Fineshade in lockdown
In March 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic began to change life as we know it. Restrictions on unnecessary travel were introduced and then gradually lifted.
The pictures on this page were all taken by Fineshade residents during their permitted exercise periods, during the period in which the lockdown operated.
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In response to Government guidance Forestry England reluctantly closed all recreational facilities
The woods remained open and for a day or two a lot of people drove to Fineshade, parked along the lane and walked into the wood
This was the message at the caravan site one day before
The weather was bright and cold for most of the week, so trees continued to burst into leaf or flower. These are the female flowers of a willow species
On of Fineshade's rarities, Gagea lutea comes up every spring near the caravan site. Tony Vials had counted 24 there this year. With our less expert eye we were pleased to locate 6 of the delicate tiny flowers.
The government advice changed and Forestry England's signs reflected that.
This plant is widespread under the deciduous trees in the north of Fineshade, for example, near the Tree House. Leaves have been appearing for some time and this week we noticed the tiny greenish flowers.
There were Brimstone and Peacock butterflies here, responding to the warm sun and the open space created by Forestry England's ecologists when they cut back the dominant vegetation recently.
Many more butterflies were recorded at this pond too.
With no visitors it was a good opportunity to do maintenance works on the forest tracks
The car park remained starkly empty
The fine weather and enforced home-based activities encouraged us to set the moth trap out overnight for the first time this year.
This was the best looking moth in the trap - one of eight different species.
On the green at Top Lodge there were many, many white violets that come up every year.
For the first time we noticed that the violets' leaves were round. So they are Sweet Violets, Viola odorata, not the Common Dog Violets elsewhere in the wood. A new species record for Fineshade
All the tracks were strangely quiet during April and on into early May
It was a 4-mile round walk from Top Lodge to see the cattle at the Assarts. They were enjoying the sun too. The grazier came every day to check them and provide them with hay to supplement the grass in the field. Later they were moved to new pastures elsewhere
As usual, the road to Top Lodge came congested
In mid May travel restrictions were eased slightly and lots more people drove here, only to find the carparks closed.
The carpark at Top Lodge reopened, but there were no other facilities including toilets. Reminders about social distancing were put up
The ticket machines, which had been covered over during lockdown, were opened up again. The dangers involved in buying tickets were made clear but.....!
As lockdown eased, there was more and more parking in the lane, often making access difficult.
At the end of July the two play areas re-opened