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Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park. FacebookTwitterYouTubeWebsiteEmailLooking to the next 10 years…
If you’ve been wondering how the Rangers have managed to keep themselves busy during these last few unpredictable months, we have been preparing a 10-year plan to guide our work on Spring Park and West Wickham Common from 2021 to 2031.
Part of this process involves consulting various groups and experts in the field of conservation and heritage, community representatives and user groups.
As you can imagine, there has been a lot to consider when planning for 10 years of management for two sites of this nature, whilst also thinking even further into the future, ensuring that any actions safeguard the sites in perpetuity.
Now we are taking the opportunity to explain our plans for the next 10 years. This is your chance to tell us what you think about the plan and any aspect of our proposed work on these sites.
The online survey covers some of the main actions of the plan and provides the vision to conserve Spring Park and West Wickham Common’s wonderful habitats, historical elements and facilities for people to visit, enjoy and cherish for many years to come.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact the West Wickham Commons team on 01372 279083 or email email@example.com.
+ Take part in the surveyFungal Foray on West Wickham Common highlights the diverse and hidden world of fungi
Under the growing and browning carpet of fallen autumn leaves and logs, hidden from our view for most of the year, vast networks of fungi have been busy – fungi play a vital role in breaking down leaves, wood and plants to make compost and return nutrients to the soil giving us some of the things that support life on this planet. Fungi represent a whole kingdom of species much like plants and animals and it is known that there are a staggering 15,000 species in the UK.
Now marks the time where these amazing species emerge from the ground (sometimes erupting into view in the short space of a single day) in the form of what we know best as mushrooms. Mushrooms or toadstools are the fleshy, fruiting body of fungi and carry the many thousands of spores that are released each year for species to reproduce. The shapes and forms of mushrooms range from disney-esque fairytale toadstools to alien, blob-like masses that resemble jellies and even slime! In October, the Rangers and our expert volunteer fungi guide, Jane, surveyed the mushrooms, moulds and mildew found on West Wickham Common – a total of 41 species were found. As fungi are sensitive to change, knowing what species are present will help guide our management of the site.
Much is still being discovered about fungi; in recent years, scientists have found that individual trees are joined to one another by an underground fungal network: a dazzlingly complex and collaborative structure that has become known as the Wood Wide Web. Both fungi and plant are mutually helping each other – the fungi siphon off food from the trees, taking some of the carbon-rich sugar that they produce during photosynthesis. The plants, in turn, obtain nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen that the fungi have acquired from the soil, by means of enzymes that the trees do not possess – it’s a lifeline for both species; neither forests nor fungi could exist without the other. With so many ancient trees on West Wickham Common, the mushrooms we see in Autumn must surely be just the tip of the iceberg!Giving heathland a helping hand
From November, the Rangers will be working on the area of heathland being created on the eastern corner of West Wickham Common. Much work has been done on this less-visited corner of the Common over the past few years by the Rangers and the WWaSPs volunteers (The photo is from last year’s rather wet volunteering task in the same area). Gradually, the seemingly impenetrable wall of holly – that blocks light to the ground and impedes other plants from establishing – has been cleared. Some of the oaks and birch within this area will now be thinned to give heather a fresh chance of recolonizing the area that once was heathland. Heathers produce long-lived seeds capable of germinating many decades after deposition so with a little extra light and warmth from the sun, the dormant heather will hopefully begin to emerge.
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The City of London Corporation has seven green spaces in South London and Surrey covered by three charities: Ashtead Common, Coulsdon Commons and West Wickham Commons. Each charity has its own Newsletter and you can now:
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