Flash of Orange

Yesterday Jenny and I spotted an interesting moth at Southwood Woodland. It’s an Orange Underwing (Archiearis parthenias), a stunning little moth which exposes it’s bring orange hindwings when it flies. Keep your eyes peeled this March and April as it’s a day flying moth. It loves broad leaved woodland and lowland acid heath, with the caterpillars munching on birch. Can you think of any other sites in the valley where we have this mosaic of habitats?

Orange Underwing Moth

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Stag-gering school for wildlife

On Saturday I joined parents, children and teachers at North Farnborough Infant School to rejuvenate their tired wildlife garden. The volunteers got stuck into weaving and replanting a willow igloo and creating a tower of pallets for minibeasts. Each class can then adopt a layer of the tower and stuff with leaves, fir cones, twigs to encourage tame invertebrates.

The excavated earth from the new pond was stacked on top of the cut branches to create a hibernacula – a perfect home for frogs with lots of nooks and crannies for them to hide in.

Volunteers & Male Stag Beetle

Stag Beetle larvae

Fuelled by bacon butties we removed rotten logs seats and found a male stag beetle, – a great spot. We also unearthed a larvae which spends around 3 years munching on buried logs.  It’s important to look after these rare creatures so we kept them safe, then re-homed them on our very own stumpery of half buried vertical logs.

It was great to see the amazing transformation in just one day, and I look forward to helping install the new seating and pond. It will be great to finish off the project and create a new outdoor classroom to inspire the children to explore the outdoors.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Spot the Spawn

With the weather nice and warm all sorts of Spring flora and fauna is being spotted throughout the Blackwater Valley.

At Southwood Woodland, on our volunteer work party this past Sunday, Paul spotted this Common Frog in amongst the emerging Spring flowers. Perhaps it was on its way to our new pond!

SWIG frog 4 24.02.19

Common Frog, Rana temporaria

The Freshwater Habitats Trust, who we have worked with on Hawley Meadows to collect eDNA data on Great Crested Newts, are collecting data on the whereabouts of frog and toad spawn throughout the country in their PondNet Spawn Survey 2019.

Freshwater Habitats Trust Spawn Survey 2019 results map

So far there are no records for the Blackwater Valley area! So keep an eye out in your local ponds and if you find some spawn let us know and add it to their records here:


Ranger Jenny


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Meadow Mapping

Yesterday Stu, Bobbie, volunteer Robert and I, headed out the Ash Green Meadows to install another 2 welcome map boards. After several months of clearing barbed wire and improving access with volunteers, it’s great to be able to build the more creative elements that we’ve been designing behind the scenes with the site owners the Land Trust.  There was also an illusive sighting of a ranger with a spirit level…

Stu checking the sign board

Only one more signboard to go….

Senior Ranger Stuart


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Volunteer Task Programme March 2019

Click the link below to find out what volunteer tasks are going on in the Blackwater Valley area:

BVCP Volunteer Task Programme Mar 2019


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Egg-citing events at Wellesley Woods

With a hint of Spring in the air our new Community Coordinator Nicci has been busy organising events in Wellesley Woods!

Fri 22 Feb – Spring Bird Walks 

We still have places on the 2pm & 3pm Spring Bird Walks with Ranger Stuart. This free, family-friendly walk, which starts at the Wellesley Community Rooms, will introduce you to some of the wild life that lives in Thorn Hill.

The walks are free – but please pre-book to reserve your place and avoid disappointment.

1pm Sat 6 April – Photography Walk & Photography Competition

To launch the Wellesley Woods Photography Competition, photographer Chris Bean is leading a free guided photography walk through Wellesley Woodlands.

A keen amateur photographer, Chris knows the woodlands well and he will be on-hand to give you hints and tips to help you capture the beauty of the woodlands using your own camera.

Please book a place on this informative, free walk as spaces are limited.

For more information on entering the competition please contact us:

Mon 15 April – Join us for our famous, free, Easter-Egg Hunt!

Setting off from the car park by the Wellington Statue you will search for hidden clues and use the letters you find to solve the puzzle and earn chocolate eggs!

Whilst you are with us, why not weave a willow nest to keep your chocolate eggs safe for the journey home! Once you’ve eaten the chocolate you can put bird-food in the nest to attract birds to your garden.

This year we’re asking people to book a time slot, so we can ensure we have enough eggs for everyone! Spaces are available at:

Sat 4 May – Wellesley May Fete

Come along and say hello to us at the first ever Wellesley May Fete! With traditional games, a maypole, morris dancing, flower crown crafts and a cake stall there’s something for everyone. You can find more information on the May Fete here.

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Blooming Marvellous work at Ash Green Meadows


On Thursday we were tasked with installing three finger posts and a new path at Ash Green Meadows.

Following a very muddy day in the rain installing a map board by the car park last Friday, we quickly realised that the entrance to the dismantled railway track from the car park was very slippery. Due to this concern it was decided that a new safe path was of high priority.

It was very nice to work in the sun for a change, making the path safe for access to the site and the new map board. It was even better that we had the pleasure of Blooming Marvellous helping us for the day.

Originally asked to install two finger posts, the skilled group showed us how it was done by getting them both installed before lunch and then installed a third one! Then helped us cut and fit the terram and fill in the path with aggregate.


Paul, Mike, Eric and Stu did great work installing the sideboards for the path to maintain the shape of the path. Truly skilled work, well done !

If you would like to test out the new path you can find it here, and two of the new finger posts are installed east of the car park on the track. The third can be found here. 

A huge thank you to everyone that joined us on Thursday, it was a great days work and we all had a lot of fun as well. A thank you also to Jeremy and Stu for finishing the path on Friday.

Assistant Ranger Bobbie

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