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Welcome to the West Wickham Commons Newsletter covering West Wickham Common and Spring Park.
Clearing the way for rare heathland habitat
Much of the winter work has focused on extending the new area of heath on the east side of West Wickham Common by removing dense growing holly. On a global scale this habitat has declined drastically. Twenty per cent of all that now remains is found in the UK. This decline has been acute in London too, where today heathland is limited to a few surviving fragments. Heathland has a huge role to play in supporting reptiles and insects, many of which thrive in the low nutrient and warm conditions. From the success of the existing heath on the Common, we hope that this second site will support heathland biodiversity and become a feature worth visiting when the heather blooms and becomes a sea of purple.
What’s happening in the pond over winter
Whilst brimming with life in summer, the pond at Spring Park becomes a much quieter place in winter – with the exception of a few passing birds, by now most animals will have found somewhere warm and secure. Cold temperatures slow the metabolisms of all living things, especially cold-blooded amphibians who are at the mercy of their environment. Some animals will hibernate at the bottom of ponds during the winter. Frogs and occasionally newts can quite easily tolerate the lower temperatures but for most amphibians, piles of logs, leaves and loose earth offer the most-suitable shelters during the coldest months. Around the pond at Spring Park, we have left habitat piles, or hibernacula, from previous conservation tasks to clear vegetation and silt from the pond (seen above in 2019). These provide the best spaces for wildlife who need a constant temperature in the winter in close proximity to watery habitats that beckon to them in spring.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas from the team
As the festive season approaches we’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope that you find some time to enjoy Spring Park and West Wickham Common over the festive season which remain open as ever. Some of our Rangers will be working over the Christmas period monitoring the open spaces so if you see one of us do say hello. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!
Photo by Sue Cro
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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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