Pamphlet/Information Boards: Over the last few months we have been producing an informative pamphlet about the Commons which is now available as a hard copy or download from our website. Thank you very much to Tina Mash who donated the graphic design work. We are also working on information boards to replace the large outdated ones by the Cricket Pitch; opposite the School and opposite Church Lane.
Works on the Commons:
Volunteers: We are very grateful to all of those who have been involved in the summer work of keeping the paths mowed and to volunteers from the Get Out There project in Hammersmith who came and tidied up along the Bottom ride on one of the hottest days of the summer. The litter pickers too have been doing a very good job over the summer (though there seems to be a bit more around just lately). We are very fortunate to have so many people who are prepared to spend their time working to keep the Commons in good shape for the enjoyment of all.
Cutting and collecting: We are currently waiting for contractors to cut and collect on the grassland areas now that the wildflowers have had a chance to set seed.
The work to bury the black plastic, and landscape the pond edge, was completed today - which means that the pond is now ready for the winter rains, when the new earth will settle to some extent. We hope the pond will, over the next few months, regain much of its former water depth to the benefit both of the wildlife and the local community.
We are indebted to Isobel Clark for her research on ways of solving the problem, plus the practical help of Marcus Reynolds in providing soil and Philip Matthews for the use of his manpower (thanks, Tom and PJ!) and machinery – all very much appreciated. A real team effort!
Further Tree Felling: Christine has been consulting with John Morris from the Chilterns Woodland Project about further tree felling and this is likely to begin again around mid-October. She and Isobel have been looking at areas where work might be done. These plans have not yet been finalised but we will keep you informed.
Stump grinding: Meantime, we will be hiring a contractor to grind many of the stumps left from the work that was done last year in the grassland near to Horseblock Lane and in the middle of the Bottom Ride down from the Full Moon. This stump grinding is necessary, in places where we don’t want the trees to grow back, so that the grass can be mown without damaging machinery.
All the stumps beside the ride, apart from the 2 in the middle, will be left as, for example, they were on Pound and Stoney Lanes a couple of years ago. Subsequent regrowth is easier to manage than the original trees. Where the stumps sprout again we can consider whether to cut the regrowth in perhaps 10 -15 years.
Paths: We are concerned that some of the paths through the woodland areas are currently more difficult to maintain since the felling has occurred. As there is more light this creates a perfect environment for brambles and nettles. Where the paths are used frequently this isn’t a problem but it is more so where paths are used less frequently. Although you can walk anywhere on the Commons it would be a pity if we were to lose some of the prettier and, sometimes, ancient paths.
We are currently considering possible ways of dealing with this situation. One way would be to have summer conservation sessions for volunteers who could use hand-held machines to clear paths in areas that are inaccessible or unsafe for the tractor. However, as there is no point in clearing paths if they aren’t then used, we would need to publicise where and when we have opened up various paths. Such a scheme would be dependent upon our being able to recruit additional help with the work involved and in walking the cleared paths. If you think you could help in either way, please let us know.