The Lone Oak is showing its age;  it has dead and dying branches and parts of the trunk are being hollowed out by fungus. We have decided that it should  be allowed to get on with being several hundred years old, providing habitat for a whole new spectrum of species; we are not going to interfere. Instead,  we have fenced around the tree to keep our park users safe.

The alternative would be to chop bits of it off, in order to protect the picnicking public from falling branches. This summer it became quite the thing to picnic under the Lone Oak, a tribute to its elder status.

The tree will live a long time yet; the fence will mellow, warp, acquire its own little ecology,  rot away and be replaced long before the tree is done. An ageing oak tree is a wonderful resource of nesting holes, rotting wood for beetle larvae and a hundred species of fungi, a prop for climbing plants, a garden of mosses and ferns.

With luck, the Lone Oak will stand in Cornfield for centuries to come.


Fence around the Lone Oak by DKG

Pictures by DKG

Rag Week

The heatwave has brought the ragwort into flower early. There isn’t a lot of it, but it’s blooming beautifully; threatened by drought, it will seed rapidly and each plant can produce as many as 150,000 seeds. So….. it’s time for all those who complained about the spraying in the spring to turn out to pull ragwort.

Continue reading “Rag Week”

The vandalism spreads

At half term, there was more damage to the trees in the copse at the top of Village Green, fortunately nothing fatal this time but still significant. There was evidence of a camp. The rough grassland, left for wildlife, where we have been planting native daffodils, had been trampled flat in places. We picked up the litter and hoped it was an isolated incident.

Continue reading “The vandalism spreads”

“This was the scene I was greeted with in Sleepers this morning, they kindly left their carrier bag so I was able to clear up and get to a bin.” DKG



Reasons to Scoop Poop: Number Two

This is the second in our series of posts about scooping dog poop in the park; the pun in the title is intentional.

Most of the park’s fields are let to a local farmer who takes two cuts of grass from them each year. That crop is sold on, as hay or silage, mostly to feed horses and farm animals.  Some of it, though, will end up in your gardens in rabbit and guinea pig cages. If the hayfields are contaminated with dog faeces, so is the hay.

Dogs are part of the life cycle of two parasitic organisms that cause diseases, neosporosis and sarcocystosis, in farm animals. In dogs, they rarely cause symptoms, are hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat, but the parasites’ eggs will be present in the dogs’ faeces. In cattle or sheep who become infected by eating feed contaminated by faeces, these parasites can induce abortion, cause neurological problems, and even result in the death of the animal.

Sarcocystosis and neosporosis are caused by the same organisms that, in horses, can cause equine protozoal meningitis.

The prevalence of neosporosis and sarcocystosis in dogs and farm animals is unknown in the UK, but it is thought to be common and very much under-reported. As there is no effective vaccination or treatment for either, vets recommend avoidance: don’t feed your pet raw meat and don’t leave dog faeces on agricultural land.

Most of the park is agricultural land, producing animal feed; please clean up after your dog.


This is the second post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.

Pictures: Google Images

Related posts:

toxocariasis 3
Reasons to scoop poop; no 1

DKG’s pics of poo-bags.


Reasons to Scoop Poop: No 1


Children get toxocariasis when they are infected with the eggs of roundworms (Toxocara canis) from the faeces of dogs. The infection happens when the child gets soil or sand contaminated with faeces into its mouth. Once the eggs are inside the child’s digestive tract, they move into the bowel where they hatch into larvae.

Life cycle of Toxocara Canis
Click to enlarge


The larvae burrow through the wall of the intestine and through the soft tissues to, most commonly, the lungs, liver, eyes, and brain, where they can cause symptoms that range from a mild fever to blindness (don’t click this link if you are squeamish).

It’s hard to tell how many of these infections cause illness, but research in the USA, at the turn of the century, found that 13.9% of children aged upwards of 6 years had Toxocara canis antibodies in their blood, which showed that they had been infected at some time in their lives. Similar research in Sri Lanka found a 50% incidence.

In the park we have a combination of children and dogs that makes it particularly important that we are vigilant. Almost every dog will get roundworms at some time in its life and, at any one time, about 20% of dogs are infected. This means that one in every five dogs that comes into the park will bring with it mature roundworms, each one of which can lay 200,000 eggs every day, for a rolling, tumbling, thumb-sucking toddler to put in his mouth.

People are very careful about picking up on the central path and we are grateful, but some are less conscientious  when their dogs poop in the grass, which is, of course, where our children play. Please clean up after your dog. Toxocara eggs are not infectious for the first 10–12 days so you are in no danger as you poop-scoop, but they can live in the soil and be infectious for many, many years afterwards if you don’t scoop.




This is the first post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.

Pictures: Google Images

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