Bluebell Woods – open weekend

Both of our woodlands on the reserve (Cockaynes Wood and Villa Wood) contain remnants of ancient woodland.  One of the marker species for this are our native English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta ).  We have enjoyed a fantastic display of bluebells in Villa Wood for several years but our management program in Cockaynes Wood has opened up new areas of bluebells to see. If you take a walk around the outer path, you can expect to see a lovely carpet of blue.

This weekend (Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April), we will be opening up the car park in the old yard area of the reserve for car parking.  The old yard is accessed from the Wivenhoe/Alresford Road beside the railway bridge. The gates will be open between 10am and 5pm on both days.

As we’ve been enjoying a dry spell recently, all the footpaths are firm and dry.  Many of them are accessible to both wheelchairs and pushchairs.  We also have a number of picnic tables and seats around the site.  Why not come along and have a walk?

Posted in Posts

Warden’s Blog 15/7/16

GLOW WORMS. This appears to be a good year for them, if Cockaynes Reserve is anything to go by. Last Sunday night Val, Lucy and I did a survey and found 46 glowing females (including two mating pairs). Mostly they were along the railway track side of the entrance road and yard / public path to railway crossing. There were also some in Villa Wood below the nissen hut but we will need to do a further survey to discover how far they have colonised this part of the site. The first pictures are of a mating pair and show the difference in size between male and female. The female does not fly and uses it’s glowing lower abdomen to emit a bright green light to attract the flying males. Once mated, the female stops glowing and goes away to lay her eggs before perishing in a week or so.
We will be doing a 2nd survey on Friday evening (15th July) if anyone wishes to join us. Meet at the entrance gate 9.45pm and will last up to about 11.30 (weather permitting). Suggest a torch and possibly mosquito repellant.

Glow Worms. 10-7-16 DSC_0041a Glow Worms. 10-7-16 DSC_0042a Glow Worms. 10-7-16 DSC_0043a Glow Worms. 10-7-16 DSC_0046Glow Worms. 10-7-16 DSC_0048

Posted in Posts

Warden’s Blog. 30/4/16

It is so nice when we visit Cockaynes to talk to people who come to the site regularly as they can tell us about things they have seen that we haven’t. A gentleman yesterday told us how he had seen two stoats chasing each other around by the fishing lakes early in the morning while walking his dog. Last year he had seen the family of foxes at five in the morning by the holes in the scrape area.

This Sunday is the monthly work party so the main gate will be open from ten till about three pm, allowing vehicle access into the central yard for visitors.

The bluebells are in full flower and Villa Wood is looking especially good with a variety of other spring flowers blooming too. You might also hear the nightingale singing at the top of the wood as well as the noisy liitle chiffchaffs who are especially vocal at the moment. (Their name comes from the sound they make). Yesterday the Cetti’s warbler was singing loudly in the centre of the site and the lapwings were also defending their territory over the scrape and making their distinctive ‘peewit’ call. We also saw and heard the common Whitethroats in the central heath scrub area (little brown bird with a white throat patch). The shelducks had returned to the scrape too. The kestrel and buzzard were also very visible yesterday. (There are also patches of bluebells and anemones in Cockaynes Wood too.)
The people on the work party are always happy to chat and answer any questions about the site.  A lot more photos have been added to this web site (still more to sort and obtain), but we are always happy to accept any from visitors to the Reserve providing the photos have been taken on the Reserve (we are attempting to have this web page as a true pictorial record for the Cockaynes of all the flora and fauna found there). We have had confirmation in the last few days of a second rare bee species (Andrena Vaga), in the yard area, found by David (one of our insect experts) when he visited last week. This is another mining bee and has a grey hairy shoulder patch with shiny black body…we would like the photo!

Roger and Valerie.

Posted in Posts

Warden’s Blog, 11/4/2016

Good news……. we have the first of our nightingales back this year. Dave D reported one singing last night at the north end (near Sunnymead Lane) of Villa Wood. He also saw a Pochard duck on the Small Pond by the bridge but reports now that it has moved over to one of the fishing lakes.
This morning Mo J has heard Willow Warblers, Cetti’s Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing. They also have Sand Martins and House Martins at the farm, so you may see them flying low around the Scrape area catching insects. The sunshine this morning has also brought out the Peacock butterflies and the Brimstone Butterfly.

Brimstone butterfly.   Photo by Glyn on 2/8/2015.

Peacock butterfly.  Photo by Glyn on 22/3/2016

Chiffchaff.   Photo by  Glyn on 22/3/2016.


Posted in Posts

Warden’s Blog, 17/3/2016

We had a lovely morning on the reserve yesterday. We transplanted some primroses into the area we had tidied on Sunday (under the hazel coppice in Villa Wood) as most of the primroses already on the reserve are not in places where they can easily be seen. They should spread over this area in the next few years.
The scarlet elf cup is still flourishing and there are many more celandines in flower. The water saxifrage is growing along the sides of the boardwalk and should be in flower soon.
The warm sunshine had brought out various species. We saw six peacock butterflies and one brimstone butterfly; the colletes bees were busy on the sandbanks in the yard and there were lots of other small insects on the wing. I disturbed a grass snake and saw its tail end disappearing rapidly into the wood from the heath edge. We also disturbed a muntjac in the small silt pond near the yard which went bounding off towards Villa Wood.
Lots of birds were visible today. On the heath area the long tailed tits were busy in the same area where they nested last year and the Cetti’s Warbler was singing in the tree on the edge of the central pond below them. The blue tits are obviously getting ready to nest and are checking out a box in Cockaynes and also another pair are looking at the box on the weighbridge hut. Various ducks were displaying on the fishing lakes next door and we were extremely chuffed to see a pair of goosanders! The tufted ducks and grebes were showing off their crests in the sun. Our resident pair of pied wagtails were strutting their stuff in the yard; they must nest somewhere nearby.
Val Robson

Posted in Posts

Tesco Bags of Help Initiative Funding Award

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch it’s Bags of Help Initiative across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags.The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.Visit for more information and do not forget to visit your local store and please vote!  Please remember, all funding we receive will be used to help improve and maintain the reserve for community use.Thank you.
Cockaynes Wood Trust

Posted in Posts

Warden’s blog, 19th February 2016

It was a lovely day out on the reserve today. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and there were lots of people out enjoying the good weather with us.
The primroses and snowdrops are now in full flower in Villa Wood. We heard the woodpeckers drumming and calling and saw numerous tits and a chiffchaff. We also heard the song thrush giving his repetitive call from the hawthorns.
In Cockaynes Wood we heard the jay shouting. We also saw the goldcrests again plus long-tailed tits, blue tits and great tits. The youngsters have been busy in the coppiced area again and appear to have left behind a dinosaur!
Walking back to the yard, we saw a pair of mallards, a pair of tufted ducks and a dabchick on the scrape. There were also four coots noisily displaying and chasing each other around the water. A sparrowhawk flew out from Villa Wood across the yard into the small silt pond.
It looks like the deer have been nibbling some of our newly planted privets but they should survive ok. Val and Roger 19/2/16

Posted in Posts