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Kingston cemetery dawn chorus

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Today is Internation Dawn Chorus day and I left the house at 4.30am to listen to the birds in the local cemetery. Starting almost exclusively with blackbirds, robins joined at 4.45, followed by wrens (and  the odd woodpigeon). A pair of mallard flew over as the jackdaws started to rouse (possibly stirred by the noise of a helicopter) from the acacia/sycamore 'woodland' along the Hogsmill.

The Hogsmill river was the source of the most concentrated choir and song thrushes could be heard from both sides of the river. They have bounced back since the only new recruit was taken by a cat five years ago. As the dawn sky brightened, a low flying pipistrelle flew north, followed by a higher larger bat at 5.00 a.m. Synchopated sound along the river amounted to ten wren territories, with many more in the matrix (along with 5 blackcaps).


The jackdaw exodus to the chimney pots of New Malden was followed by a crassula of green parakeets, drowning out the 11 blackbird territories counted. A…

The Covid Walks: Option 3 Coombe Wood

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Option 3 of the Coombe antiquities walk is to visit Coombe Wood Local Nature Reserve.  Once at the top of Traps Lane - head across the road to Coombe Hill and then onto Henley drive where there is an access board. The nature reserve can also be reached via the A3 slip road, where there is a public footpath/cycle route. Hopping and Coombe wood are split in two (north- south) by the Kingston by-pass. The western half is more established and not as disturbed  that the eastern half, which can be reached by an overbridge, although the latter is more 'alive' and biodiverse.

If leaving via the alternative route; the slip road at Coombe Lane West by the New Victoria hospital, then the sign for Hoppingwood Farm denotes a modern office site and not the original farm, which was in New Malden.

The site has some magnificent oak trees, two old ponds and  understory of bluebells and wild garlic. However a lack of attention,  the dumping of garden rubbish and rhodendron invasion is a proble…

The Covid walks short series: Norbiton Common and Cambridge Estate

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One of the ambitions of the 'Tolworth Treasure and the Hogsmill Hum' walks currated by Lucy Furlong and myself and featured on Radio 4's walking women was that you can enjoy walking anywhere but you may need a device to help you connect with the area. Walking along the busy Tolworth Broadway was particularly enjoyable when in the company of one of its former residents: Richard Jefferies.

The following short circular walk is around parts of what was NORBITON COMMON and was written in the context of a discreet period of time when Kingston Cemetery was locked (it has since reopened). Alexander Mitchelson, a market gardener who lived in NORBITON STREET - was the founder of the Kingston heritage apple - the 'Mitchelson's seedling'. He had 13 acres of  his allotments at NORBITON COMMON (an additional 15 acres were situated at Kingston hospital at the A308 junction).

Starting at Kingston Road, you can begin this walk through Kingston recreation ground and cross at the…