Scenes from Workdays

Clearing access to benches (above) and repairing benches (below)

Planting whips

Join us on our work sessions

On work sessions we coppice woodland and carry out other maintenance work.

They are planned for the first and last Sunday of every month from October to March and the first Sunday only for the remaining months. We meet promptly at 10am in the car park off Old Farleigh Road.

You can choose tasks which suit your strengths and abilities and
work for as long as suits you. Children (under parental supervision) are welcome. We supply the tools but bring your own lunch and drinks. 

The next work session will be on Sunday July 3rd

For further information contact our Work Sessions leader, Ted Forsyth, at or tel: 8651 0558

For reports of previous workdays see below. 


We do need more help and would welcome your assistance.

January 2nd & 30th, February 6th & 27th, March 6th & 27th , April 3rd, May 8th, June 5th, July 3rd, August 7th, October 2nd & 30th , November 6th & 27th , December 4th 

Below is a Health & Safety advice card for new volunteers

H&S card copy.doc H&S card copy.doc
Size : 53 Kb
Type : doc

Cutting bracken

Erecting name boards

7th August 2013 - resting after installing the FSW seat

Above - Workday 2nd February 2014 -  The coppice team take a well earned break - all kitted out in the latest hard hats.

FSW occasionally use weedkiller in the wood. The  two documents to the right give some advice on this.
Letter from RHS about weedkiller.jpg Letter from RHS about weedkiller.jpg
Size : 240.217 Kb
Type : jpg
SBK Brushwood killer - directions for use .jpg SBK Brushwood killer - directions for use .jpg
Size : 254.794 Kb
Type : jpg

Work Session Activity Reports by our Works leader, Ted Forsyth

(unless otherwise stated)

(in reverse date order - latest report at the top)

Many of the "Work Sessions" activities in the Covid years have been carried out by individuals or small groups working in their own time. These are also reported below in reverse chronological order.

Informal Work Session report for 29 June 2022 - report by Jim Dunning

I have been to the woods this afternoon and floated a small net of barley straw to try to eliminate the duck weed.
Please be aware this has been floated on the left hand side as looking from viewing station. I have anchored it to a small sapling using bright green string. This should float for about 2 weeks and gradually sink when it becomes waterlogged. This is normal. The bale should last about 3months. Not sure how effective it will be as this is stagnant/still water or how long it would take to irradicate the weed.

Work Session report for Sunday 12 June 2022

Linda and Ted set off along Vale Border intending to clear vegetation around seats and benches in the fields. A Red Admiral butterfly was seen perched on the side of a guide post. The first bench was in danger of being buried by the encroaching bushes so we spent time cutting back and disposing of the material. Passing through into Field 2 we dealt with a second bench on the left then circled clockwise round the field examining and clearing benches and seats. On looking back from the top of the field we could see that the cleared bench at the bottom was already being used by two people. Returning to Field 1 we dragged the tool trolley up to the recently renovated seat set back in the bushes where we stopped for a break. As we continued up towards the seat at Greenhill Way we were met by Neale’s team returning to the toolstore. 

We cleared the last two of our dozen seats and benches then Linda went off and Ted joined the other group of Neale, Karen and Jim who had spent the morning digging a hole in the Jubilee Plantation in preparation for erecting the bird identification chart near the David Malins Memorial bird feeding station. Their return to the toolstore was to collect the board and support structure for the Memorial Plaque. On another trolley it was dragged to the Jubilee Plantation and, after some more digging to increase the depth of the hole, the whole structure was carefully slid over the fence until the over-sized legs could slide into the hole.  After deciding on the height required for the plaque the two legs were cut to size and the hole was filled in to fix the structure firmly in position.

Informal Work Session report for Monday 23rd May 2022

David Brown thinned out the Iris in the Jubilee pool  - see before and after photos below

Informal Work Session report for Monday 23rd May 2022

John Zareba removed a tree fall blocking Vale Border - see before and after photos below

Work Session report for Sunday 8 May 2022

Karen, Neale, Jim and Ted arrived first and filled a couple of trolleys with boxes of plug plants and supplies of water in watering cans and plastic containers. We soon got involved at the butterfly bank, joined by Heather and Cathy, planting Kidney Vetch, Marjoram, Wild Thyme, Rock Rose, Hairy Violet and Small Scabious. The original intention had been to put some of the plants in the butterfly hot spot of David’s Crook and also on the car park bund but all the plants ended up on the butterfly bank.  When we had finished we returned the trolleys to the toolstore, disposed of the empty seed trays, treated the Spanish Bluebells that had been found behind a seat, then examined the possibility of using a hose to top up the pond in the Jubilee Plantation.

See the Butterfly Bank page for photos of the open flowers spotted today.

Informal Work Session report for Friday 15th April 2022

Jim Denning distributed the three remaining bags of wood chips on Farleigh Border and cut back a number of branches that had fallen across paths. The Farleigh Border path is at last dry!

Work Session report for Sunday 3 April 2022

Linda, Valerie and Ted began work in the south-west corner of David’s Crook to remove vegetation obscuring the commemorative plaque on a tree. After some progress had been made Karen, Neale and Jim arrived on their way to their tasks. As they had the collapsible ladder with them we persuaded Neale and Karen to climb up to clean the plaque so that the message can now be read. They then joined Jim to remove an offending branch over Broom Path. While they went on to deal with fallen name boards and other tasks the vegetation clearance continued. Once we were satisfied that there was a clear view of the plaque we returned to finish the work we had been doing in Great Field. By now the other group had circled round the wood, having put up a bird box in Pool Grove and a name board in The Wend and removed a small tree which had fallen across Bluebell Grove. They were now putting up a name board in Stevens’ Walk within metres of the first group. Both groups finished at the same time and returned to the car park.

This bird box was in the garden of Ruth & Steve Budd where it had been home to Great and Blue Tits. After a thorough clean out they donated it to FSW. This photo taken on 8th April, just 5 days after it was erected, shows it already being used  by Blue Tits.
Pictures below show clearance in David's Crook to reveal the commemorative plaque which reads:
5th JUNE 1986

Work Session report for Sunday 27 March 2022  photos by Linda Morris

Karen, Neale and Jim went to David’s Path to deal with the large fallen tree - see below

Linda, Valerie and Ted dragged a trolley filled with a selection of tools to Great Field and stopped by the entrance to Smith Grove and The Wend. Vegetation consisting of a mixture of raspberry, bramble and saplings had grown up next to the woodland edge and, as can be seen in the photographs, most of this was successfully cleared to ground level, leaving just a small amount to be dealt with later.  Ted and Valerie dragged a large builder bag filled with the cut vegetation into the woodland and disposed of it in a suitable spot. Subsequently Valerie took over this task and filled and emptied seven or eight more.

