Our next Woodville talk will be by Malcolm on the subject of Robert Pocock (as opposed to The Robert Pocock hostelry in Gravesend!). When the presentation was delivered to the North West Kent KWT a couple of weeks ago, several of our group attended, one being Neil. One of the places mentioned by Malcolm as a regular walking route for Pocock was “West Wood” where he saw purple hairstreak butterfly. It was assumed that this was in Gravesend, but there is no real clarification given in Pocock’s diary. Neil knew of a West Wood in Darenth and decided to investigate whether it was still there. Here is his report:
“It was a dank afternoon in early November and I thought I would follow up Malcolm’s talk and see if Wood Lane in Darenth is still there. Sure enough there it is – next to the Fox and Hounds off Green St Green. There is a car park at the end of the lane (Waller Park) and if my memory serves me well this runs adjacent to the old hospital grounds. The lane is no more than a track these days, cut into the hill after a step climbing through the trees. I did not see any birds here, but as I carried on first there was a crow – well its a start! Then a wood pigeon, flock of long-tailed tits, magpie and by then I’d reached the JJ shooting range. I found a seat and as I sat slowly the birds emerged. First a jay flew across then in the bushes a great tit, goldcrest and blue tit. Then a cry from the sky, a loud piiyay of a common buzzard, as I watched a further two appeared, great to see three circling overhead. What luck. On the way back to the car a blackbird flew by, collared dove, jackdaw and finally a black-backed gull.
I sat on the park bench and wondered what Robert Pocock would have seen all those years ago.”
Thanks to Neil for his report.
If you would like to find out more about Robert Pocock and the wildlife that he found in Gravesend in the nineteenth century, come along to Malcolm’s talk at the Woodville Halls on Tuesday 22nd November, starting at 2.00 pm.