Tottington Woodlanders

We are a registered charity which manages an area of ancient woodland next to the village of Small Dole near Henfield in West Sussex.

Winter Work Ends

As the clocks changed on the 29th. March our Winter Work Programme came to an end.  We always stop work with the changing of the clocks; aPrimrose Primula vulgarislthough the traditional date to stop is Lady Day (25th. March); one of the quarter days when fines, rents and tithes were due.

The season has been kind to us and we almost managed to complete all of the tasks we set ourselves.  Given the formidable schedule at the start of the season we have achieved an amazing amount of work.  Surprisingly we did not lose a single day to the weather, although some of the work days were a bit miserable, we ploughed on.

The work has been particularly arduous this season because our faithful old tractor decided to pack up on us.  (Maybe not as faithful as we thought!)  It then required us to haul all the tools etc. into the wood by hand.  It is surprising how those flat paths develop hills when one is pushing a hand-cart!  Thankfully we acquired a new tractor at the very end of the season, so we were able to haul out the product with relative ease.

The bulk of the coppicing was centred on two Cants – (B&J).  The product was better in B, but both produced large amounts of useable product.  In addition to these two areas we cut back some Goat Willow (Salix caprea) which was overhanging the boardwalk near the pond, and also cleared the area in front of the Ken Schrouder bench to open up the view.

The other significant task this winter was to lay many yards of hedge in the North-eastern corner of the wood. This was a project started last season and continued this year.  The hedge was not in very good condition and posed a considerable challenge to our volunteers.  Ultimately perseverance paid off and the hedge is now looking wonderful.

Those of you who visit the wood will notice the large, nest like, tangles of brash in B and J.  Although they detect slightly from the view they are very important to stop deer browsing the new coppice.  Deer damage is a constant problem for us.  They tend to nibble the tops of the new hazel shoots resulting in damaged and deformed regrowth.  This in turn impacts on the quality of the coppice product, which is a major source of income for us; helping to pay for tools, insurance etc.

Now the coppicing season is at an end we are starting to think about the summer with the surveys and summer shows.  The floral survey is planned to start next week.  The ground flora is a bit slow to get going this year but the Primroses (Primula vulgaris) are especially good at the moment.  Slowly the Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa) and Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are catching up.  We are also hoping to undertake a moth and entomological survey during the coming months.  Several Summer Shows are already booked.  For those of you who are members the details are in the Newsletter.  You can also pick up more detail on our Facebook Page – Friends of Tottington Wood.

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