Sevenoaks & Tonbridge Conservation Volunteers

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Summer task added

The 2011 survey of Nesting Birds at Chiddingstone download here.

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Bore Place

Bore Place

More information about Bore Place and the Commonwork can be found here http://www.commonwork.org/

Bore Place is a popular venue in our programme and offers a variety of woodland tasks working with John Waller the Underwoodsman.  The site is interesting and varied and the aims of  Commonwork encompass sustainability, conservation, agriculture and education.

STCV volunteers have cleared ponds, coppiced Elm, restored hazel coppices and created new habitat along woodland rides. We also have a stand at the Commonwork open day to attract new volunteers.


Ponds

This is a picture of one of the two ponds we cleared of reed mace and other vegetation.  It hadn't been touched for about four years and had become very overgrown and in danger of disappearing It has a dipping platform for educational purposes, which had become redundant which can now be used again.


Coppices

After many years of coppicing hazel stools will become gradually weaker and cease to regrow or grow fewer less vigourous new shoots. When this happens new plants need to be established. The traditional method is to layer a stem from an existing stool.  This is cheaper than buying new plants and more productive than planting seed.

First a stem is lowered onto the ground using a pleach cut, in the same way a stem is lowered for hedge laying. This is shown in the picture on the right.

The lowered stem is held in place with pegs as show above. The pegs are cut from an ash tree felled earlier in the year.

The result can be seen on a stem which layered about 18 months ago, several new plants are sprouting from side buds which are supported by roots growing from the bottom of the stem.

Where the stem touches the ground the bark is gently scraped away to expose the cambium layer below the bark. This layer is between the bark and the sapwood and is the source of all growth in a tree. Where the stem is in contact with the damp earth it is stimulated to grow roots, wit is in the light it is stimulated to grow new shoots. For more information see www.backyardnature.net or the BTCV Woodland Handbook

Clearing brambles from relatively young hazel to make room for coppicing hazel for mainly beanpoles and pea sticks. Not a lot left over to fuel the fire as everything harvested had a value. One of our objectives was to select a suitable stem of hazel for layering next spring.  This is a useful propagation technique which the Group will undertake in the early spring

Elm coppicing in an expanded field hedge known as a shaw at Bore Place. This is to prevent the recurrence of dutch elm beetle infestation which attacks maturing elm trees as they reach 15-20 years of age.  The trees are therefore coppiced on a regular cycle to keep the shaw healthy.  Volunteers had a chance to practice their tree felling skills once all the brambles and scrub had been removed.

English Elm is unusual in that all the trees were propagated by suckers not by seed and had spread from very few, possibly a single, original plant. As all the Elms were genetically identical they were very susceptible to Dutch Elm disease because they no natural immunity because there was no diversity due to natural sexual selection..

       Standing dead wood

 

Beetle damage under the bark


Woodland Habitat

Bore Place has areas of mixed wood land iwhich sit between arable areas of the farm. these are managed for productive timberm, the hazel coppice, recreation and conservation. Here a large group of STCV volunteers are widening three areas of overgrown woodland ride on a public footpath. By creating scallops from the ride into the wood sunny open glades are created to to attract butterflies and encourage them to stay and lay eggs. Butterflies need the right plants to lay eggs on and open sunny areas for flying and courtship displays.

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