Jim, Karen and Neale cleared the Davids Path fall - see before and after photos by Neale below. That is the last of the 24 falls from the February gales. The map below shows the location of all the falls and the Falls Photos file beneath it a photo of each fall before clearance with the date each was cleared.  

Falls Photos Job Done.pdf Falls Photos Job Done.pdf
Size : 1241.328 Kb
Type : pdf

Extra Unscheduled Workday - Saturday 26th March 2022 - report by Neale Fox

Karen and I cleared the Addington Border and Wend tree falls with a silky. Photos below show Addington Border fall before and after

Extra Unscheduled Workday - Sunday 20 March 2022 - report by Neale Fox

A small team consisting of Jim, Harry, Neale and Karen, decided due to the favourable weather, to clear some of the tree falls. We managed to clear the blockages at the junction of Courtwood Grove and Langford's Way and then move on to West Gorse. These were two major falls cleared and hopefully on the next workday we can clear Addington Border and The Wend. There is one other huge tree down in David's Path which we have left until last because it is in a less well used part of the wood.

Tree fall at the junction of Great Field and Langford's way before clearance (below) and after clearance (right). 
Pictures below by Harry Creer show clearance of the West Gorse fall - before, during and after

Workday report for Sunday 6 March 2022

Linda and Valerie continued work in The Gorses and were joined later by Cathy. Clearance has now reached the East Gorse path at two points. The rubbish was made into several large piles which will be shifted to a more suitable position on a future occasion. Photos from Cathy 

Karen, Neale, Jim and Ted stopped briefly at the memorial bird feeders to watch Long-tailed Tits then carried on to the north end of Smith Grove to deal with a Birch which had toppled but was resting on other trees.  This was gradually cut into pieces until it was brought down to the ground.  After clearing away the fallen material it was noticed that a loose branch was hanging vertically over the path like a Sword of Damocles. It was brought down by Jim’s acrobatics with a long thin branch. Careful examination found a second loose branch which was also persuaded to drop.

At the south end of Smith Grove the path was blocked by what looked like a very large tree but it proved to be a huge branch which had ripped away from a nearby tree.  With loppers and saws we were kept busy cutting and removing branches and logs until the path was clear.  A specimen of Yellow Brain fungus was found on one of the small branches.

We examined the large fall in West Gorse but decided it would have to be left to another day. Photos in the gallery show clearance of fall B at the north end of Smith Grove + Yellow Brain + Falls  Map. Photos below show before and after of clearance of fall 19 at the south end of Smith Grove. 

Workday report for Sunday 27 February 2022 

Linda, Valerie, Cathy, Janet and Allan worked in The Gorses and cleared a lot more of the area. See photos below by Cathy Logan and panorama by Linda Morris

Karen, Neale, Jim and Ted went along Vale Border clearing awkward branches then came to a large fall (12) which was partially held up in another tree and kept us occupied until 11.25am. We dragged the tool trolley back to field 3 and entered Broad Walk, clearing some small items (6) before spending time clearing tree E on Heather’s list. Heather appeared at this point and was able to show us tree fall 13 down a small path which we had missed.  The remains of a stump at the beginning of the path was cut and eventually ripped out of the ground.  Our remaining time was spent in removing tree 13.

When we stopped I walked home along Addington Border path and found a new fall just after crossing Avis Grove.

Unscheduled Work Activity - Wednesday 23 February 2022 - photos by Ruth & Steve Budd

Steve painted "T" marks in the car park to encourage cars to park tidily, using a stencil prepared by Neale. The work was done at twilight when the car park was empty. 

Unscheduled Workday to clear Tree Falls - Tuesday 22 February 2022 -photos by John Zareba - map below shows all falls numbered

I walked across the wood to the car park and found the others had already moved off, but as I had not met them on Greenhill Way I thought they might have decided to begin at Smith Grove. When I entered Stevens Walk I discovered John working on a Pine tree (number 2 on the list) which had fallen across a fence. I helped to finish the clearing then went with John to join Neale and Jim to help clear three falls in Greenhill Way (including numbers 9 & 10). Next was Broom Path, where we were joined by Harry, to clear tree 8, and nearby in David’s Path we found a very large fallen tree which we decided to leave.  East Gorse was the next target, tree 11, which was left for the next workday. When we reached the Middle Gorse junction we took down a potentially dangerous tree leaning over the path. Continuing along Leafy Grove, in company with Heather who had arrived, we stopped in Noakes Way and cleared a tree which I had seen on my way over. Harry spotted a dangerous loose branch and with the help of a long thin branch he was able to dislodge it. Further along Leafy Grove we entered Bluebell Grove to clear tree 4, a Holly. Near the other end of Bluebell Grove a small fall was cleared before we examined the large tree blocking the path. A test cut on the broken end suggested we would be able to clear it – it was cut into sections and the pieces were rolled aside. Again Harry spotted a rotten tree leaning over and he was able to persuade it to drop to the ground where it was cut and rolled aside.  

Any falls still on the list we will deal with next workday or we will report them to the Tree Officer.

Workday report for Sunday 6 February 2022 - report by Linda Morris

Early morning stormy weather led to most of the regulars deciding not to come but it was dry by 10am. 

Jim and I worked again on the Gorses and successfully opened up the way through to the other side this morning. We picked up some of the cuttings and left in a pile by tree close to where we reached the main path.  The two hedge cutters made it quicker work although admit there might be short stumps etc of brambles and saplings to cut off once the area has been raked to remove the cuttings. 

Once the first cut through had been made we started on the overgrown area to the left of it behind where the work stopped last week. Again, I slashed through the brambles and bracken with the cutters and Jim tackled the bushes and saplings with his saw that were too thick for me to cut without the hedge trimmer getting jammed. 

We created a pile of debris closer to where we were working as time was running out for what we had hoped to complete today. 

If I have time later this week ( maybe Thursday morning) I'll try to have another clear up morning with a rake so we can see the cleared area more clearly. 

Saw lots of bluebells coming up as we walked back! 

Workday report for Sunday 30 January 2022

Linda, Valerie and Janet went off to continue working in The Gorses. Two trolleys had been left in the toolstore, each with a large bag of woodchips. Mike took one and dragged it to the Farleigh Border path, helped by John, while Karen and Allan took the second. Ted followed behind intending to help but found the others were moving three times faster! The woodchip was used to create a path over a muddy patch - see top photo.  We took the empty trolleys back to Vincent Avenue where Neale and Jim had brought their vehicles laden with the remaining sacks of woodchips. Soon two more trolleys were on the way while Ted stayed to help unload the sacks before returning to the toolstore area to fetch a haversack in preparation for joining The Gorses crew. Heather and Ted trudged up to the Farleigh Border, meeting the empty trolleys on the way and being followed shortly after by the next two loads. Ted and Heather walked to The Gorses where the three ladies have created multiple mounds of cut material. Jim came along and began cutting bramble, bracken and some gorse before finishing by demolishing a stand of sycamore. A timely phone call from Neale brought things to an end. Something like ten individual trolley loads had moved all but a few sacks. 

