WWT activity in Oakley Wood, March summary

You may (should!) be aware that WWT volunteer parties led by George Green take place on a few Sundays during the winter, and I post notification of these (when I remember). But volunteers can be active at other times, often doing work that we’re not aware of. So I asked Nick Martin, our WWT Reserves Manager, if he could provide us with a summary of maintenance activity, and he’s duly obliged. This is what he’s sent…..

The work to coppice hazel along the rides has now been completed. This work opens up the edges to more light which supports the growth of understory plants providing greater biodiversity value. The hazel coppice stools will grow back and eventually form larger trees again. This work is done on a cycle so the trees in each ride will be done in rotation. This along with selective felling will ensure a cross section of age structure within the wood. At the same time as coppicing, non-native sycamores have been hand pulled or cut to reduce competition for native species. Brash was pilled up on the cut coppice stools to protect the regrowth from deer browsing.

In a recent volunteer work party a large cherry trunk was felled a rolled to the edge of a new pool that had been suffering erosion of the path edge mostly from dogs. The trunk was staked in place and brash used to protect the remaining edge from further erosion. Dogs can still get in and out of the pool but with less damage to the path and pool edge.

Finally this winter, volunteers have planted new native trees and other plants to supplement the diversity of the woodland. Trees from previous years were also checked, most looked in good condition with some just needing the tree guards and stakes re positioning. It was noted in at least one tree that wood mice had used the tree guard as a cosy nest site!

Thanks Nick. Hopefully we’ll continue to get updates on work done, although there may not be much until the autumn.


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