Last week a brave band of 20 or so people from Sussex turned up for the RSPB walk into and around Knowlands Woods that started at The Secret Campsite. Despite the ferocious weather we set off led by Nick Lear, who owns and runs Knowlands as a private nature reserve and Richard Black our bird expert from the RSPB.

There weren’t many birds showing themselves due to the very strong winds so the walk become an opportunity for us all to ask questions and look at interesting habitats. We saw a plucking post probably recently used by a Sparrowhawk and later on in the walk we inadvertently flushed out a Woodcock and had a brief debate about the occupants of a nest.

Nick manages the woodland for wildlife and operrates a coppicing approach with a % of the woods cut back each year. This creates a diverse range of habitats for a wide variety of species to inhabit. Unfortunately when the wind blows they all hide.

It was a great walk and next time with some calmer weather perhaps we’ll get to see more than the 4 species of birds that dared to show themselves. After all the campsite borders the old dismantled section of the Bluebell Railway that is an SNCI and home to species such as Nightingales in the Spring

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