January 2021 Newsletter  
Tier 4 xxx Tits xxx- Ram xxx ,Wild Kids .x..While shepherds.. ..Ellis Green .... Shop not Drop ..

Walden Countryside under Tier 4 Rules

- we're not closed

You can still visit Noakes Grove, Kings Field or Ellis Green whenever you like, so long as

  • Either
    • You are on your own or only with other members of your household and you do not socialise with other visitors.
  • Or
    • It is just you plus one other person from a different household.
  • Note:
    • The Government recommends that people whose age and/or existing conditions render them especially ar risk, should only work from home. It is your choice to balance the risks against the benefits of outdoor exercise.

Sadly, we cannot continue with group work parties for the time being. BUT:

  • Our volunteers who take turns to visit our sheep, or help manage our reserves in other ways can still do so provided they follow the above rules on who they work with.

Because of the Wild Child Group leader's age and risk status, the group is in hibernation until he has been vaccinated.


Tits housed - what about the hogs?

50 Walden children are building bird-boxes for 2021

Walden Countryside were delighted when Ben Boatman of Boatman Furniture agreed to make 50 bird nest-box kits to be sold in aid their wildlife conservation work.

The kits sold out very quickly before Christmas – people seemed to like the idea of a Christmas present that could be made on Boxing Day and then put up in the garden for everyone to enjoy, rather than join all those “play once – forget forever” gifts in the playbox.


Robin (Ben Boatman's son) testing the prototype birdboxRobin box

Coming soon (we hope) - move in this spring?

A select development of deceptively spacious, hedgehog house kits

hedgehogs only
Gaul in mist

We've raddled our tup

We often get asked why Gaul (the ram) is wearing a harness. “ Is it so you can catch him more easily?”. The answer is that we've raddled our tup but these days that may need a little translation.

Raddle or reddle was originally red ochre used by shepherds in many areas to mark their sheep (necessary when several owners' sheep shared common grazing). Our sheep are Wiltshire Horns and so their ancestors would have lived in Wessex where Thomas Hardy wrote rural soap operas about sheep and shepherds. The Return of the Native opens with meeting Diggory Venn. “The traveller with the cart was a reddleman—a person whose vocation it was to supply farmers with redding for their sheep. He was one of a class rapidly becoming extinct in Wessex, filling at present in the rural world the place which, during the last century, the dodo occupied in the world of animals. He is a curious, interesting, and nearly perished link between obsolete forms of life and those which generally prevail.”

Come Michaelmas, or soon after, raddle would be daubed on the brisket of the ram (tup) when he was about to start his task of tupping the ewes.

One hundred and forty years on, raddle is still used for exactly the same tasks but you buy it online and red-dyed reddlemen are certainly extinct just as Hardy predicted.

Today, raddle can be any colour and is held in a harness rather than simply daubed on the tup's fleece. This year, Gaul has chosen blue. Most of our ewes already bear blue marks on their rumps – a successful tupping .

After a long month's tupping, Gaul may well be feeling a bit raddled.

Tier 4 xxx Tits xxx- Ram xxx ,Wild Kids .x..While shepherds.. ..Ellis Green .... Shop not Drop ..


Wild-children - full of grace or loving and giving?

Whether they are Tuesday's or Friday's children they are all great fun and very enthusiastic. As soon as the group leader has been vaccinated (and assuming the rules at that time permit educational outdoor group sessions), the Wild Child groups will start again.

Left: Some of the Tuesday group examining water-fleas with a microscope outside what will be the new school-room.

The new schoolroom

Thanks to John Bagley (our volunteer electrician) we now have good lighting and child-proof power points in what will soon be the school room. The white board has arrived but the final bit of work may be slowed down as everything will need to be done by volunteers working one at a time.


New - Wild-Child online

Parents can still take their children to explore and enjoy our nature reserves but, for the time being,Wild Child Club meetings are ZOOM (for members) and a Wild Child Online page for any children to use.

Glad Tidings

Good tidings of great joy

Originally announced by an angel to the shepherds 2020 years ago, these good tidings were spoken once more as Elaine (one of our sheep-team) read the passage from Luke to our assembled flock.

The vicar filmed the event for the online Wimbish Parish service of lessons and carols. It's called moving with the times.

You can watch it on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkJ6SqedHHc)..



Tier 4 xxx Tits xxx- Ram xxx ,Wild Kids .x..While shepherds.. ..Ellis Green .... Shop not Drop ..

Scotch Patch & Ellis Green

Our Scotch Patch Orchard reserve is only one acre but it is part of the over eight acre Ellis Green Local Wildlife Site. Ellis Green Common forms the rest of the area.

Thanks to a UDC grant awarded by Cllr Luck from his Ward Area Grant fund, we have been able to plant eight extra apple trees (all traditional Essex varieties) and provide an information board and borrowable guide leaflets at Ellis Green.

The map on the right shows the full extent of the UDC designated Local Wildlife Site.

Below is the footpath map for a circuit linking Ellis Green with Elms Farm and Bush Croft.

The full guide leaflet is available as a printer friendly 4 page pdf: just click here.

Circuit 2

ellis green lows

cyder aopples

Scotch Patch cyder apples

Scotch Patch Apple Juice

Apple juice from the lovely blend of traditional desert and cyder apples that grow in our orchard at Scotch Patch, Ellis Green and elsewhere in Wimbish. We mash and press the apples ourselves, filter the juice and pasteurise it in 500 ml bottles.

The 2020 pressing has produced over 200 bottles: pure juice with absolutely no additives and from apples grown without pesticides or chemical fertilisers.You can order 12 bottles for free delivery in or near Saffron Walden. £24 per dozen with a refund of £3 (25p per bottle) when you return your empties (we will collect free if you have 12 or more bottles to return).

Order by emailing sales@walden-countryside.co.uk giving your phone number and address. We'll contact you to arrange delivery: payment due after delivery.

apple juice

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Coca-Cola kills shrews


While visitors to Noakes Grove are careful to take all their litter home, passing litter-louts in cars dump ring-pull cans in our roadside hedge and ditch. Whether these are Coke cans or the sort of nasty lager favoured by litter-louts they can all act as lobster-pots for shrews. Once trapped the shrews die within an hour from cold and starvation. All shrew species are fully protected and are the only mammals small enough to enter a ring pull hole.

Scandinavian countries force drinks manufacturers to co-operate and charge deposits on all drink cans : the money is refunded when the cans are returned to supermarket forecourt crushing machines. This has resulted in a huge increase in aluminium recycling of cans and a reduction of the littering problem. It's time we did the same.






Tier 4 xxx Tits xxx- Ram xxx ,Wild Kids .x..While shepherds.. ..Ellis Green .... Shop not Drop ..




Copyright 2020
Organic Countryside Community Interest Company
Trading as Walden Countryside
Company number 06794848 - registered in England
VAT No: 947 3003 317

Updated 1 January 2021