeds in the air.

I rather think a wood needs: trees, paths, a stream or lake with bridges, styles and gates in and out and some simple signage. There are benches, but I wonder when or if bins will ever appear? I pick the little litter I find on such walks. I rather thank others do the same.

Queries on a Woodland Trust wood are readily answered if you are a member as you have access to the Management Plan for the wood. This gives a detail context, the geology, surrounding land use and current spread and nature of the trees, and the plan. Here we have a mixed wood that some 80 to 100 years ago was planned with pine – which have stolen all light and underwich there is little to no growth – this is only a small section of the wood which is mostly deciduous.

I tend to use my nose and ‘sense of direction’ to navigate a circuit in and out of a wood. At under 25 acres I guess this is an easy enough thing to do, that and using the sight and sound of the A22 along one edge to guide me back to the village.

As the Digital Editor for The Western Front Association for the last six years I have become efficient at searching names in the National Archives and our own Pension Ledgers and Cards. Throw in the rest of Ancestry, the British Newspaper Archive and my own growing library of local and national ‘rolls of honour’ and I can usually complete a reasonable profile of a person, their life before the war, during the war, demise and commemoration. I curate over 2,300 names in our daily ‘Remember On This Day‘ in which someone who served and died is remembered. I will indulge the good story, most especially where we have a photograph of the protagonist too.

R W Beal
 A J Bishop
A A Brooker
R Surcess
W C Carley
C J Colbran
H Corke
L Ellis
C Y Goldsmith
S G Warboard
E N Hurd
A C Nutson
FSC Joules
CJ Kemp
E Morley
G EM Peskett
H M Piper
R Russell
W W Woodhams 
The War Memorial at East Hoathly, East Sussex

There’s some natural overlap between an interest in those who served in the First World War and the village and town memorials I will stumble across, as here. The temptation is to start researching the names – you do one and you have to do them all though and there’s a very good chance someone has done this somewhere already.

I wonder if those with dedications on the woods would want more said? A few paragraphs and a photo online?

All photographs taken on a iPhone11 Pro. I’ve come to adore its simplicity and convenience. In due course I may take it out, if only for the close-up lens. For 360 degree pictures to indulge some interactivity with ThingLink I will need myself a 360 camera – now there is a thought for my upcoming birthday 🙂

Liquid Inspiration from cider flavoured with ginger

Fig.1. Liquid Inspiration – I visit Middle Farm for the cider

I’ve used the history of orchards in Sussex to offer a model for how higher education might change and adapt – grubbing out the old and offering something ‘customers’ want is a good message. Location too, this on the A25 – universities today needing to be on the Internet Super Highway.

I’ve used the metaphor of orchards in e-learning too – the nurturing of the crop, the varieties grown and how these are promoted and sold.

Fig.2.  “Side-R” Medium Cider with Ginger

‘Flavoured from our Cider with natural Ginger concentrate, this Cider has a mellow Ginger side to it without over-powering the delicate “apple” flavour of the Cider’.

Fig.3. Middle Farm sells a bewildering number of varieties. 

Side-R takes you to a somewhat bizarre website that reveals itself to be odder still when you Google translate from the Japanese.

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