It was a bright and frosty day when we began but Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming and Green Woodpeckers were "yaffling".

On Monday 1st February Linda revisited the Gorses area to rake up some of the bracken and Bramble that she had cut on Sunday. 

The lower photo shows how the area looks now with the clearance done almost through to the path on the other side.

Wood Chipping of Muddy Paths - 9th January 2022

A team met for an unscheduled workday to start to distribute woodchip to ameliorate some of the worst muddy paths. Full details of this work can be found on the Projects page.

Workday report for Sunday 2 January 2022

Linda went to the Jubilee Plantation to meet Heather and was followed later by Valerie, John and Ted. Bird feeders were added to the poles which Linda and Peter had positioned previously. John and Ted cut down two hazel clumps to allow a good view of the feeders then with the help of Valerie dumped most of the cut material in a couple of existing pits in the plantation. Valerie also used some of the logs to mark the edges of a rough path.  We then moved on to the Butterfly Bank where we trimmed some of the larger plants.

Karen, Neale and Harry carried out an experiment on a muddy part of Greenhill Way by scraping mud to the side and leaving a relatively hard surface.  Encouraged by what looked like success, they carried on to the very muddy patch beside the cut tree trunks on Farleigh Border path. There they attempted to dig out the mud and also created a drainage channel to see if it will reduce the amount of water on the path.

Photos by Neale Fox 

Workday report for Sunday 5th December 2021

Neale, Karen, Jim, Harry, Paul Winter, Linda, Ted

Linda and Ted continued working in The Gorses concentrating on raking loose material and removing some of the cut saplings. While the others waited for Paul to arrive Karen attempted to make repairs to the fence on the butterfly bank. They then examined deep muddy patches in various places and also removed the fallen birch which was hanging above the Farleigh Border path. Jim left this group to join us in The Gorses and was soon helping to transfer piles of waste to an area in the woodland. The remainder of the group soon appeared and got involved in cutting various stumps to ground level, clearing some of the bramble, and helping with the clearing of waste material covering the ground.  When rain began to fall we decided to go home.

During our work I picked up a short stick covered in the bright red spots of Coral Spot fungus which was the first sighting of this species this year.  Some orange-coloured mushrooms were found growing on a tree stump but have not yet been identified.

Workday Report for Sunday 28th November 2021

Jim, Neale & Karen, Linda, Cathy, Harry, Ted

The last four named above returned to The Gorses and cleared a large amount of bracken, bramble and some sycamore saplings. In the process we found several scattered groups of large Sulphur Tuft, one clump of Glistening Inkcap, a solitary Common Funnel, and on an old stump Turkeytail and Peeling Oysterlings.

Jim, Neale & Karen went to the Courtwood end of the wood to deal with some large Laurel (see before and after photos below) then began returning to Farleigh Border to improve the conditions for bypassing an awkward muddy patch.

By this time Cathy had left and Linda decided to return to the car park carrying her load of tools, while Ted and Harry took the trolley to meet the others on Farleigh Border.

Bypassing the mud was made easier by removing a lot of fallen wood so that it is no longer necessary to step over anything.

On the way back to the car park a Birch tree which had fallen some time ago was lying across the path above head height.  A few smaller branches were trimmed but removing the tree will be done another time.

Installation of Pitkin Bench 17th November 2021

Jim Dunning, John Zareba and Neale Fox installed a new bench dedicated to Brian Pitkin in Broad Walk.

The bench was delivered in pieces ready for assembly and taken to the site using 2 trolleys.

The original bench in that location was removed and the top retained for a member of FSW who had requested it. 

Holes were dug almost in the same position as the original bench and the complete installation took only a few hours.

Many thanks to all involved - shown below left taking a well deserved rest on the bench. Further details of the Brian Pitkin bench are given on the Seats & Benches page of the website.

The team also installed a Vanguard Way marker at the junction of Broad Walk and Addington Border next to a FSW bench that was installed a few weeks ago - below right.

Workday Report for Sunday 7th November 2021

Linda, Neale, Jim, Ted, Valerie B, Cathy L, John Z, Mike Griffith (TCV)

Neale & Jim went off to replace a damaged guide post and were able to sink a new metpost but were unable to release the old one so this will be sorted out later. On the way they removed several patches of overhanging wild clematis. The main intention was to make a start on removing a large laurel which they did by trimming some of the branches but they left the main work for later when they will treat what remains after further cutting.

The other volunteers dragged the tool trolley up to The Gorses where some continued the work of clearing vegetation. Three of us concentrated on removing a large pile of bramble, bracken and branches to allow sunlight to warm up the soil and encourage growth of flowers. Some of the branches in the pile had obviously been there for four years or more and many were sporting fungi of various species but nothing that excited us enough to take photos. However more fungi were found on the ground and on old tree stumps including Sulphur Tuft, Oysterlings, Sheathed Woodtuft and others.

As we were about to stop work John Z phoned Neale and found that he and Jim were on their way to the large crater in Stevens Larch to clear up rubbish left by revellers. Our route back to the car park took us in that direction so we met up before Linda and Cathy took our tools back to the toolstore. Neale and Jim descended into the pit with a large sack to retrieve the litter including a vary large piece of cardboard, all of which we took back to the car park. 

Photos from Linda Morris & John Zareba.

Workday Report for Sunday 3rd October 2021

Neale & Karen Fox, Jim Dunning, Linda Morris, Harry Creer and his two sons Finlay & Bertie, Allan & Janet Bushnell, Valerie Baldry, Nila Germain, Adam Fuller, Ted Forsyth

Neale, Karen & Jim spent their time on Vale Border, first cutting overhead branches which were forming a tunnel then concentrating on removing a large tree in Field 2 which had fallen over a bench. They also removed and demolished one of the seats on the side of the field which had fallen into serious disrepair. The plaque from that seat, dedicated to Murray Silverstone, will be attached to the adjacent bench

The remaining volunteers returned to The Gorses to continue opening up the area by selectively removing sycamore saplings, bramble and bracken, whilst retaining any rowan, oak and gorse seedlings. A pile of branches which were cut two years ago, along with one of the many recent piles of cut materials were disposed of in the nearby woodland.

photos from Linda Morris and Neale Fox

Installation of one new seat and 2 new benches - September 30th 2021 - Photos by Harry Creer

Ted, Jim, Cyril and Harry installed 1 new seat and 2 new benches in the wood - with some mechanical assistance from the local farmer. The pictures tell the story.

