Roydon Woods Wood and Local Produce Fair was held on Sunday 9th June from 11.00 - 16.00. This event was the 10th Wood Fair which has now become a biennial event, having been held annually until 2015 and the 9th having taken place on 18th June 2017. At over 380 hectares Roydon Woods is HIWWT's largest reserve and was gifted to them in 1978 by Peter Barker-Mill. The day offered guided walks, demonstrations of crafts and machinery, children's activities and timber and local produce for sale. Stands present included the New Forest Non-native Plants Project, New Forest National Park Authority, New Forest Area Conservation Volunteers, Tools for Self Reliance, Woodland Management at Hoburne Bashley Woods, Hampshire Ornithological Society, Hampshire Swifts and Beaulieu Young Farmers. During the event wood sculptor Paul Sivell transformed a log into a leaping hare by using chain-saws.
Guided walks at 12.00 and 14.00 were led by Bob Chapman and John Durnell respectively and both covered the wild flower meadows of the now scarce habitat, unimproved grassland. Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids were in flower but they also produce a hybrid which manifests some of the characteristics of both parents, making definitive identification difficult. Other flowers/plants included Lesser Stitchwort, Meadow and Creeping Buttercup, Water-pepper, Water Mint, Germander Speedwell, Marsh Thistle, Ragged Robin, Pignut and Common Lousewort amongst the sedges, rushes (including Jointed and Compact) and grasses. Insects included Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Hornet (not Asian!), male Emperor Dragonfly, female Keeled Skimmer, a wasp-like hover fly and soldier beetle. Besides the numerous webs of tunnel spiders, possibly the most interesting sighting was of a female Roesel's Bush-cricket with its distinctive short and upcurved ovipositor.
Bob Chapman was joined by Pete Durnell (HCC) to open 2 moth traps at 13.00. Despite the previous evening not being ideal for moth-trapping, the traps produced an interesting sample of a few of the potential 100+ species that might have been expected at this time of year. Besides examples of 3 magnificent hawk-moths (Eyed, Poplar and Privet) were Buff-tip, White Plume Moth, Heart and Dart, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Buff and White Ermines, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Common Swift, Clouded Border, Willow Beauty and Treble Line.
Early reports put the attendance on a glorious afternoon at around 1300. Roydon Woods was at its best - highly recommended.