Hainault Forest Website

Written and Designed by Brian Ecott


For even more content visit Raymond Small's website at hainaultforest.net



Christmas Eve Woodland sunshine.

Dec.24 2018  Photo  Brian Ecott

Santa's helper photographing Slime moulds.

Dec.24 2018  Photo Brian Ecott

The Witch of Hainault Forest


She looks at me, the ugly witch

Casting spells of cold and grey,

Oer woodland floor and flowing ditch

Nothing helps, my fears allay.

The Witch of Hainault Forest.


Why wears she, bold, a wooden mask?

Telling tales of times gone by,

Cast brown leaves, hide a mammoth task

Of finding life and future's high.

The Witch of Hainault Forest.


The mask is lifted with great care,

Beetles flee and Woodlice run,

Life is moving forward there,

Great news! Another year's begun

The Witch of Hainault Forest.


         Photo Mick Rumble 19th January 2019

                  Brian Ecott 21st January 2019


Raymond managed to grab a shot of a Kingfisher flying over the lake (above). The iridescent blue of the bird is a giveaway. I have seen one at Sheepwater several years ago and they are said to overwinter near small ponds and lakes.   22nd January 2019.


Francis Castro, Redbridge Conservation Officer saw one along the River Roding  at South Woodford.


Back to Raymond who tracked it down (left) perching by the lake inflow the following day. 23rd January 2019.

Photos Raymond Small

Michael Trump didn't do better, but VERY FUNNY.

Here's looking at you kid (Casablanca)  Photo Michael Trump  30th January 2019

Dog Kennel Hill

New Year's Day. The bright yellow flowers of Gorse Ulex europaea are a feature of most January diary pages. This year the photo was taken from Dog Kennel Hill and features Foxburrows Farm Cottages.  Photo Brian Ecott.

'Dog Kennell Hill Wood' (sic) appears on a XXVI George III Parliamentary map of 1791 by Joseph Pennington Below) and the land in the foreground  known as Fox Earth or Fox Earth Woods became part of Foxburrows Farm after the Act of Deforestation in 1851.

  Foxburrows farm with Dog Kennel Hill  behind. Photo Raymond Small  15th January 2019.

A Triangulation Post on the high point of Dog Kennel Hill looking towards Havering atte Bower, stands at 281ft. (56m.) above sea level.  This is 4 metres higher than Nelson's Column. 8th January 2019 Photo Brian Ecott. Beech trees on Dog Kennel Hill. 21st January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott

Fallen beech on Dog Kennel Hill. 13th January 2019. The shallow rooting shows sandy, pebbly deposits on the surface of Dog Kennel Hill. These are known as Bagshot beds and cover both Cabin and Dog Kennel Hills. In the inventory of 1544 for King Henry VIII, no Beech trees or Holly were present only Hornbeam, Oak and Blackthorn. The attempt at planting Beech in the current forest has been a disaster, as they succumb to disease and wind blow. Photos Mick Rumble and Brian Ecott.

Part of Henry VIII's survey 1544 after the dissolution of Barking Abbey


A week in the life of a

Slime mould Comatricha nigra  

Raymond Small discovered this creamy white slime mould (below) on another fallen beech on the 2nd January 2019. We decided to visit daily to see how it developed.


DAY 1  Creamy white sporocarps with long thin stalks 9mm. tall DAY 2  The sporocarps are turning pinkish.

DAY 3 The sporocarps are red-brown DAY 4 The sporocarps are shiny black, some at the top of picture are rough black.

DAY 6  The sporocarps are rough brown. DAY 7 The sporocarps are discharging millions of spores.

All photos Brian Ecott

More sporocarps on thin stalks are tall thin cylinders 1.3cms tall. These are from another slime mould, a species of Stemonitis. On beech, 8th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott
Water Birds  

The Goosander (above) together with the Smew and Red breasted Merganser (themselves listed as rare vagrants in Hainault)  have a hooked bill, and their beaks are serrated, giving them the group name of Sawbills.

A female Goosander (left) on the lake island, which has been seen many times during January.  It was recorded on Mike Dennis's Check list (2003) as a wintering bird. 

Below the Goosander swimming on the lake. It is a diving duck.


All photos Michael Trump. 1st and 6th January 2019.


A Heron stands atop  ivy-covered  hawthorn  2nd January 2019. Photo Michael Trump

Black-headed gulls in winter plumage (white heads). Photo Brian Ecott. 3rd January 2019.  

Mute swan cob on lake edge.

29th January 2019  Photo Brian Ecott.

Juvenile Cormorant wing drying on log by the island. 14th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott

Three males (showing white) and three female Tufted ducks 1st January 2019. Photo Michael Trump 

 Male and female Tufted ducks or Tuftys. Note the blue bill and the head tuft in the male. 1st January 2019.

