Witchford Village

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Open Spaces Group Update - April 2018

Posted on: Apr 11, 2018
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Bedwell Hey Lane Hedge
In March Open Spaces Group volunteers trimmed the hedge alongside the playing fields in Bedwell Hey Lane, reaching the parts inaccessible to the flail cutter in February. The volunteers also cleared leaf litter and weeds from the edge of the village hall car park, and carried out a litter-pick along the length of the hedge. Members of Team D carted away the hedge cuttings the following day.

Sandpit Drove Conservation Area
Routine amenity and conservation management work set out in a new Activity Plan (drawn up jointly by the OSG and the parish council) for the year from April 2018 was approved by the parish council in March. Other matters concerning hedgerow maintenance and the clearance of ditches still have to be decided following consultation with the adjacent landowners and estimation of costs.

The first activity will be wildflower meadow management in April, when persistent weeds such as dock, hemlock and burdock will be removed. Small areas will be prepared and sown with seed collected from the meadow last summer. The margins and possibly selected parts of the meadow will be cut.

Visitors to Sandpit Drove in late March will have seen substantial tree works in the elm copse along Sparrowhawk Way. A number of potentially dangerous trees have been felled along the boundary with the Village College, the larger by tree surgeons, and others by volunteers acting for the parish council. There are still numerous dead elms that are smaller and which have been left in place, as they do not pose a hazard to the public, so continuing to provide a valuable addition to the habitat for birds and invertebrates.

The pond has remained very full following the heavy rain during March. Lots of frogs were evident in the shallows, and in the last few days of the month they laid huge amounts of spawn. The moorhens were present and we hope for successful breeding this year.

Millennium Wood
The Millennium Wood continues to be a popular venue for gatherings, and in March Witchford Brownies enjoyed an evening of songs around the camp fire. What a shame that the session was marred later in the evening by someone stealing one of the bags of firewood left behind, and dumping the fire circle stones into the fire pit. Could the culprits be the three teenagers that arrived in the wood just as the Brownies were leaving?

Spring at last
The start of spring in March didn’t bring the weather we would have liked, but that didn’t put off some of our local birds from proclaiming their presence. Of particular note, as they are on the ‘Red list‘ of Birds of Conservation Concern (meaning birds that have declined by more than 50% in the last 25 years) skylarks were singing in profusion over the old airfield, and two yellowhammers were competing in song in the hedgerows around Long Meadow. Another Red list species present in Witchford in March was a tree sparrow. Is this species making a comeback? Are there other recent sightings?

Witchford Open Spaces Group volunteers help to maintain and improve sites throughout Witchford to encourage wildlife and for the enjoyment of the local community. We welcome new volunteers, young to not-so-young, at any time. Why not come along?

For more information about the Open Spaces Group contact Richard Braund on 665222 (e-mail richardbraund50@hotmail.com).

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