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Showing posts from December, 2016

Wassailing or Wasseling

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Peri-urban habitats in the south of the borough are radically altered; but orchards can maintain a wonderful wildlife habitat. The longer grass between trees can be a haven for wildflowers and insects; surplus fruit is appreciated by  winter  Scandanavian thrushes (redwings and fieldfares). There are some excellent blogs on orchards and their wildlife.
http://brightwellorchards.blogspot.co.uk/
See also http://www.abundancelondon.com/ with excellent posts from K. Leibreich on the situation in south-west London fruit growing stronghold in Chiswick and Isleworth.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/blog/2016/jan/11/community-belonging-values-discovery is an account of wassailing in an Oxfordshire village.

The tradition of wassailing (also wasselling) into two distinct categories: The house-visiting wassail and the orchard-visiting wassail. The house-visiting wassail is the practice of people going door-to-door, singing and offering a drink from the punch bowl (as at Pensford Fields). This …

Green Lane Stream, tributary of the Hogsmill

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This is the spring of one of the Hogsmill tributaries aka Green Lanes stream. It rises near West Hill in Epsom on the southern tip of Court Park. Despite some initial gurgling - no water was apparent throughout the park.


The route is along a stand of spectacular oak trees, many >300 years old. Great spotted woodpeckers were enjoying the grubs activated by the warmth of the winter sun. The stream is again lost along Pound Lane and the Primary School until it reaches Longmead Road where it emerges via several outfalls, a mixture of stormwater, road run-off and some misconnected pipework.
A strong ammonia odour becomes apparent once reaching the Thames Water storm tanks opposite Blenheim School, where the pong penetrates the winter air for the remainder of the  Longmead Road stretch. The rag-coated grillage attests to  recent sewage overflow  into the stream- despite the low rainfall- and is indicative of the lack of capacity in the system. 

After crossing the Chessington Road B220 …

Unnamed tributary of the Hogsmill river

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This little wildlife corridor, marked here by the black arrow, rises close-to (and feeds) the lakes at Horton CP Golf Course. It flows towards the Hogsmill at Scott's Farm Close where it can be viewed at three places; this is after snaking through  back gardens into the playing fields at Epsom and Ewell High School. Here it is heavily engineered with double and triple weirs.

Evidence of the stream's existence above ground is marked by the straighter - than - natural  line of trees  along  rear boundaries of properties along  Gadesden  Road. As Scott's Farm Close meets Gadesden Road there is a public right of way across school playing fields to Ruxley Lane where the stream can just about be seen (below left). There are additional views at Chessington Close as the stream emerges from under the busy B284 road, traversing a more natural course through gardens - initially along their boundaries - but thereafter via a cherished seat in the centre of a tiny reserve. A slight kink…