Workday Report Sunday 26th September 2021

Neale & Karen Fox, Jim Dunning, Linda Morris, Cathy Logan, Harry Creer & 7 year-old son Bertie, and Ted Forsyth all attended the first group workday of the autumn and the first since the start of the pandemic.

Neale, Karen & Jim took one laden tool trolley and went off to put up a couple of bat boxes at Vincent Avenue then began looking for a place where a Greenhill way nameboard needed to be put back. After scanning the whole path is was decided that the board they had with them was not needed and was a spare. Finding that the West Gorse path by Farleigh Border was becoming too narrow, they opened it up by clearing some of the encroaching vegetation. They also took the opportunity to compete the bolting down of the seat by the Centenary Plantation.

The remainder of the volunteers took a second trolley of tools to the Gorses where they attempted to make a start at selectively clearing bramble, bracken and sycamore saplings but leaving gorse bushes and seedlings  along with young oak seedlings. Once most of the area is clear we will decide whether to thin out some of the seedlings. Some of the cut material has already been moved to a pile in the wood where it will be allowed to decay. Some vegetation was removed from around benches in Middle Gorse. Finally, as we passed through the fields where the grass had been cut, we noticed that several mushrooms were visible.

photos from Linda Morris, John Zareba and Neale Fox

Work Activity Report 3rd September 2021

The old Lost Property Box behind the notice board in the car park had fallen into disrepair. So our star refurbisher, Jim Dunning, took it away and brought back a lovely new box. In true "green" fashion he created the box from a pallet and materials he had available so it has cost us nothing.
Superb work Jim - many thanks!!

Some good citizen saw Jim removing the box and thought he was stealing it so posted this notice in its place (far right). We thank your for your vigilance but it was a fully legitimate removal with a great outcome:-) 

Workday Report Sunday 1st August 2021

I walked through The Wend to join the others in the car park, trimming bramble as I went.

John remained in the car park to check the growth on the laurel which tends to project out into the car parking spaces.

Linda and Valerie went off to deal with vegetation around seats and benches in the fields and managed to clear a dozen.

Harry & Jim removed a rotted bench in Field 3 and started digging holes for a replacement bench. Jim took the opportunity to mask some of the dowels and screws he used in refurbishing the seat by the Centenary Plantation.

Neale, Karen & I began at the Centenary seat where Neale fitted security bolts. Moving on to Leafy Grove we put up a cluster of three bat boxes on three separate trees. A phone call to Jim confirmed he was still in Field 3, Harry having left at 12 noon.  We joined him and made an attempt to increase the depth of the holes but had to relinquish the task before reaching the required depth.

As the dull initial conditions were later replaced by sun we began seeing many butterflies, particularly fritillaries (probably including both Dark Green and Silver-washed), Gatekeeper, Large White, Meadow Browns, Ringlet and Small Copper.

Workday Report Tuesday 27th July 2021 - report by Neale Fox

Jim and I started the bench replacement. We cleared the slab first. Then assembled the bench and attached one chain (there are actually two chains). Although it is now  in place we got caught in the rain and got soaked so finishing and bolting down are still needed. We will complete this when we have time and in dry weather.

Workday Report Sunday 4th July 2021 - report by Neale Fox

Met Jim at the store albeit quite late at 11:30. Fitted the bat box brackets and replaced the sink unit door which had been removed (not the best job but works ok).
We then walked up the the Centenary to look at the replacement of the bench Jim has rebuilt from the usable remains. We found there is a large section of overgrown slabs, so it was originally set on a paved base which needs clearing back into the plantation before the bench is replaced. The digging of holes system is probably not feasible so we are looking at bolting it down and possibly using the chain as well. 
If anyone wants to clear back the vegetation around this bench location and or clear the base it will sit on with a shovel then that would be appreciated.
Saturday 19 June 2021

This fall across Middle Gorse was completely blocking the path. It was cleared  the day after it was reported by Neale  while out for a walk. Many thanks Neale:-)

Workday Report Sunday 13th June 2021

Linda & Ted started on Vale Border then moved into field 2 and back to field 1. We cleared low vegetation around benches and seats, including one which was almost hidden in the hedge. On this last one, in particular, we spent some time removing bushy material.

Neale, Karen & Jim concentrated on putting up path name boards. Report below from Neale.

Name boards replaced were: Noakes Way/East Gorse junction (this was labelled for its location) and two Langford's Way signs (but we spent quite some time locating were they came from). We also had a Greenhill Way sign but we were hot and starting to flag so did not find its location but the one near the field entrance was about to fall off so we remounted that. We also have some new signs to mount but will use a different mount system because they are chestnut and much heavier.

I will try and prep the Bat boxes when I have time ready for mounting next workday or maybe before. 
Adjustments to the Farleigh Border Gate - May 2021

After reports of a dog running out onto Old Farleigh Road through an open Farleigh Border gate we investigated what could be done to prevent any future similar occurrence. The Council were informed but they were unable to undertake any work so initially we decided to lock the gate until further notice. Warping of the gate and frame meant that the bolt could not be easily slid into the lock but we managed to jam it in place in hope that it would serve as a lock.

However a few days later the bolt had been unjammed, the gate was once again fully open outwards and the notices that we had posted explaining the situation had been torn down. We feared that the fence might be broken down if the gate was padlocked so looked for another solution.

Previously the gate swung automatically to open outwards. However with the bolt fully out the gate could be made to rest on the inside of the frame - see second photo. To stop the gate falling outwards it was necessary to fix the bolt in the fully out position which Neale did with a nut & bolt through the hole - see photograph 3. The gate did not close automatically although a small push closed it and the weight of the gate kept it closed until pulled by hand from inside or pushed from the outside. A notice was placed on the gate asking users to push it to closed - see photograph 4.

In spite of the notice the gate was left open on several occasions so Andy set up a very simple gate closing device using a bit of rope tied to a tree opposite. This is proving very effective so far.

Workday Report for Sunday 9th May 2021

Heather had mentioned a clump of Spanish Bluebells behind the bench on the west side of the car park field. This is an invasive species which can be a threat to native Bluebells so Karen, Linda and Neale started by digging them up. 

Karen & Neale then went off to clear a fallen tree over the Margaret Horne seat at the top east corner of the field. This bench needs two planks of 6x2 inch timber and 8 coach bolts plus some preserve to bring back to a good usable condition.

