Some of the older residents of the village may remember The Binges, as it was known, a small piece of wild woodland about 4 acres to the east of the village. You approached it by going to the end of Brook Lane then followed the footpath towards Cream Lodge along Fishpool Brook. My father's farm, Elms Lodge, had some fields which came down to the footpath and I would sometimes take this route home from school during the summer months when the fields were not too muddy.
This woodland was naturally formed and must have dated back hundreds of years. It was quite dense in places with lots of bushes and mature trees, occasional apple trees, which must have been naturally seeded, with small clearings here and there. It was a great place to explore as a child and later for a spot of poaching as there were plenty of rabbits, pheasants and pigeons living in it. Unfortunately it was all grubbed out many years ago and is now just grassland.
Remembering the times I had as a child in this woodland has recently inspired me to create my own woodland. I have fenced off about 3/4 of an acre, which already has a pond in it, and established some willows around it. Each year, for the past few years, a pair of Mallard has set up home here. I have also stocked the pond with carp and am hoping that this time, as it is at least the second time I've done this, the heron will not steal all of them.
I have planted deciduous trees, rowan, field maple, walnut, lime and apple and others that were given to me and I'm not sure what they are yet. Some I got from the Woodland Trust who also advised on how to set them out. I have planted them tighter than perhaps I should but they can always be thinned out later and I wanted to have something during my lifetime that resembled a spinney. I have also planted some woodland bulbs which will hopefully produce a show this spring.
My overall aim is to encourage wildlife and to this aim I always keep my hedges high and resist having them cut while there are berries on them. Over the years here I have seen a decrease in some wildlife; for instance there used to be clouds of sparrows about in the autumn which you do not see now, and there also used to be flocks of lapwings but not anymore. However, we now have buzzards which I never saw here until 5 or 6 years ago and occasionally muntjak deer although usually, unfortunately, as road casualties.