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OUR OPEN MEETINGS OR TALKS are usually held in Totley Library. There will be publicity advertising these events in the local press, on the website, emailed out and on posters located at various sites around Totley and in the Wood. All are very welcome to come along and join us. If you would like to offer to help with these in any way, please do get in touch with the Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have occasional GUIDED WALKS usually at the weekends which are advertised in the same way.
OUR CONSERVATION WORK MORNINGS are from 10am for 2 to 3 hours on the last Sunday of the month if the weather is okay. There is always a SCC Ranger there with appropriate tasks (light and heavy) and tools. We meet either at the Baslow Road bus terminus, the Scout Hut on Aldam Road, Totley or at the end of Totley Hall Lane. They are advertised on posters around Totley, in the local press and nearer the date are emailed out. If you are interested in helping us carry out such work in Gillfield Wood with a Ranger from Sheffield City Council or have any questions, please contact email@example.com
Mammal Trapping Sunday October 15th 2017
One of the many events organised by the Friends of Gillfield Wood this year was the ever popular live Mammal Trapping event. This took place on Sunday October 15th, a fine bright morning. Val Clinging of the Sorby Natural History Society once again led this event and oversaw the setting and opening of the traps.
Val is a good friend of the group and enthusiastically shares her knowledge of small mammals so that it makes for a fascinating morning for all ages. On this occasion twenty six people attended, sixteen adults and ten children, a brilliant turnout. The previous evening, a total of twenty traps had been set in two different locations within Gillfield Wood. These traps are specially designed metal Longworth traps into which bedding and food are placed so any small mammal caught has warmth and nourishment to last them overnight and, when caught, these mammals are quite safe within the compartment. The entrance to the trap has a thin trip wire which when triggered, closes the flap door behind the mammal. As each prepared trap is carefully placed on the floor of the wood, in specially chosen sites, it is covered with fallen twigs and leaves.
That morning, once in the wood, everyone gathered around Val with great excitement and anticipation as each trap was inspected. When the door of the trap is found to be closed it does not always mean that the trap has caught a mammal, one of the woodland slugs may have slithered in to get to the food and triggered the sensitive wiring. Usually, however, the weight of the trap when in the hand does indicate that there is more than a slug inside!
So if the trap is closed and “heavy” the technique is then to get the small mammal from out of the trap and into a plastic bag and then into a small clear plastic box for inspection. It sounds easy but great care is needed to ease the small mammal, with bedding, out of the trap and into the plastic bag for all to see; mice are very lively and can sometimes escape. Of the twenty traps placed in the wood, eleven of the traps had successfully caught mammals, an excellent result. Five of the traps each contained a Wood Mouse and six contained Bank Vole. Everyone was thrilled to get close up views of these tiny creatures as they gradually settled inside the inspection boxes and it was not long before the children were identifying the mammals and pointing out the differences between Wood Mouse and Bank Vole, the latter having tiny ears, shorter tail and darker fur.
When each mammal had been identified and observed with interest, it was released into a suitable piece of undergrowth, again to much excitement. It was at this time you could clearly see the speed at which Wood Mice are capable of moving through the ground vegetation; lightning quick, bounding over tiny obstacles and their long tail, large ears, light brown fur were clearly noted. The Bank Voles in comparison were far more cautious; clearly using their noses, sniffing the ground as they moved slowly away.
Without doubt an excellent time was had by one and all and already another mammal trapping event is being arranged with Val for next October. If you would like to attend please keep your eye on the group’s event calendar in the Totley Independent or keep looking on the FOGW website.
Bluebells and Conservation Work
We are aware that a number of people would like to see the wonderful display of bluebells inside Gillfield Wood in May, but find it difficult to negotiate some of the stiles and footpaths along the way. Distance is also an issue understandably for some people. So please do remember you can access the wood with ease from the west end of the wood; that is at the bus terminus on the main Baslow Road just below Dysons on the outskirts of the village. You can get a bus there and back if you wish, or there is a small area for one or two cars to park off the edge of the bus turning circle or you can of course walk there. But if you do go by car, please do not to block the entrance to the main metal gate which “our” local farmer Edwin Pocock regularly uses to gain access up to his fields and sheep on the north side of the wood.
If you do use this entrance to the wood, within a few metres along the solid wide footpath you will have trees either side of you; the large conifers on your left and what we refer to as the “new plantation” on your right, the latter having been planted twenty plus years ago. This ride is a delight to walk in spring with its colours and the sound of birds calling and singing, and you might be lucky enough to see here, in the dappled light, butterflies, bees, hoverflies and dragonflies because the Friends of Gillfield Wood have actively been trying to keep the ride open to the sun and at the same time improve the habitat for a wide variety of fauna and flora.
And then, a little further along the ride, when you reach the wooden gates into the main body of the wood, you will see the bluebells you have been seeking, if you have of course timed your walk right. Banks of bluebells bless the south facing slope of the wood on the left, where the Council and members of the group have worked hard to thin out the trees in this area. This work has opened up the canopy and allowed more light in to encourage the ground cover below to grow; it certainly has had the desired effect. The group, together with Council Ranger, also put in place the gates and repaired the long dry stone wall, so if you get a second do take a look at their handiwork; the group are somewhat proud of its achievements.
We do hope you enjoy your walk if you go, and if you can venture further into the wood there is a spectacular display of bluebells either side of the main path. And please remember there is a colourful and informative leaflet the group has produced relating to the wood, its surroundings and history. If you would like a copy please go onto the website or contact the group direct, or pick one up from either the Post Office, the Cross Scythes or the Library.
Members of the group have also been working hard to try to improve the main footpath inside the wood in an effort to reduce the number of muddy sections, but it is certainly not easy to be successful in this respect with the weather as it is in winter! In addition they have continued to work on the picnic area at the west end of the wood so that it will hopefully be, in time, a swathe of wild flowers in front of the two tables that are sited there for all to enjoy the tranquillity and views.
If you happen to be interested in helping with the group’s conservation work please contact Andy Brewster on firstname.lastname@example.org. There is always light work as well as work of the more strenuous kind. Working parties consist of ladies and gents, of different ages and abilities. Andy is the group’s leader for these events and co-ordinates the work with the Council. We normally meet once a month on a Sunday at 10am and are away by 1pm but you can come and go as you please. Tools are provided and no experience is necessary. “Our” Council Ranger supervises operations and he also provides the much needed and appreciated tea, coffee and biscuits. It is always a good friendly atmosphere with plenty of chatting and laughs. We do hope you will consider joining us.
If you are in your late teens why not come along and give conservation work a try. It is definitely rewarding; perhaps you can add it to your CV or make it a part of your Duke of Edinburgh.