Witchford Village

Open Spaces Group Update - October 2017

Posted on: Oct 4, 2017
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Millennium Wood
The Woodland Group, which manages the wood on behalf of Witchford Parish Council, held its six-monthly meeting in September to draw up plans for the next six months. The major concerns at the moment are acts of vandalism in the form of serious littering that puts the safety of other users at risk, and damage to trees and shrubs. Bottles have been smashed on a number of occasions and broken glass left on the ground, causing volunteers to spend a lot of time and effort in clearing up. Branches have been broken off trees and shrubs and shrub guards pulled up. If this misuse of the wood continues measures including closing the wood at certain times may be considered.

On a lighter note, Brown Owl and her team led Witchford Brownies in a Tuesday evening session in the wood in September. The Brownies collected and looked at creepy crawlies before releasing them; whistled with grass; found colours of the rainbow in natural objects; made and decorated a wild mobile; created a work of art using leaves, stones, feathers and twigs; and picked up litter, leaving the wood spick and span. Finally as it grew dark a bat detector was used to listen for bats, and as expected, one or two common pipistrelles – our smallest bat – appeared.

Sandpit Drove Conservation Area
Littering has also been a major problem in Sparrowhawk Way, the strip of predominantly elm woodland at the north end of the conservation area. Litter has consisted of huge amounts of snack wrappers, drinks containers, plastic bottles (and the occasional school note book) along the path and on openings to the Village College (and even more on the Village College boundary). Appeals by the Open Spaces Group to the Village College have not stopped the littering, and the Parish Council will now take up the matter.

A moth trap was set up in Sparrowhawk Way in late August specifically to check for the presence of the white-spotted pinion moth. This moth underwent a rapid decline as a result of Dutch elm disease during the 1970s, as English elm is the caterpillar’s main food plant. The elms here would make it a suitable location, but unfortunately no specimens of the moth were found, though there were around 20 other moth species trapped.

Kevin’s Place
In September the Open Spaces Group met at Kevin’s Place for the annual meadow mow. Thirteen volunteers took part in the mowing and raking off, including the children who enjoyed their first volunteering with the Group.

Fairchild Wood
This is the wood at the end of Long Meadow where the Permissive Path was opened in July. Many of the young trees here have died as a result of ash die-back, and replacements will be arriving this autumn. It will need a big effort with plenty of volunteers to plant the new trees on a date likely to be in late November. Details to follow.

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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