Conservation Report – March 2022

Thank you to all the volunteers who attended on Sunday.   Attendance for this session was 18 and we made great progress.

Path clearing

CLEARING PATHS: The pathways are being cleared back to their original surface which means that in some places we have had to search hard.  We have edged the paths to encourage walkers to follow the original route which has a hard gravel base.  This will allow more plants to thrive along the borders of the footpaths.

Path clearing
Moving logs for path edging
Edging the pathway
A clear, edged path

DITCH CLEARANCE: Drainage is a key issue, and we are working hard to improve this by digging out existing ditches and, in some places, creating new drainage areas.  This will improve the condition of the pathways, help to keep the tree roots less waterlogged and the trees healthy, and aid drainage for residents who have property backing onto the woods.

HALOING SAPLINGS: The woodland is lighter now mainly due to some of the larger trees falling in storm damage.  It is always sad to see a mature tree fall but it does create space and light for the smaller native trees to attempt to grow.  A mature native woodland should consist of a variety of species and size of native trees.  The smaller saplings in the area where we work are predominantly holly and ash but interestingly on Sunday, we found several hawthorns. 

We are trying to protect the hawthorn as there is less of it and we want it to survive.  Our method is to surround the saplings with small logs and then cover with holly brash to protect them from browsing deer.  We will monitor this to find out if it works!

LITTER CLEARANCE: There is always litter to clear and on Sunday we found a large beer keg!

RHODODENDRON REMOVAL AND STACKING: WBC are still unable to chip rhododendron for a while due to soft ground around their access point. A few of our party worked on rhododendron removal and stacked the brash to one side.  There is not much sign of native bluebells or ransom growing yet from our last autumn bulb planting, but they can take a couple of years to establish.

All the work we carry out is with guidance from WBC. Looking forward to the next time.

Stephanie Mckay – Voluntary Conservation Officer for FOFH