They next went to the other end of the wood to clear a fallen tree in Beech Grove close to Broad Walk. When they returned Neale decided to deal with the fallen waymarker in Broom Path so Karen & I joined him with a trolley of tools. Our route took us up Greenhill Way where Linda had mentioned another fallen tree. We had not taken the chainsaw and were surprised at how large the fallen Birch was. Once in Broom Path the rotted end of the waymarker post was cut off and the post was replaced using a Metpost.  Returning via the fallen Birch Neale decided to go back to collect his electric chainsaw. Once back at the tree he began lopping off lengths of branches which Karen & I removed. Keeping an eye on the remaining charge in his battery he managed to remove all the material which had been blocking the path.

Butterfly Bank.  Linda and Peter Morris and John Zareba had made an early start and had taken two trolleys to our old coppice area to fetch stakes for a fence to be put around the outside of the bank. Allan & Janet Bushnell joined Linda, John and Ted to put up the fence. The old fence, which was a half-size deer fence, was removed from the top of the bank and was re-sited around the outside of the bank. John had brought a metal road pin which we used to make an initial hole into which the stake was placed. The stake was threaded through the plastic fence mesh and the mesh was stapled to the stake. A roll of full height deer fence was then placed to shield the open area of chalk and a couple of access gates were created, held in place by releasable cable ties. At this point the others stopped for a rest and a drink while I went off to join Neale and Karen. 

Workday Report for Thursday 28th January 2021- photos by Linda Morris
Linda and husband addressed a fall across the seat dedicated to Miss Margaret Horn at the top of Field 1. All small branches and twigs were removed but larger diameter branches remain that will require chainsaw work either by the Council or by our workdays team after lockdown. The seat is in poor condition so some branches have been left across it for pprotection.
Workday Report for Saturday 23rd January 2021- photos by Linda Morris
Linda and husband went out to tackle a further 2 tree falls across Gorses paths. 

Photos on the right show East Gorse fall, and on the left West Gorse fall - before and after clearance. "After" photos were taken on Sunday 24th following a light dusting of snow.
Workday Report for Monday 11th January 2021- photos by Linda Morris
Linda and husband went out to tackle 2 more falls that had been reported to us by walkers. 

That in Greenhill Way had branches too thick for a handsaw but clearance of all the smaller branches has made the fall easily passable. We may be able to tackle the larger branches with a chain saw in due course.

The fall in Vale Border was cut and cleared.

Workday Report for Wednesday 7th January 2021- report & photos by Linda Morris
This morning I cleared the fall in Vale Border between fields 1 and 2 - with help from him indoors!!

Workday Report for Sunday 6th December - work on the Jubilee pond - report & photos by David Brown
I went up to the Pond on Sunday morning and starting dredging the pond, it was mainly manure like debris. I also cut back the vegetation on the far side in order to be able dredge on that side.
The lilies seem strongly wedded together so next time will take a spade to help break them up.
Workday Report for Sunday 6th December - report & photos by Neale Fox
Geoff, Linda and I met at the store. Geoff and I planned to do posts and signs and Linda decided to carry on working in the Gorses on her own.
We first replaced the G2 post on the edge of the field pointing up to Broad Walk. We then fixed a replacement Broad Walk sign by the Cascades gate. I used large nails without the backplate due to its shape. Walked along and fixed two Courtwood Grove signs. Then across to Pool Grove and fixed the short sign post. This has been put on the left approaching the pool due to the opposite side seeming to have concrete just under the surface. Next the Wend sign near Stevens Walk was fixed using the nail only method.
There are a few signs for which I am not sure where they need placing so once surveyed again will complete next time.

Workday Report for Sunday 6th December - report & photosby Linda Morris
carried on from where I left off last week but, instead of aiming to clear to the main path as originally intended, I noticed this nice straight birch being swamped (left) so decided to free it up from the brambles etc that were choking it. It has a clear area around it now as in the photo on the right and I will continue from there next time. 
There's a small pile of branches from neighbouring saplings I cut off which might be of interest as thin garden stakes if anyone wants them.

Workday Report for Sunday 29th November - report by Linda Morris
It is the  last Sunday of the month so I decided to make it a FSW workday. As it was just me, I decided best to carry on where I left off last time in the Gorses. It didn't look as though TCV had been back - I wonder if Croydon are already not asking them to provide work teams? 

I did a bit more (from the grass where I stopped last time ) to clear a patch to a few buddliea as I always like to set myself a target to make best use of my time. Picture 1 is the 'before' and 2 is 'after' 2 hrs work (most obvious difference is loss of dead bracken clump in front left of the buddleia). The brambles were very tangled so didn't get as much done as I hoped but almost ready to push through from behind the buddleia  back to the path next time 

I'm not sure what the overall aim is for the Gorses but I am working on the premise that we clear around existing trees and cut down some saplings but leave a few - plus small islands of bracken and bramble  for insect, birds and small animal cover. 

Workday Report for Sunday 22nd November - work on the Jubilee pond - report by David Brown
I cleared all the vegetation blocking the view of the pond and moved this around 20 yards behind the pond.
The next job will be to remove as many leaves as possible from the pond and also take out some of the iris.

Photo by Tony Flecchia shows the view from the fence after completion of the work.

Workday Report for Sunday 22nd November - report by Neale Fox
When out yesterday ( Saturday ) with Geoff I found he was on a day off tomorrow so decided to tackle some of the fallen trees today (Sunday). I knew we really needed some expertise and a big chainsaw so rang Cyril and he agreed to come out with us to deal. I then emailed Harry for some extra muscle and he was happy to join in as well. In the open air working safely we cleared the Silver Birch at the Avis/Beech Grove junction and created several extra resting logs to sit on. We then walked over and removed the remains of the Farleigh Border tree to clear the path completely. Angela one of Cyril’s neighbours also met us to help out and we cut a couple of small logs for her Daughter to decorate.
The tree across the fence along Farleigh Border will need clearing but with the base outside the reserve and also being high up we didn’t have time today. It is not much of a problem currently so can wait for now

Job Done on Tuesday 17th November
The ladies toilet had been open fo at least 2 days and the padlock was missing. We reported that to the Council who replied that it might be some time before they could deal with it. John Zareba found an old gun key padlock and after refurbishing it he fitted it to lock the Ladies loo door.

