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.

Hover over an image or, better, click/tap to enlarge it and read details   
 

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Monday 23rd March
Monday 23rd March

In response to Government guidance Forestry England reluctantly closed all recreational facilities

Facilities closed
Facilities closed

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

Caravan site closes
Caravan site closes

This was the message at the caravan site one day before

Willow flowers
Willow flowers

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

Yellow Star of Bethlehem
Yellow Star of Bethlehem

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.

Stay at home
Stay at home

The government advice changed and Forestry England's signs reflected that.

Dog's Mercury flower
Dog's Mercury flower

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.

Pond in Smiths Spinney
Pond in Smiths Spinney

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.

Pond in Buxton Wood
Pond in Buxton Wood

Many more butterflies were recorded at this pond too.

Track improvements
Track improvements

With no visitors it was a good opportunity to do maintenance works on the forest tracks

Empty car park
Empty car park

The car park remained starkly empty

Moth trapping
Moth trapping

The fine weather and enforced home-based activities encouraged us to set the moth trap out overnight for the first time this year.

Brindled Beauty
Brindled Beauty

This was the best looking moth in the trap - one of eight different species.

Sweet Violet
Sweet Violet

On the green at Top Lodge there were many, many white violets that come up every year.

Sweet Violet leaf
Sweet Violet leaf

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

Social distancing
Social distancing

All the tracks were strangely quiet during April and on into early May

Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle

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

Nowhere to park at Top Lodge
Nowhere to park at Top Lodge

As usual, the road to Top Lodge came congested

Unofficial parking
Unofficial parking

In mid May travel restrictions were eased slightly and lots more people drove here, only to find the carparks closed.

19th May:car park open
19th May:car park open

The carpark at Top Lodge reopened, but there were no other facilities including toilets. Reminders about social distancing were put up

But you still have to pay!
But you still have to pay!

The ticket machines, which had been covered over during lockdown, were opened up again. The dangers involved in buying tickets were made clear but.....!

Keep roads clear
Keep roads clear

As lockdown eased, there was more and more parking in the lane, often making access difficult.

Play areas re-open
Play areas re-open

At the end of July the two play areas re-opened