Fawns, flora and fauna catch the eye at Selsdon Woods

Regular arts correspondent BELLA BARTOCK has been feeling under the weather of late, but her excellent NHS GP has advised her to get out into the fresh air more often. She was duly revitalised by a trip last weekend to Selsdon Woods

This picture of a fawn in Court Wood this May won the adults’ photographic competition at the Friends of Selsdon Woods open day for Dave Evans

The tremendous diversity of the flora and fauna of the once neglected Selsdon Woods was evident in the splendid pictures taken by residents and children for the Friends of Selsdon Woods Open Day photo competition.

The winners were selected by the votes of visitors to the FSW stall last weekend. In the adults’ section, the winner was a very special picture of a fawn in the nearby Court Wood taken by Dave Evans back in late May; the junior section was won by 10-year-old Finay le Voi with an image taken last month of a Meadow Brown butterfly.

Unlike some other, less successful stalls at other events, which offered as “local produce” honey from deepest Surrey, at the Selsdon Woods Open Day, the Croydon Bee Keepers were selling honey actually from Croydon, harvested from hives in Glenthorne Avenue. Sanderstead apiarist Harry Parker’s Croydon Honey and North Downs Honey was also significantly less expensive than the non-local produce.

The Selsdon Woods event fell a huge distance short of the size of the Carshalton Environmental Fair, largely because, unlike Sutton Council, Croydon does not support such events in any major way.

Instead of Carshalton’s 140 stalls there were just 10 stalls with the Selsdon Wood Friends, Selsdon Residents Association, Croydon Bee Keepers, Friends of the Earth, Surrey County Council’s Old Surrey Downs Project, East Surrey Badger Protection Society, Croydon RSPB, Monks Hill-based East Surrey Wood Turners and the local scouts represented.

The only council input was what looked like a voluntary effort by a librarian to provide a story corner for the many children present – will this be still possible when our council has privatised the public libraries?

A Meadow Brown butterfly in Selsdon Woods, captured in this prize-winning picture by 10-year-old Finay le Voi

The small size of the event is not to discount the huge effort by Linda Morris and the Friends, the fair having an attractive intimacy to it. And after the wettest summer on record, when church fetes, festivals and car boot sales across the country have been cancelled or curtailed, wrecking the annual fund-raising efforts of many churches, sports clubs and volunteer organisations, the Friends of Selsdon Woods were to be congratulated on managing to stage their event, even if they do rather ominously describe themselves as “the council’s eyes and ears”.

There is ongoing activity in the woods with 60 trees planted this year to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and on Sunday, October 10 there is a walk starting at 10am at the north-western extremity of the woods to look out for Autumn fruit and fungi.

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