Workday Report for Sunday 8th November - report by Linda Morris
Following Ted's instructions to the location in the Gorses ( off Middle Gorse) where TCV has started some clearance, I did a couple of hours there this morning - in the 'Lockdown sunshine'  to start with! (See before and after photos below).
I attacked bracken and brambles and freed up the area a bit more leaving a few small trees to grow more freely - if indeed it is intended to have some trees there again! They can soon be cut down if it is planned that the area should be completely cleared. I am afraid it was too back-breaking for me to get down to ground level to try to remove the brambles at their roots! 
I have retained the extending loppers from the store for further use to save opening up the store on each visit. 
Workday Report for Saturday 7th November - report by Neale Fox
Geoff and I ( you are allowed to meet one other person outdoors ) have cleared the recent tree across Broad Walk near the Cascades gate. Then the one just off of Courtwood Grove near where the Early Purple Orchids grow and then the big one on Farleigh Border. The Farleigh Border one is huge. We cut and tidied most of it clearing a path but the main trunk is huge and really needs a bigger saw.
Workday Report for Sunday 18th October - report by Neale Fox
Karen, Geoff and I did a bit of work today. Cleared fallen birch between Greenhill and Davids Crook. Cleared foliage from Wend sign and fitted Beech Grove, Court Wood and a Langford sign. I was not fully prepared and left some signs behind. Geoff is fully briefed on how to fit signs now. Just need to get keys cut and metposts this week.
Workday Report for Sunday 4th October - report by Neale Fox
The signs are all prepared for installation. Steel band around the backplates should stop the squirrels gnawing them away. I have also banded three more backplates in case we find any needing remounting while we are out. I have also reattached the owl box inspection door but used brackets rather than hinges. You can still remove it for cleaning or inspection. I will get some brackets for mounting bat and owl boxes when I get the metposts. 

Workday Report for Thursday 1st October - report by Neale Fox
I had a spare couple of hours today so did some preparation work. I lightly sanded the front of the signs to remove dirt and debris which improves the contrast of the lettering. I have attached the backplates to the signs ready for installation. I am going to put steel banding around the backplate edges to deter squirrel damage but that can be done when they are put up. 
If the weather is ok on Sunday we could easily put them up with a small team and the ladder.

Workday Report for Sunday 27th September

While most of today’s team started from the car park Ted walked up from the Courtwood Lane entrance to Beech Grove with the intention of beginning the task of clearing the large fallen Oak branch which was blocking the path. Work proceeded steadily with cut material piled by the side of the path. Most of the offending branches had been removed when Heather appeared with her dog, Bella, and shortly afterwards the missing team members appeared. Apparently somewhere in the region of the car park lots of smoke had caused a concerned member of the public to phone the fire brigade who were allowed into the car park by Neale opening the gates and removing the height barrier. The smoke was traced to the nearby school where someone was having a burn-up. False alarm! That was sufficient to delay the team but on their arrival in Beech Grove they helped complete the clearance. (There was a good clump of Sulphur Tuft fungi on a nearby tree stump).

The next task was at the top of Langford’s Way where we removed the last vestiges of a blockage mostly cleared previously by Harry. Following this we tackled the old fallen tree in Gt Field which had been lying there for months, and also removed a Birch tree which had come down beside it. We ended in the gap between Stevens Larch and Centenary Plantation where we removed the last of our fallen trees.

We also cut down a number of overhanging Oak branches in order to put the National Trust bench beside the Centenary back in the sun.

Leaving the others to make their way back to the car park, Ted wearily traced his steps back to Langford’s Way and to the Courtwood Lane exit.

Workday Report for Wednesday 23rd September - report by Neale Fox
Geoff and I did three posts today. We looked at the G4 post which David correctly says needs repositioning, however I would like agreement to where it should go. I think if it moves to where suggested it will be in the way of contractor vehicles so has been left for now.
We did the intermediate post between G5 and G6 which was well rotted. Then the intermediate In Pool Grove by the gorses junction which also has a sign on it. Finally the G7/R4 one in Linden Glade which we moved over so it is more visible. All had the rotten bases removed and replaced using Metposts. I forgot the spanners so need to go and bolt them up but they are a tight fit anyway. I may go this evening and do it.
We need more Metposts as all eight have been used now. Apart from the G4 I think we are finished on the walk posts.

Workday Report for Tuesday 11th August - report by Neale Fox
David and I went around to the store and collected what we needed. We followed the Green route up to the entrance to Broadwalk and cleared around the opening to make the post more visible. We then located and refitted the post in Courtwood Grove by digging out what we thought was its original location. We were either wrong or it had collapsed and filled in with stones. We then moved to the rotted London Loop/ Vanguard Way post on Addington Border. Using a Metpost hammered into the old socket and then fitting the post, which sounds easier than it was in the heat. As David was near home we separated, David went home and I returned back to the store to drop everything back. 
Broadwalk Entrance Post
Courtwood Grove guide post
London Loop/Vanguard Way marker post at junction CW and AB
Workday report for Tuesday 4th August - report by Linda Morris

Clearance of growth which was obscuring the post at the entrance to Broad Walk from F3. 

Job completed this morning- post  exposed at the entrance and the stuff I cut off is piled loosely at the foot of it so post not immediately accessible to passers by (or vandals) but easy to move out of way if you want to get at it. 
Interesting to see how far set back it is now compared with when it was first put  there presumably on the edge of the field-would that have been 12-15 years ago??? 
I also cut back around a few seats on my way back around the fields
For once, almost every one who passed me said 'Thank you for our efforts' ! I should have had a collection bucket with me! 

Workday report for Monday 3rd August - report by Neale Fox

David, John Z and myself met at the store for 10am as agreed. We concentrated on guide posts today because more are being broken but they are quite rotten at the base in most cases. 

We repositioned G1 ( post 1 ) which was laying in the bushes and moved it to the right of the dog waste bin using a Metpost, it is now more visible. R2 ( 20 ) cleared vegetation around it so it is more visible. R3 ( 22 ) post had been temporarily put back after being broken off but we have moved it to the edge of Davids Crook to make it more visible by using a Metpost. Missing post 16 found by Geoff Bartlett at the weekend and hidden out of site was replaced using a Metpost. It has been moved to new position on the other side of the path again to make it more visible. R5/G8 (15 ) firmed up with stones and soil for now but will need a Metpost in the near future. Post 14 at the end of Pool Grove on Farleigh Border was rotten but still just standing, we used a Metpost to repair and slightly repositioned it. 

Next time we can follow the Green walk from the car park clearing, re-fixing and repairing as we go. We can also check the posts have not been turned again by being lifted out and replaced indicating the wrong direction by some joker. We are over half complete on this now.

If we can arrange another work group soon we could probably complete the posts and move on to the path signs. 

