Witchford Village

Open Spaces Group Update - June 2017

Posted on: Jun 22, 2017
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Millennium Wood
Some of our younger villagers enjoyed a late afternoon in May for marshmallow toasting around the campfire. Those who were well practised made ‘S’mores’ - marshmallow sandwiches with chocolate digestive biscuits.

There was also a well attended session for volunteers in May when management tasks from the Millennium Wood activity plan were carried out. Some of the rotten tree stumps that had previously been seats around the campfire circle were partly buried to encourage wood-boring invertebrates. We found that some adult lesser stag beetles (see the April 2017 Open Spaces Group Update) had already taken up residence in the logs, so they will be very happy with the even better living conditions! The wooden tree labels were replaced after a long absence for refurbishment. Volunteers also fitted tree guards on self-seeded shrubs, pruned the hedgerow plum trees, and replaced two bat boxes that had been taken down for repair.

Sandpit Drove Conservation Area
Growth in the meadow has been slow during spring, probably owing to the long period of dry weather. A noticeable development has been the density of yellow rattle across parts of the meadow. Yellow rattle is semi-parasitic on grass roots, and so has slowed the growth of rank grasses, providing an opportunity for other plants to grow. Control of weed species has continued, and following the heavy rain during May, meadow grass and wildflower seed was sown on prepared areas.

Moorhen breeding has not been successful so far, and some or all of a first brood were predated. Moorhens are usually double-brooded so it’s still possible they will breed this year.

Fairchild Wood
Fairchild Wood is on Footpath 1 at the far end of Long Meadow. The wood will soon be opened for public access via a new Permissive Path to be provided by courtesy of landowner Dianne Field. Open Spaces Group volunteers will carry out maintenance works in July on the trees planted in the wood in 2011. This will be an ideal opportunity to get to know this green space along the route of the path.

Witchford Open Spaces Group relies on volunteers for its work encouraging wildlife and promoting green spaces and access to the countryside. We need more volunteers to continue working into the future for conservation and people’s enjoyment of the countryside. In particular we would welcome the support of younger members of the community. For more information about the Open Spaces Group contact Richard Braund on 665222 or e-mail richardbraund50@hotmail.com.

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