Dormouse Boxes

In late August the group helped to erect 50 Dormouse boxes in the Wood. We hope that this will help identify the status of Dormice in the Wood.

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August activities

Howard fells a dangerously rotting birch tree on the Yellow Trail.

Nearby we noticed a Fly Agaric toadstool.

The new fence and gate for the store area.

Digging out the base for the new concrete ramp.

Heather in flower on Middle Way.

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Today’s working party

Today we spent chain-sawing some large logs to create some wooden ‘stepping stones’ for a local project to create a community garden at Northaw.

After we finished, we noted this some spectacular Parasol Mushrooms near the entrance drive, see below.

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Vegetation Surveys

In the past few weeks we have been taking this year’s survey of vegetation along the set transect lines. We carried out surveys at Brook Glade, Justice Hill and on Middle Way we created a new transect to monitor growth on the bare section formed from last year’s widening of the eastern section of Middle Way. We also did the western-most transect on Middle Way which was missed last year.

The new transect shown above covers ground currently almost bare, though the middle of the path, which is often muddy, (see bottom of picture) shows a plentiful growth of Water Pepper.

We finished just in time before Maydencroft arrived with their machinery to mow the bracken areas of the wood.

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Bat Walk

On Sunday 26th June 2011, I carried out my annual bat walk. A warm night with a good number of Pipistrelles found on Justice Hill and along Middle Way and the western Blue Ride. Tawny Owls were also calling, but compared to previous years very little evidence of Muntjac Deer, which I would have expected to hear barking and moving about the wood. Whether this reflects a lower population is not clear.

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Summer work

The Group has been engaged in several activities in recent weeks. One of the old Beeches close to the picnic area has lost several boughs in recent times and the group cleared up the fallen branches.

After clearance

We have also been carrying out vegetation transect monitoring, butterfly transect monitoring (see the butterfly page for pictures) and a tree survey designed to identify veteran trees in the wood and also unwanted blocks of rhododendron.

Vegetation transect at Brook Glade – it proved hard to set the right course given that the bracken is covering the intermediate markers (mostly tree stumps).

There are not many really old Oak trees in the wood, as they were commercially ‘harvested’, but some malformed trees were probably deemed not commercially useful and so survived:-

Old Oak on the Yellow Trail (western arm).

The survey has shown how many of the older trees are Beeches. As well as the well-known pair near the picnic area, there are many other old specimens, like this one adjacent to the County Camp:-

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Clearing Obstructions

With Howard now back to chainsaw duties, on Friday we dealt with a number of trees which had fallen across waymarked paths or were threatening to do so. Four separate areas were dealt with in the morning.
As we went round the wood, we noted that the Foxgloves were prominent.

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Recent work parties

On the 1st May we had a number of routine tasks to tackle, including clearing a fallen oak on the Yellow Trail. With Howard out of action, Eric does the chainsaw work.

Last Friday we cleared some of the redundant deer fencing and did a trial tree survey by looking around Hut Glade. Notable there is this (imported) Wild Service Tree which is currently in flower.

The wood is currently displaying a large number of Bluebells. Additionally, in one secluded glade I came across this mass of Greater Stichwort vying for space with the Bluebells.

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First Bluebell

Spring has arrived and at the same secluded location I found last year, the first Bluebells are flowering.

I have also added a new page on flowers under the ‘Visiting the Wood’ section.

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Friends Group AGM

This is to let you all know that the FoNGW AGM will now be on 21st April (and not the 14th  as previously planned). Location is The Plough at Cuffley and we start at 8pm.

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