There has been a lot of noisy forestry work going on in the park for the past few weeks. We have had both enquiries and complaints.
Over the years the Friends of Southwick Country Park and the Countryside Team have planted many hundreds of trees in the park. Some as whips, no more than a couple of years old, to thicken the hedges; some to stand alone like the three ten year old oaks planted in Sleepers Field; replacements for the ageing or fallen, an arboretum of native species and several new stands of young trees to enlarge copses and provide a bordering woodland.
three ten year old oaks planted in Sleepers Field (DKG)
Unfortunately, some of the plantations were of ash and they have since been infected by the fungal disease ash dieback. This year it was decided by our Tree Officer that it was time to cut out some of the victims of ash dieback and to thin some of the plantations to give the remaining trees the light and resource to mature.
several new stands of young trees (DKG)
Our brief is, in part, to improve habitat for wildlife so we are using the removal of diseased trees and the thinning of the plantations as an opportunity to create habitat. We are making clearings in the woods where we can. Primroses will move in and foxgloves and comma butterflies; tree pipits and flycatchers like clearings; Bechstein, Natterer’s and pipistrelle bats all hunt in woodland glades and edges particularly if the ground is wet or if there is water nearby where water flies breed.
Some tree trunks will be left upright to rot out and provide nest holes for birds; beetles will lay their eggs in the rotting wood and woodpeckers will come to eat the beetle larvae. Hundreds of species of fungi will move in. Some felled trees will be left on the ground; come winter, dead leaves will drift into their branches and provide cover for hedgehogs and woodmice.
At the moment it’s a mess; sawdust and wood chips all over the place, logs and cut branches lying about in heaps. Have patience; these things take time.
woodmouse and hedgehog (creative commons)