Caption Competition

IMG_20180914_103010It is caption competition time!



IMG_20180904_190059Just in case you didn’t know: Nature is amazing!

Its been one month to the day when a small grass fire burnt some of Blackberry Corner in the Hanwell Meadows.

First came the fire. Next came the local volunteers with water buckets, followed by the fire brigade, followed by more bucket-carrying volunteers.

Next came flocks of pigeons, which were enjoying seeds or insects among the burnt grass.

Look at it now. It’s been only four weeks and you can barely see where it was! The meadow is already lush with regrown grass again, only those parts with poor soil still expose some of the burnt surface. One of the burnt trees shows signs of life. Truly amazing.


Damsels And Dragons

lakeOver time, I learned to tell a moth from a butterfly: when resting, a butterfly closes its wings, a moth opens them flat. Simple.

As it turns out, it is just the same for Damselfies and Dragonflies: Damselflies keep their wings closed and upwards while Dragonflies keep their wings horizontal or slightly downward. Damselflies are like Butterflies, Dragonflies are like Moths.

That shouldn’t be too hard to remember!

If you can spot them sitting still. You can also distinguish Damselflies from Dragonfly by size (Dragonflies are generally larger), by wing symmetry (Damselflies have two pairs of similar wings while those of a Dragonfly differ in size) and by a number of more obscure distinctions including the shape of the eggs. If you look close enough you might even spot differences in their sexual organs.

Both are over 300 Million year old groups of insects!

Over by the canal and the Piggeries pond (not depicted here ;-), you can still spot lots of bluetail damselflies (ischnura heterosticta) in the tall grass, no doubt showing off their unique features. With luck you might also spot a Dragonfly.

Billets Hart

p20160312111000Our little quest for Saint Margaret made me wonder who or what is Billets Hart?

Billets Hart Close is a street right by St Margaret’s Open Space, and of course the Billets Hart Allotments are across Green Lane from the Fox.

I drew a blank on the Interweb.

Suggestions welcome.

St Margaret

hay-making-st-margaretsWe spend considerable time walking along St Margaret’s Road, and much, much more time looking after the meadow and orchard in St Margaret’s Open Space, which we cleverly called St Margaret’s Orchard.

Saint who? 

Exactly! Wikipedia is happy to tell us all about St Margaret. The problem is that there are so many to chose from. Wikipedia lists no less than eleven!

Discounting Saint Rita “Margaret” of Cascia and discounting all those without strong links to England or today’s United Kingdom, I am still left with Saint Margaret of Scotland, Saint Margaret of England, Saint Margaret Clitherow and Saint Margaret Ward.

Which one is our holy Margaret?

Saint Margaret Clitherow has the nearby Clitherow Avenue working in her favour, but then she was known as the Pearl of York, not of Hanwell.

Suggestions welcome.

Hot Stuff


This week brought fire to the Hanwell Meadows, only a day before the rain came that would have prevented it naturally.

It was amazing to see so many people fighting the fire before the fire brigade arrived, including local residents and a couple of the young men who have been socialising nearby.

Thankfully most of the grass in the affected area had recently been cut, so the damage could be limited to a relatively small area and small damage to some trees. Because of the quick response by many people and the fire brigade, no more harm was done.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped preventing further damage!

Why don’t you come join us today, Saturday August 11th, in Blackberry Corner from 11:00?

We’ll clear more dry vegetation to further reduce the fire risk, cut remaining grass and nettles back and use remaining woodchip for mulching around the fruit trees.

Chipping News

DSC_0962Three hours, six volunteers, two rangers, one noisy bastard of a chipping machine, and one huge pile of dead wood and brambles dating all the way back to the initial clearing at The Piggeries Orchard produced a larger than anticipated pile of premium quality artisan woodchip for mulching within the same orchard. Self-sustained an all.

A Saturday well spent.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped to get this done as swiftly as possible, and our thanks to neighbours who didn’t quite have their usual peaceful Saturday morning on this occasion.


London National Park City Week

p20160522130310The first ever London National Park City Week starts this Saturday, did you know?

Check out their website at for full details.

Three free events in particular stand out due to their proximity to our orchard trail, but with over 280 events in total, there should be one for anyone and an ice cream!

Ealing to Richmond Walk, Saturday 21st July, 10am – 1pm

Meet outside Ealing Broadway Tube/rail station, W5 2NU, and join the Ramblers for a five-mile walk. Take in Ealing’s delightful smaller parks – Walpole, Lammas, Blondin, Boston Manor – and then enjoy the Grand Union Canal to Brentford Lock. Ends at Richmond tube/ National Rail Station. A free event, just turn up.

Gurnell to Greenford Greenway guided walk, Saturday 28 July 2018, 2pm – 4pm.

Meet at Gurnell Leisure centre car park W13 0AL for a 3.5 km guided walk alongside the River Brent and nearby meadows, the site of the proposed new Gurnell to Greenford Greenway project funded by the Mayor’s Green Capital grant fund. You can view plans and find out about the work that Thames 21 and Ealing Council are doing to improve rivers and the environment.

Osterley Park to Brent Lodge Park Walk, Saturday 28th July. 2pm – 4:30pm

Meet at Osterley Underground Station TW7 4PU, and join the Ramblers for a 4 mile stroll through some of West London’s most attractive green spaces including a Georgian country estate, canal Grade 1 listed railway viaduct, maze and zoo. Ends at Hanwell Railway Station.

Fun At The Piggeries


What’s going on at the Piggeries Orchard today, I hear you ask. I am glad you asked.

The park rangers will bring their wood chipper on site and help us to chip the pile of tree branches into our very own artisan woodchip used for local self-sustained mulching.

Join us from 10:30 today, Saturday 14-July-2018, at the Piggeries Orchard and help getting this done in the shortest time possible. There’ll be opportunities to feed branches into the chipper, to deploy the woodchip along the hedges and around the trees on site. For those who favour lighter duties, there’s no shortage of nettles, brambles or horsetail to pull, snip, squish and bash. We hope to retire to the Fox for refreshments in the early afternoon.

Long trousers and sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Please bring ear defenders, safety glasses and thick gloves if you have them.

Scything Training

dscn2660We have cutting edge news: We succeeded in booking Scything Master Clive Leeke for a one day scything training in September! Clive is a master of the trade, an experienced scything tutor and an inspiring enthusiast.

There will be an introduction followed by practical exercises in one of the centrally located orchards. All tools will be provided for the day, but you’re welcome to bring your own scythe if you have one.

Scything Training Course
September 15, 2018 9:30 to 15:30 

Meet at The Fox, Green Lane.

Register now! We have a very limited number of places available. We ask for a £15 per person booking fee to cover part of our cost. We’ll chip in the rest. Members of Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail enjoy priority booking, but anyone is welcome to join the waiting list.

The booking fee is payable immediately and seats are allocated on a first-paid-first-served basis. Unfortunately we can only refund in the event of your cancellation if we can find another person to take your seat.

Meet us during our weekly Tuesday evening activities and social get-together to book and make yourself known. For the weekly changing location of the 19:00 meeting point see our volunteer schedule, otherwise look out for us from approximately 20:30 at The Fox. When in doubt, ask for the guys with the scythe 😉

Alternatively book through our contact form. We will confirm your booking and provide payment details in response to your booking.