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Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park. FacebookTwitterYouTubeWebsiteEmail
The season for woodland walks
Spring Park and West Wickham Common are fantastic to visit all year round but nothing quite beats autumn when the woodland transforms in a dramatic change of colours.
Taking in the woodland at Spring Park and some of the surrounding countryside, this short trail from Spring Park to Kent Gate is a good jaunt that lasts a couple of hours. For a slightly longer ramble, the Three Commons walk includes autumn woods, heathland and majestic pollarded trees across West Wickham Common and nearby Hayes Common and Keston Common.
Capturing the beauty of Spring Park’s autumn fungi
There about 144,000 known species of organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which includes the yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, moulds, and mushrooms. Spring Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to find various forms of fungi. Local photographer Mark Shoesmith has captured wonderful glimpses of mushrooms that can be found on the site.
The importance of fungi in woodlands has previously been compared to the networks of pipes and cables that support a bustling city. They are the underground conduits that link and sustain woodland ecosystems and help to process deadwood so it returns back to the soil to fuel life. In autumn, many of the fruiting bodies of fungi burst from fallen leaves, logs and trees creating the beautiful displays with which we are so familiar.
West Wickham Common pollards on postcards from the past
Trees have been pollarded for centuries and were formerly an important source of many timber products. It is similar to coppicing, but with the advantage that the new foliage is about two meters above ground, out of reach of animals grazing the pasture beneath them. Termed as ‘wood pasture’, these historic habitats are not only visually impressive but are incredibly rich in all kinds of life, especially insects, lichen and fungi associated with very old trees and decaying wood. The many pollards on West Wickham Common have endured the test of time and are as impressive today as they probably were over 100 years ago. This beautiful postcard of West Wickham Common shows some of the impressive, gnarled forms of the pollards from 1911.
Volunteer dates for the diary
We are glad to be running volunteer tasks on the West Wickham Commons again. To be added to the mailing list for volunteering and updates on where and when to meet etc., please email us.
Spread across three days, this month’s task will be at Spring Parkon Thursday 25 (10-15:00), Friday 26 (10-15:00) and Sunday 28 November (10-15:00) where we will be coppicing hazel. If you have not tried out coppicing before it is a great way to practice a traditional craft and enjoy being outdoors at a green gym that’s good for the environment, body and mind. Why not give it a go!
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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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