Walking around the underpass you may have noticed ‘Down to Earth’ tree surgeons working on the large oaks beside the main bridleway. The purpose of the work is to make sure the collection of mature oaks in that area of the woods stay safe to the public while remaining the havens to wildlife that mature oaks typically are.
English oaks are famed for their biodiversity and harbour more wildlife (in the form of fungi, insect and bird life) than any other native tree. Many of this hosted wildlife is dependent on the dead wood retained by mature or veteranised oaks. Unfortunately heavy dead wood over paths is incongruous with public safety and so the tree surgeons are working to reduce it. The dead wood will not be eliminated; just reduced to a level where it it will be structurally sound for years and still able to sustain wildlife.
The ranger team have also been acting to remove dangerous trees near paths, widen paths and remove holly where it has become too dense.
As we move into the spring we are embarking on a project to replace the chestnut fence around Coldrum Longbarrow (a neolithic tomb we look after) with one made wood coppiced and prepared ourselves ‘in house’ from the chesnut coppice ready for harvest at One Tree Hill near Sevenoaks. I shall keep you posted.