Richard Holmes, Beauchamps

For its final meeting of the summer season, some twenty members of Udimore Wildlife Society met last Wednesday evening for a walk in Brede High Woods. Our leader and guide, Dr Patrick Roper, opened our eyes to many features of the woodland and its management which most visitors to the Woodland Trust reserve have no idea of. Did you know, for example, that a small area of the woods is now regularly used by followers of the contemporary Wicca cult? Dr Roper also told us that under the current management plan many Scots pines, an indigenous species, are being retained, after some thinning, but most other conifers are being progressively removed, to be replaced either by native broadleaved trees or by areas of open heath. In one of these newly created large clearings an astonishing number of insect species has already been recorded, one of them found nowhere else in Britain. A small tree of particular interest is the alder buckthorn, the main food plant of brimstone butterfly larvae, and also previously in much demand by the local armaments industry: when burnt in a kiln its twigs produced the best charcoal for the manufacture of gunpowder. Our visit happened to coincide with the arrival of a small group of handsome, elegantly marked Konik ponies, now commonly used on nature reserves to control the spread of undergrowth. Thanks to Dr Roper and a fine evening, this was an enjoyable and interesting walk.

The service in St Mary’s Church this Sunday is the monthly 9.30am family Sung Eucharist.

In the Hall there’s to be a jumble sale on Saturday morning, October 19. Please start putting on one side any “jumble” you would like to donate (only of the highest quality, of course). Further arrangements for its reception (or collection) will be explained nearer the time. The organizers intend to include in the sale the various jackets, anoraks and coats which have been hanging on the pegs there for some time. If any of these garments are yours, please claim them as soon as possible. I haven’t yet been able to find out how much was raised by the Royal Baby Barn Dance on August 17.