Update

As we find ourselves at the beginning of autumn I thought I’d write a quick update on here regarding work programmes.

These last few weeks we’ve been completing the last of the summer work, which has involved cutting the layed hedges behind Coopers School, near the farm yard and the hedge that was layed in the winter on the boundary between Soldiering and Long field. A good amount of logs have been processed to sell this winter, the gnomon has been replaced on the Willett sundial and path and glade cutting with the tractor has begun.

Contractors have nearly completed this year’s removal of Sycamore from Pond Wood, and there we’re ahead in the third year of a four year program.

An ongoing job which has been mainly volunteer led has been the weeding of the heather banks; which involves the removal of birch, bracken and the like which colonise the heather plots. On the southern most plots near the train line some paths have been emerging across the heather. This is disappointing and I’d urge people to avoid reversing years of work on the heather and stay on the normal established paths.

Looking ahead Sam and I with the help of our regular volunteers will be continuing the coppicing program in Birch Wood. This practice provides the hazel stakes and binders for tasks like hedge laying and provides a great habitat for wildlife such as dormice.

The oak thinning is also continuing this year. The first step of the process is to remove the holly which dominates the under storey in that section of the woods which will allow access to thin out the young oaks, allowing the surviving trees to reach healthy maturity and re-establish a good canopy which should lead to more diverse woodland flora in that area. Steps have been taken to address the degradation of some paths caused by oak extraction last year: Drainage channels have been dug and crushed stone used to reconstitute poor areas of path.

That’s about it for the work being carried out at the moment and in the near future. I’ll make an effort to put more pictures and blog posts on here to keep you informed.

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About Richard

Ranger Petts Wood & Hawkswood Estate
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