West Wickham Common May Newsletter

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The latest news from the West Wickham Commons team
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May 2018

Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park.

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Coppicing management at Spring Park

We are currently in the sixteenth year of our coppice restoration project. In February a contractor felled another small area along Woodland Way.
The trees, which were last coppiced 80 years ago, will quickly regenerate and will be around six feet tall by August this year. Coppicing rejuvenates the trees and extends their lives by many decades. As the chestnut regrows, other native tree species, such as willow, cherry, rowan, birch and even the occasional small leaved lime, become established, increasing the biodiversity onsite. At ground level during the first 2-3 years wildflowers, such as foxglove, take advantage of the extra sunlight reaching the forest floor. For a few years after felling, brambles tend to dominate, but as the canopies of the chestnuts and other tree species start to close up again, the ground flora composition changes and ancient woodland species such as bluebells, wood sorrel or wood anemone create colorful carpets. A stroll through the chestnuts starting at Tudor Gardens and finishing at Copse Avenue reveals all these stages of the coppice cycle.

Looking ahead, our challenge will be to restore the high oak canopy which has gradually diminished over the last hundred years. We have already started growing some of last year’s acorns and we will take cuttings from the mature oaks later this spring.

More information on West Wickham Common

Volunteers from the local community recently installed a new notice board on West Wickham Common. The board, which is located by Gates Green Road, will soon be filled with lots of interesting information about the site, including a copy of this newsletter.
The volunteers also repaired a bench by the heathland, whilst dodging the April showers. The will be installing another new board on Spring Park in May.

Veteran oak management

The Rangers have repaired the chestnut fencing around one of the oak pollards on West Wickham Common. The 15 ancient oaks are an integral feature of our natural and cultural heritage. Each veteran tree has its own management plan to ensure they can be enjoyed by future generations. Furthermore, veteran oaks provide a habitat rich in biodiversity and they support more life forms than any other native tree species.
The fence had been vandalised recently and we had to clear a lot of rubbish close to the veteran oaks which poses a threat to wildlife. If you see any anti-social behaviour across the West Wickham Commons, please call 01372 2794 88​ (24hr service).

Events

Meet the Ranger at West Wickham Common 
Sunday 6 May, 1pm-3pm
Have you got questions about how West Wickham Common is managed? Would you like to meet the Rangers who look after the site? Then join us for a chat.
Look out for us by the car park on West Wickham Common. No need to book just come along.

Spring Park Geotrail
Sunday 13 May, 10.30am

Discover the different geological strata underlying and delve into the fascinating world of geology. Join us for a free circular walk (3miles) across Spring Park, Sparrows Den and Three Half Penny Wood.
Booking essential – please contact us for further information 01372 279083
Minibeast hunt
Wednesday 30 May, 10am-12pm

Join us for a morning full of fun and discover the minibeasts living across the meadow. After our bug hunt we will create bug hotels for you to take home.
Suitable for ages 4 and upwards. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times. Please wear outdoor clothes that can get dirty and appropriate footwear. No dogs please.
Suggested minimum donation £3 per child.
Booking essential – please use Eventbrite to book your ticket.

Volunteering

WWaSP volunteer session at West Wickham Common 
Friday 25 May, 10am-3pm
Infrastructure improvements and footpath clearance on Spring Park – meet at 10am at the office.

For further information:
Tel: 01372 279083

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