An update on progress
Following our last update informing of the delay to the tree works which are now on hold until the end of this season’s nesting period, work will continue over the next 15 months to develop and improve the ecology and create a greater diversity of habitat for insects and wildlife. The extent of tree works and the final route of a path is still under review.
We have erected a low level chestnut paling fence to help protect the area while this conservation work takes place and we will kindly ask that people do not enter the site, and ask dog owners to keep their pets out of this environmentally sensitive area, so that seedlings, bulbs and other plants are able to establish undisturbed. We've also almost complete planting over 100 metres of mixed hedging around the perimeter.
If you would like to be involved in supporting the conservation work as a volunteer, please get in touch. You can also sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter to receive updates on the Wildlife Trail and upcoming volunteer sessions.
An exciting new addition to the nature reserve
The plan is a developing design but gives an indication of the general idea to create pockets of interest and a variety of habitats around a meandering path. The site would be bounded by hedging with a gate to prevent access by dogs and the path interspersed with information boards to help identify flora and fauna. Much of this will be aimed at young children although the questions will make many an adult think hard! It is hoped that much of the information will enable visitors to consider how their own gardens could be more nature friendly. Click here for our proposal document
Unlike much of the Walk which is formed by steep embankments or cuttings, the location is on gently sloping ground off the main path shortly after entering from Holmesdale Road. The lower section near the main path is suitable for easy access for those with mobility issues and we hope to improve the access to the steeper sections so that those same people can access the whole area with some assistance. The current ground is considered poor in terms of habitat and would benefit from intervention. The aim would be to increase light to the southern section by removing some large trees that are overshadowing the site, and plant a variety of trees in the north eastern section to create a woodland area. The boundary would also be planted up with thorny shrubs and small trees to screen the site from the surrounding houses, providing both privacy and security. We would like to establish a functioning pond that can be supplied by a Sustainable Drainage Scheme (SUDS). This would involve collecting rainwater from surrounding houses to supply a 1000 litre water tank to provide water in dry periods.
Improving The Parkland Walk
This would also be of benefit to the Parkland Walk as a whole, as the habitats would be greatly improved, and over time we would hope to see a number of fauna species adopting the site. The Parkland Walk was recently awarded a Green Flag Award. This project would go towards meeting the following Green Flag judges' recommendations:
1) To meet targets already laid out in the Habitat action plan
2) Increase the amount of interpretation material explaining improvements and conservation policy
3) Address issues of dog fouling
4) Include more corporate volunteering days
5) Addressing the public perception that the Walk is unchanged/worse than it was 5 years ago
6) Build on the success of the Big Clean Day by involving the community
How can you be a part of this venture?
There are so many ways you can help. The most obvious and more immediate need is for volunteers who want to get stuck in to the gardening bit. Ivy needs to be removed from large areas of the ground, paths need to be marked out and later lined and filled which will require plenty of fit people to help get materials from the road, and then to spread aggregate on the new path.
We will need to dig out a pond, create dead hedging and plant trees and shrubs. We will need to build wildlife boxes for bats, birds and hedgehogs as well as bug and bee 'hotels'. We will want to produce signing so there are opportunities for creatives and when all that is done there is the maintenance. Maintenance is going to be the one thing that ensures the future of the site.
This is a project for the community and we would really like the community to be involved in looking after the site. Ideally we would see a team of volunteers who check out the trail on a regular basis and respond to any immediate needs. Most of the time this will mean the removal of litter, but it is inevitable that at some point someone will damage it in some way and we want to be able to put things right quickly. Having neighbours keeping an eye on the site and reporting damage to us, or the council as appropriate, is going to be so important. You might also be someone who can guide visitors around the trail. We would like to offer children's sessions and are looking for volunteers to run those.
We have received £10,000 funding from Tesco's Bags of Help Initiative towards this project.