West Wickham Commons November Newsletter

Leisure Centre Proposals Delay
3rd November 2019
Remembrance Sunday Plans
9th November 2019

November 2019

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

Creating a woodland glade

As part of ongoing restoration of the heathland habitat on West Wickham Common, the WWaSP (West Wickham and Spring Park) volunteers have been out with the Rangers to extend an area of woodland glade. Bow saws and loppers in arms, the volunteers have done an incredible job of clearing scrub over the first two-day volunteer task of the season.

West Wickham Common would have looked very different in the past. As a Common, there would have been open land, patches of blooming heather and places where grazing animals would have kept vegetation very short. Without human interference and the presence of graziers, the vegetation has succeeded to become what is now a secondary woodland of oak, birch and beech with the occasional pine beneath which holly has thrived and shaded out the woodland floor.

With the light now able to reach the ground, it is hoped that heather present in the soil bank will germinate and a variety of invertebrates will take advantage of warmer conditions. It is a long process, but the restoration of this habitat will support and provide a link to the pockets of existing heath on the Common and adjacent open spaces.

Checking up on the trees

Like all living things, trees are vulnerable to disease and ageing. Depending on the species, healthy trees can live for hundreds of years going through several stages of growth, reduction and ultimately decay. Given the right conditions of light, water, carbon dioxide and nutrients, a healthy tree poses little risk of becoming a hazard to people and can become towering and impressive veterans of the forests. However, with the many trees falling under the responsibility of the City of London, the Rangers are always keeping a close eye on the health of trees on the Commons, particularly in high risk areas near paths, benches, roads and buildings.

Tree safety inspections are being carried out in October and November by the Rangers who are trained aborists. These inspections are carried out during the autumn months as the presence of certain species of fungi can give an indication of tree health and internal damage. It is important to note that not all fungi damage trees but rather the majority support them through a symbiotic relationship to extract nutrients deeply-bound in the soil. With strong autumn storms and the seemingly unrelenting rise of ash dieback, the task to complete tree safety inspections across the Commons requires a monumental effort to ensure that the trees are healthy, safe and protected for the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *