Gifford Community Woodland comprises Speedy and Fawn Woods at the end of Station Road in Gifford, East Lothian. They were purchased in 2017 on behalf of the whole community, and we welcome feedback or input - you can contact us at any time on gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com

PARKING - Please note there is NO PARKING AT THE WOODS or nearby. We ask all of our visitors to park in Gifford village centre, which is just a short walk away.
Please do not park anywhere on the track, or nearby roads. These are busy with residents' parking/access and must be kept clear.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Our most secretive residents

We were very lucky to have local mammal recorder Graham Checkley back in Our Gifford Woods recently to again monitor some of the activity.  This time Graham brought his trail camera along to study our most secretive residents, and he managed to capture quite a few additional users of Gifford Woods as can be seen in the video below (also available on our YouTube channel by clicking here)!

Here's an update from Graham to describe what he did and what he found:

"If you walk through a woodland at dusk or dawn you may be lucky enough to encounter a Fox going about their business.  But most of the mammal activity takes place at dead of night, and that's why a trail camera is so useful; it operates in infrared and is motion triggered, so it doesn't bother the animals at all.

My first camera deployment was in the Speedy Wood, where I recorded Fox and Roe Deer, but Nev suggested that I checked out the Fawn Wood too and I was very glad I did.

I recorded Badger, Brown Hare, Fox, and what looked like Wood Mice at both of the Fawn Wood locations I checked, while Roe Deer were an additional species that only frequented the quieter trails.

It's intriguing to see the number of species that can coexist on a small section of a woodland trail.  You can see Pheasants at dawn, mice at night, and Foxes at the odd hours in between; survival is so often a matter of timing.

But there's also the question of daytime survival.  Badgers have sets, Foxes have lairs and Mice have nests, but Brown Hare and Roe Deer simply hunker down and try to be invisible.  That's what makes visitor behaviour so important.

So if you do take a walk in the woods, especially at dawn or dusk, please try not to disturb our secret residents.".

A big thank you again to Graham for all his work and sharing this with us.

AGM Update, in case you missed it!

As previously publicised we held our 2020 AGM digitally this year.  On Monday 2nd December various Trustees, members of the management group and attendees from the wider community met to hear an update on progress over the last 12 months, and give their thoughts on some activites and plans for the next year.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to be there.

To see a copy of the presentation which the Trustees shared, which includes a financial update, please click here or on the image below.


As was mentioned at the AGM, whilst new Directors are appointed as a part of the formal AGM, our regular Management meetings are open to any members of the community who wish to attend.  The next of these will be held (via Zoom) on Monday 7th December at 7:30pm.  If you wish to join, please email gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com and we shall send you an invitation.

In the meantime, to echo the words of our new Chair, a big thank you to our out-going Directors for all their hard work.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

AGM Reminder, & copy of 2019 Minute

We just wanted to remind you all that the Gifford Woods AGM will be held in a couple of weeks, and also provide you an opportunity before then to read and review the Minutes of our 2019 AGM.

You can read and review the 2019 AGM Minute (held on 2nd September 2019) by clicking here.

As for this year, please remember that the 2020 AGM will be held on Monday 2nd November at 7.30pm, digitally via Zoom (details below). Joining Instructions for this Zoom Meeting are:

If you've not used Zoom before, you can find out more at: https://zoom.us/.  



Wednesday, 7 October 2020

AGM - Monday 2nd November, 7:30pm

Our Gifford Woods AGM will be held on Monday 2nd November at 7.30pm, digitally via Zoom (details below)

  • Hear brief updates on what has been happening in the woods.
  • Brief AGM – hear latest on charity finances & activities.
  • Have your say on the future of the woods; we want to hear what you think.

All from the comfort of your own home - so please join us if you can!

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

PARKING - please read this important information before you visit.

There is NO PARKING AT THE WOODS or nearby.

We ask all of our visitors to park in Gifford village centre, which is just a short walk away.  
Please do not park anywhere on the track, or nearby roads.  These are busy with residents' parking/access and must be kept clear.

The quickest walking route from the village is along Station Road (which you will see to the left of the Village Hall as you look towards it).

You'll find our Welcome sign on the track that leads up to the woods (you'll come to this just after you've passed the junction of Station Road and Tweeddale Avenue on your walk).  

We hope you enjoy your visit and thank you for your co-operation.



Monday, 28 September 2020

Recent Bat Survey

We're pleased to report that Graham Checkley worked with us in early September to carry out a bat activity survey of the Community Woodland.

Graham recently sent us this update -

"Why study bats?  Well,  to quote the Bat Conservation Trust,  "Bats are a vital part of our native wildlife... They can tell us a lot about the state of the environment, as they are top predators of common nocturnal insects and are sensitive to changes in land use practices.".  But for me there is also the excitement of watching them flutter across the darkening sky, and the sheer detective work of finding out what they are up to.

From Nev I was already aware of potential bat hot spots within the community woodland, so I just needed to walk around the site and decide where to deploy my bat detectors.  I settled on 2 places, the clearing on the east side of the Fawn Wood and the wooden bridge over the Speedy Burn, as they seemed likely to attract a different mix of bat species.  Bats will often follow linear features when they are commuting or feeding, and the woodland clearing seemed to provide a delightfully sheltered woodland edge.  By contrast the Speedy Burn snakes through the southern part of the community woodland and some bats will choose to feed along streams.

I deployed my Anabat express bat detectors for 7 days at these 2 locations.  The express works pretty much like a hand-held bat detector, but they have the advantage of recording and time-stamping all of the recordings for subsequent analysis.  This allows you to identify the species present, quantify the recordings and study the pattern of overnight activity. You can also be at home enjoying a G&T while the detectors are hard at work!

I'm pleased to report that both locations had above average bat activity and 3 species present (Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle [see image below] and a Myotis species, probably Daubenton's).  As I suspected most of the Myotis activity was along the Speedy Burn, no mean feat in a rather cluttered environment, while the woodland edge was the place preferred by the Pipistrelle species.

Most importantly bats were recorded emerging at or before sunset, particularly on the edge of the Fawn Wood.  This suggests that the bats are roosting in the immediate vicinity, and some of the pre-dawn activity suggests possible swarming activity before heading away to roost.

In practice this means endoscope checks for bat roosts before tree work, and local householders should watch out for emerging bats.  You may have some unsuspected lodgers!"


Soprano Pipistrelle 


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Fungi Foray

Saturday 5th September, 10.00am-2.00pm

Join mycologist Neville Kilkenny, Research Associate of The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and member of the British Mycological Society, for an educational and entertaining walk through the woods, discussing the wild fungi that are encountered. You will learn about the role the fungi play in ecosystems, the species that are considered the best edibles, and the perils of collecting those that aren’t!



BOOKINGS:

  • Tickets from Beech and Birch

or

Tickets: £20.00 

  • Children under 12, tickets cost £5 and can be paid for on the day. Advance booking required. Numbers limited 2 max 2 children per paying adult.
  • Bring a packed lunch and don’t forget a basket! 
  • Please wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriately for the weather. 
  • Sorry – no dogs please!
  • Please maintain social distance at all times.
  • We cannot guarantee edible fungi will be found on this foray.
  • Meet after the Bridge of Station Road at the entrance the woodland 
  • Please park in the village.