Thursday, April 24, 2014
   
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Common wood update – Autumn to Winter 2011

Parent Category: News

At the beginning of November the leaves suddenly turned from green to the yellows and orange-browns of Autumn telling us that another year is passing. There is a good crop of beech mast and acorns to provide food for the wildlife and future regeneration of the tree population.

Many beech and oak trees in the wood are over 100 years old and when they reach 150 to 200 years they start to decline so this new generation will be well on its way to replacing them. In the past, the method of clear felling and replanting the cleared areas was used. This meant that replanted trees grew at the same rate and the understorey and ground cover was not able to get properly established. We have moved away from this method and over the next few years you will see some thinning activities to create more open areas where low level cover will grow to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. Some of this work will be carried out by volunteers so if you can spare a couple of hours occasionally we would like to hear from you.

Our voluntary sessions are held on the first weekends of the month. The planned dates are December 3rd and 4th, January 7th and 8th, February 4th and 5th, March 3rd and 4th, April 7th and 8th – all of which appear on the diary here on the website. We have an email list for 'Friends of Common Wood' so if you would like to be kept informed please send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We are hoping to improve a couple of paths over the winter if finances permit. We have also surveyed many trees for safety and some work has been identified. If using the wood, please comply with any instructions or warnings given by people doing maintenance.

A dead Glis Glis (also known as an edible or fat dormouse, once a Roman delicacy but now protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act) in my garden reminded me we have this invader locally. Some houses around the wood have had these destructive animals in lofts where they chew through cables. Even though they look cute they will destroy birds’ nests (often eating the young) and strip bark from trees. As they are protected by law, if you believe you have a Glis Glis in your house, they must not be killed or released into the wild. Contact the local environmental health department for assistance.

Some eagle eyed walkers have asked about the red pegs on the Bluebell Walk. We are working with our neighbours to map the correct boundary of the wood and a land surveyor placed the pegs.

If you are a horse rider please ensure you have up to date PABA riding permits. An increase in use by cyclists has triggered a couple of complaints about speed. Do not assume people can hear. I sometimes get complaints about cyclists riding too fast past walkers. Can I ask anyone cycling in the wood to slow down when passing walkers and to announce their presence if approaching from behind with something like "cyclist  approaching from behind, passing to right(or left)". Please do not just assume walkers can hear you approaching without such a warning. In all cases please slow down when passing walkers.

Thank you to those who help by removing litter. My wife and I often take a bag and litter-pick. Common items are poo bags, tissues and beer bottles. We have a persistent litterer at the entrance of Common Wood who leaves food and drink rubbish. If anyone has details let me know. Lost items are hung up near to where they are found or will be taken to the main gate in Common Wood Lane after a few days.

As winter approaches and fuel costs high I need to advise everyone that we do not allow any timber to be taken from Common Wood for firewood (or any other use). We may be able to provide some firewood after the thinning works are carried out but this will be carefully controlled as fallen timber is part of the woodland regeneration process – amongst other things, fallen timber provides a habitat for bugs and invertebrates that feed birds. If you do see anyone removing firewood please call the local police (the telephone number is 101) with details.

Enjoy the wood this winter and maybe take a walk after Christmas dinner or New Year celebrations

Earlier in the year, the damp summer and rains in late August and early September produced a rich variety of fungi heralded by the bright red heads of the Fly Agaric. If you walked along the public footpath from the main gate you will have seen scores of them under the silver birch, elsewhere you can see honey fungus, boletus, puffballs, bracket and many other species. Please remember that funghi can be deadly: never eat any wild mushroom without multiple sources of positive identification.

I am pleased to have sighting reports of roe deer back in the wood. They have been missing for some time and only Muntjac have been seen. Evidence of badgers exist in the form of their distinctive  toilet 'pots' and woodland neighbours sometimes have them visit for a snack of peanuts. Foxes leave their sticky smelly mess and some dog owners have the unenviable task of cleaning their pride and joy (tomato ketchup is reputed to work well!). Squirrels left localised carpets of beech husks where they sat high up in the canopy feeding on the unripe nuts.

Article and photographs by Mike Morley, Penn and Tylers Green Residents’ Society Chair and warden of Common Wood.

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