Workday report for Sunday 12 July 2020

Linda, Harry, Ted                                    

When the team assembled at the tool store it was obvious that only Linda, Harry and Ted were available. We decided to concentrate on Vale Border and soon found a bench which was buried by a fallen tree. A fair amount of time was spent uncovering the bench and disposing of the cut material. As we continued along the border there were frequent stops to remove more bushy material acting as a potential or actual hazard. After leaving field 3 we found an Ash tree which had fallen some time ago and was now lying across the path and propped up on the metal fence on the other side. Harry cut through the trunk and allowed the top part to drop on the other side of the fence then Ted and Harry swung the remaining trunk round and laid it by the side of the path. Beyond this point there was little work to do but some small puzzling saplings gave Linda the chance to use her plant identification app to tell us they were young Dogwood. Further on the app identified Great Willowherb. Within the woodland we heard Collared Dove Stock Dove and Blackcap, and in the fields we identified Small White and Holly Blue butterflies. Some of the Blackthorn bushes appeared to be bare of sloes while others carried a heavy crop. Linda and Harry returned to the car park while Ted trudged up the steep Addington Border path and turned into Broad Walk to see the four Yellow Birdsnest plants which were found recently – they are now past their best.

13/3/20 - Further follow up to 11/3/20
Linda Morris and husband Peter made a start on planting the whips so I joined them and found them already at work when I got to the site. I managed to plant between 15 & 20 whips which means that Linda and Peter planted 30 to 35. If you check the numbers you will see that we planted all 50 Hazel whips today.

The photo by Linda Morris shows fresh bluebell leaves showing through the ashes  on the site to prove how quickly plants appear after a fire here, as in Australia! 

13/3/20 - Follow up to 11/3/20 - photo below by Linda Morris

I carried the remaining 25 tubes from home to the coppice site this afternoon and added them to the ten which I had left there. With the help of Linda "Muscles" Morris we managed to drive in 35 stakes and cover them with loose tubes, and in some cases had to cut the tops of stakes which were too long. That just leaves the actual planting which generally does not need holes to be dug. Instead, where possible, a spade is stuck into the soil and wobbled about to create a slot big enough and of sufficient depth to take the roots on the whip. A judicious use of the boot to close the soil over the root completes that part of the task. The loose tube (which would have been removed to do the planting) is then placed over both the stake and the whip and the two attached releasable ties are tightened to finish.

I'll keep an eye on weather forecasts and check out when I might be on HBK then let people know when I intend to return for the planting. Many thanks to Linda for her invaluable help!

11/3/20 - Additional, Unscheduled Workday by Ted Forsyth to preserve whips (delivered by Simon this morning) 

After lunch I took half of the tubes (25) and all 50 of the whips and took them to the coppice area. The first task was to dig a suitable hole for the whips and find extra soil to earth them up – I hope they will survive like that without drying out too much until we need them. I managed to drive in 15 of Harry’s sharpened stakes, cut them, where necessary, so that they were below the top of the tube (to allow the eventual growth to wave freely without being destroyed by a projecting stake), then covered them loosely with a tube. It is difficult to state an exact spacing for the whips, and to some extent it is determined by the roots coming from the various stumps, but there are still ten unused tubes in the area and I have another 25 at home. I would prefer not to disturb the whips until we either have a lot of help or when all the stakes are in position.

Workday report for Sunday 1 March 2020 - photo below by Linda Morris

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, Cyril, Harry, David, Geoff, Ted plus Maggie Taylor and her brother Ed.

By the time the main group had arrived Ted had collected a pile of fallen twigs and small branches. Cyril got a fire started and more material was collected by Linda, Karen, Maggie and Ted. Jim and Geoff used the two scythettes to attack some of the bramble growth over much of the site. Neale, Harry and Ed put in more fence posts. Later Neale and Geoff went down Langford’s Way to Avis Grove to deal with a fallen tree, while Harry and Ted cleared part of a fallen tree which was partially blocking the exit to Gt Field from Smith Grove.

Workday report for Sunday 23 February 2020 - photos below by Linda Morris

Linda, Neale, Jim, Cyril, Harry, Geoff, Angus, Ted.

In squally weather, and unsure whether rain would hold off, a fire was started so that when everyone had arrived we could get on with our various tasks. Jim went off to search for any remaining coppice work. Harry sharpened tree stakes ready for planting. Cyril cut stumps. Linda and Ted worked with the fire. Geoff, Angus and Neale dragged material to the fire.   Volunteers switched tasks from time to time. Eventually work was begun on making repairs to the deer fence. Several new fence posts were driven into place then the wire along the top of the fence was straightened and pinned to various posts.  Finally, to hold the wire in tension it was attached to a gatepost which was then braced with an additional inclined post.

Workday report for Sunday 2 February 2020 - photos by Linda Morris

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, Cyril, Harry, David, Ted.

Ted started early and got a fire going.  When the others arrived Jim set off as usual coppicing stands of Hazel.  Cut material was dragged to the fire and various stumps were trimmed. Harry pointed some potential fence posts then trimmed side branches ready for the next fire. A rake was used to clear some of the small debris. Cyril joined in with the chainsaw and helped Jim with his last Hazel clump.  The two of them then used several of Harry’s prepared posts (see right) to shore up the deer fence in several places.  We were visited by a Peacock butterfly.

Photo below shows the site left in a very tidy state.

Workday Report for Sunday 26 January 2020

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, David, Richard, Ted.

Ted began at 9.30am by checking fence posts (one of which had a patch of Glue Crust fungus) and fence netting around the site, then concentrated on removing a collection of stems growing from an old stump.  A fire had not been started early as there had not been a pile of twiggy material available, but when the others arrived it was decided to go ahead with a fire (after we removed the evidence that showed “glue sniffers” had invaded the site). Too much sappy material meant that the initial attempt was a failure but a careful restart was a success. The group split up and variously cut old Hazel clumps, dragged cut material away from working areas, reduced stumps, hacked at the insidious leg-clinging Bramble, cut trip hazards and fed the fire. Towards the end several new fence posts were driven into position and attached to the deer fence.

Workday report for Sunday 5 January 2020

Linda. Karen, Neale, Jim, Harry, David, Ted and two new volunteers – Jennifer Flippance and Polly O’Connor

Ted started a fire at 9.10am and by the time the others arrived around 10.20am last week’s pile of cut material was on the fire.  Work immediately began as we spread out and started cutting old coppice stools, removing thin spindly stems, and cutting down individual trees. Much of the cut material was cut up and taken to the fire, some was stacked in habitat piles, and the usual material for fence posts was retained. While we were waiting for the fire to die down, Harry, Neale and Jim used the new post driver to put in four new posts to replace several which had rotted. More will have to be replaced later.

Workday report for Sunday 29 December 2019

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, Harry, David, John, Ted.

Ted started preparing a fire at 9.15am and by the time the others arrived at 10.15am the slightly damp wood was just beginning to develop some heat. Ted and Karen gradually transferred the old pile of cut branches to the fire and near the bottom of the pile found a small branch with two specimens of Witches Butter fungi. The remainder of the group were busy cutting down spindly or thin trees some of which went on the fire while more were stacked for later use and still others were left where they fell to be cleared up next time.  Weather permitting, the first workday of 2020 will be next Sunday 5 January.  Come and join us for the beginning of a Happy New Year!