Photos Mick Rumble

Coot. 12th January 2019 Photo Brian Ecott.

Note: "Bald as a Coot" or "Bald face stag" refers to white.

Moorhen 25th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott.

Mallards a-plenty this winter. Here are two drakes and a duck. 25th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott

Shoveler drake. 4th January 2019. Photo Mick Rumble

Egyptian geese feeding on grassland area. 8th January 2019. Photo Michael Trump


Small stagshorn Calocera cornea on dead beech with white brain fungus.

24th December 2018. Photo Brian Ecott

Yellow brain fungus Tremella mesenterica. Flabby, orange or yellow, on living or dead branches.

31 December 2018  Photo Brian Ecott

Split-gill Schizophyllum commune on dead beech.

1st January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott

Velvet shank Flammulina velutipes var. velutipes on trunk of dead crack willow 14th January 2019. Brian Ecott

Overwintering insects

A Box bug under oak bark. 3rd January 2019 on Hog Hill. Photo Brian Ecott

Two wood boring beetles under oak bark.

 4th January 2019 Photo Brian Ecott

Common shiny woodlice Oniscus asellus under bark.   3rd January 2019  Photo Brian Ecott

Winter moth Operoptera brumata. Common from October to January. Male (left) flies even on cold nights. Female is wingless and waits on a tree for the male, whom she entices  with a waft of pheromones. Near Woodhenge.

25th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott


EVEN SCALEWORT Radula complanata on an Ash tree in scrub near Woodhenge. The tiny green granules on the lobes appears to be vegetative gemmae 30th December 2018. Photo  Brian Ecott
FORKED VEILWORT Metzgeria furcata growing on a hawthorn tree, through scrub on a path  near Woodhenge. A close up of this Liverwort is above right.  26th January 2019.  Photos Brian Ecott.
More birds

A Charm of Goldfinches. They seem common this month flying about in groups.

2nd January 2019. Photo Michael Trump.

Male (left) and female kestrels are frequently seen hovering over the amenity grassland opposite the caf. Photos 16th & 18th January 2019.   Michael Trump.
Blackbird foraging for worms and insects in the leaf litter. 18th January 2019.  Photo Michael Rumble. Goldcrest searching for insects among the ivy. One of our smallest birds at 3" (9cm). Here it has puffed up its feathers and looking like a small ball. 26th January 2019. Photo Raymond Small.
Dog lichen and others

Dog lichen Peltigera canina among the moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus on Hog Hill 

3rd January 2019  Photo Brian Ecott

Powdery lichen Lepraria incana on old hawthorn .           Photo Brian Ecott  12th January 2019

Fruiticose lichen Ramalina fastigiata on hawthorn near Woodhenge. 30th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott
Lichenicolous fungi

The pink fungus Illosporiopsis christiansenii growing amongst the green-grey lichen Physcia ascendens (right)  30th December 2018  Scan Brian Ecott

The pink fungus (above centre) on the lichen Physcia ascendens is Laetisaria lichenicola. It is widespread in the UK but not recorded until I found it  named in  Mycologica  an American Journal of 2011.

Scan Brian Ecott 30th December 2018



It was originally photographed in Hainault Forest (left) by Mick Rumble and as a result of Mark Powell and Brian Coppins of the British Lichen Society confirming my identity, a new chapter covering Lichenicolous fungi has been written by Mark Powell in  Frank S. Dobson book Lichens 2018 edition.

Photo Michael Trump 3rd January 2016

Animal activity

A food table on a  tree stump with Beech mast (top left) and opened Beech nuts. 11th January 2019.  This is a Grey Squirrel feeding post.  Photo Brian Ecott

Rosehip nuts have been split open and the kernel eaten. The flesh has been discarded. A Woodmouse has been feeding here. 26th January 2019. Photo Brian Ecott 



(Early Waxing crescent)

4.38PM 8th January



Michael Trump

and finally - More litter from the forest



Crown Dairy Logo

Contents 1 pint

Foil top


LCS Eastern Section.

London Co-op Society Limited

pt. cardboard insert (war and post war issue) Please rinse and return.


One third pint schoolchildren's daily milk. CO OP SOCIETY.           

Please rinse and return.  Foil top

I was class milk monitor in 1947

at Fairlop Junior School.


Each class collected their foil tops for recycling.


Golden Seal (1 pt.) Foil top



A triangular logo SAFETY FIRST

1 pint. Metal bottle cap


1.12 litres (2.37 pints)

Cordial bottle, Screw cap.

Home deliveries in the seventies.