Witchford Village

Open Spaces Group Update - June 2013

Posted on: Jun 5, 2013
Posted in: open-spaces-group news

Witchford Open Spaces Group June 2013 1

Community Orchard at the Old Recreation Ground

As the Old Recreation Ground dried out in April and May the drainage works were completed by Howard Palmer and Carl Goodjohn using contractors' plant. In May a small group of volunteers met to attach a permanent label to each of the Community Orchard's 62 fruit trees and 13 cobnuts, naming the type of fruit and the variety. The establishment of the orchard is now complete, and so far all is looking well as all the trees are in leaf. Ongoing activities include pruning of some of the trees, mowing for hay, cutting of a circular path, hedge trimming and ditch works. These will all be set out in the management plan that will be prepared in the coming months.

Sandpit Drove Conservation Area

At the end of May the wildflowers in the Sandpit Drove meadow were growing rapidly. Cowslips, red campion and buttercups were in flower, and clover and oxe-eye daisy will soon follow. Unfortunately the perennial weeds such as nettle, dock and burdock are also growing and will have to be controlled in June. So far though we can be reasonably confident of a successful show of flowers.

Wild flowers can be enjoyed in other grassy places too if the grass is not cut too often and too hard. Some of Witchford's grass on verges and rights of way is cut by residents to resemble a bowling green, but there will be few wild flowers. Why not take a break from mowing and give the flowers a chance?

In the wooded part of Sparrowhawk Way in May we had bluebells in flower. Bulbs of the native species were planted in some numbers in 2005, but unfortunately there are also Spanish bluebells (or the hybrid of the native and Spanish species) present. The native bluebells will in time hybridise with the Spanish and so be lost – along with the scent, which the Spanish varieties do not have – and this could happen across the British countryside. Non-native species of bluebells should therefore be confined to the garden if we wish to keep our scented native species.

The pond is full to overflowing and has lots of tadpoles, and appears to be in good shape. The marsh marigolds (Kingcups) have already flowered. At least one moorhen has returned, and hopefully there will be breeding as for the last few years.

Wicthford Open Spaces Group Flowers

Millennium Wood

The wood has chiff chaffs and willow warblers and speckled wood butterflies. It is looking as a wood in spring should look, and is a lovely place to sit and enjoy.

On 23 June the Woodland Group will hold its annual Meadow Mow in the wood, when as usual the Witchford scouts will provide barbecue fare, to enjoy after cutting and raking the grass. Other management activities such as trimming of the hedge (after checking for breeding birds) will be carried out. Everyone is welcome to take part.

Volunteers are very welcome at all Open Spaces Group and Woodland Group events. For more information about the Open Spaces Group contact Richard Braund on 665222 (e-mail richardbraund50@hotmail.com)

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