Conservation News from Friends of Fox Hill

Our conservation Working Parties take place every month and are open to all as we use traditional hand tools, and no prior experience is needed.

The aim of the session is determined by Wokingham Borough Council Countryside Services.  We are also governed by the tree protection order on the woodland.

The main tasks are…

Rhododendron Clearing

Clearing Rhododendron Ponticum as this is an invasive species.  It grows so densely that all other tree species have to fight to survive.  

Once an area is cleared, we are replanting with small native tree species to create a more even middle woodland canopy. 

You might see areas where we have edged a suggested pathway.  The aim of this is to reinforce walkways allowing the plants at ground level on either side a chance to thrive. Above: Wild Garlic.

In the Autumn and early Spring, we planted native Snowdrops, Bluebells and Ramsons (Native wild garlic).

Digging Ditches

When we began our management of the woodland the main Dorset Way footpath was often flooded and this was damaging the vegetation. Some of the trees were stood in water and all the existing ditches were in need of maintenance.  Digging out the ditches has made it easier to maintain the pathways and provided better drainage for the trees. 

Maintaining Paths

We are clearing the mud and leaf mulch off of the hardcore path that runs parallel to Dorset Way. This helps to keep the path clean and we have created culverts to channel the water across the path to maintain drainage. This also creates new habitats of temporary water pools for various insect and amphibian life.

In other areas of the woods, we are placing wood chippings created from the cleared rhododendron onto the existing pathways to absorb the excess water and hopefully make the paths less muddy.

Some of the cleared rhododendron is stacked at the lower Dorset way entrance ready to be chipped and used for path maintenance.