Photo right shows Witches Butter (black fungus) on a branch resting on a small tree stump.

Workday report for Sunday 1 December 2019

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, Cyril, David, Harry and Finlay

Cyril walked in from the car park while Ted walked from the Courtwood Lane entrance, meeting at 9.00am at the coppice area where we got a fire started. Around 9.45am Cyril went off to help pull the tool trolleys and Ted continued transferring the great pile of material, cut last week, to the fire. When everyone had arrived Jim began his coppicing while the rest of us kept adding to the fire. David created a habitat pile over an old well-rotted log. Cyril fired up his chainsaw and cut the stumps we had left then took down a large multi-stem willow. Jim turned his attention to several stems of a chestnut and had cleared most of it with a pruning saw before Cyril cut the last trunk with the chainsaw. At one point, while clearing up loose material lying around the work area, Harry picked up a bit of tree stump and on turning it over discovered a fungus which Ted identified as Cobalt Crust. While there is still material which will have to be cut down, much of covers the remainder of the area seems to be re-growing hazel which will be left. Many of the original posts holding up the deer fence are rotting at the base and will need replacing.  We certainly have enough new posts available.

Workday report for Sunday 24 November 2019 photos by Linda Morris

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, David, Ted, Harry & son Finlay

Ted got to the coppice site at 9.30am and began by cutting part of a clump of Hazel and dragging it clear. When the others arrived from the car park some began cutting more scrub with pruning saws and loppers and eventually cleared down to the corner of the fence at Langford’s Way and Leafy Grove. Others cut up the spoil, separating material for burning from potential plant stakes. Under close supervision from his dad young Finlay learned how to use a pruning saw but also continued with the use of loppers. We were pleased with the amount of work we had achieved but we would be happy to see more volunteers next Sunday 1st December if the weather is suitable.

Workday report for Sunday 3 November 2019  - photos by Linda Morris

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, David, Ted & new pair Harry Creer & 8yr old son Finlay

Ted walked up to the coppice site and gathered dead bramble stems and hanging dead wood then cut up some of the material left from last time. By the time the others arrived from the car park a fire had been started. Neale added some lumps of wood and we soon had a fire which accepted whatever we added. The main activity involved burning the unwanted material but we were also interested in retaining material which would be suitable as stakes for when we replant later after clearing the coppice. Young Finlay seemed to enjoy using loppers to trim off side twigs from the stakes and drew our attention when he picked up a vole he had spotted amongst the leaves. When held in his gloved hand it settled down to preen its fur. It was released safely out of the work area. Jim cut down a group of tree stems, providing more material for stakes and for the fire, but at a suitable time we stopped adding to the fire and concentrated on controlling the burning wood. When we were satisfied we left the site. Fungi in the area included groups of Common Funnel, Sulphur Tuft, crowded areas of Turkeytail on old tree stumps, and various small fungi on the ground.

Workday report for Sunday 27 Oct 2019

Linda, Karen, Neale, Cyril, David, Ted.

While walking up Langford’s Way to reach the coppice area I saw Candlesnuff, Turkeytail, Sulphur Tuft, Buttercap and several other fungi species.

We cleared an area of bramble and other low vegetation then Cyril began working with his chainsaw just inside and parallel to the fence. As the material was cut others removed it and stacked it for later burning or to provide stakes to support the replanting. We have already started a collection of stakes.

Next weekend, weather permitting, we will burn the unwanted material. We would welcome extra help for a couple of hours.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Workday report Sunday 4 August - photos by Linda Morris, Neale Fox, Tony Flecchia & Ted Forsyth

Karen, Neale, Linda, Jim, Joanne Mullins, Ted, David.

David walked in through Avis Grove clearing long bramble stems before entering Great Field then finding the rest of the group in Linden Glade. Neale, Jim and Karen remained in the glade to examine the edges of the pool while Linda, Joanne and Ted walked along West Gorse to the Farleigh Border path. A fallen tree by the edge of the path might have been trimmed by John Zareba but Linda decided one branch was projecting too far into the path and spent a few minutes cutting it back. In Middle Gorse we trimmed bramble and also and also a hawthorn which had crashed through a holly. In The grassy area we found a group of small whitish mushrooms with brown gills (?sp). Entering the other end of West Gorse we continued trimming bramble before reaching Linden Glade again where David had joined the group. A very sandy area near the cairn had been cleared to reveal the edge but without entirely determining the future for the pool. Karen pointed out a group of very small mushrooms growing by the edge of the pool which were identified as Collared Parachutes. A very noisy Green Woodpecker flew over and landed on a dead tree then disappeared. After clearing the excavated material in the pool we walked back to the car park.

Workday report Sunday 7 July 2019 photos by Ted Forsyth & Linda Morris

David, Karen & Neale, Linda, Jim, Ted.

David walked in from home, trimming overgrown brambles on paths. After checking a problem in the ladies’ loo the rest of us set off towards Farleigh Border and on the way up Greenhill Way, near the top on the right, we found a smallish tree covered in Oyster mushrooms - see photo 1. Along the route and throughout the time we were there we tried to trim back any long strands of bramble threatening to grow across to the other side of the paths. We eventually found the fallen Ash tree on Farleigh Border and dealt with that see photos 2 & 3 - then continued along West Gorse. Small dead trunks were cut down and low-lying overhanging branches were cut back. An obviously broken branch was dragged down and cut up before we exited to David’s Crook and carried on to the car park. There we found that a Wren appears to have taken up residence in the bat box sited above the store room door see photos 4 & 5

Workday report for Sunday 2 June 2019

Karen & Neale, Linda, Carol, Jim, Ted, David.

David concentrated on cutting bramble stems across paths.

The rest of the team visited the coppice area to find that some of the missing rolls of deer fence netting had been used to make repairs to some of the fallen fence. The opportunity was taken to give water to the Elm and Wild Service in that area. We then erected a fallen name board for Stevens Walk and cleared intrusive growth on nearby trees. Next stop was Bluebell Grove to attempt to remove stains from the recent memorial seat. Most of the group replaced the name board in East Gorse near the Baker Boy gate while Ted watered the Wild Service in Middle Gorse. The route continued along Farleigh Border to water the Wild Service and to David’s Crook to do the same there, before returning to the car park.

Extra Workday Thursday 30th May 2019 - Installing 2 new seats - report from David Malins photos below by John Zareba

Jim and John Z have, as usual, done most of the work installing 2 new seats. This was with the help of David Marden and his tractor from Elm Farm.

I made a mistake in laying them down on their fronts in the car park area, to avoid the danger of bending their metal back struts. The result is that the front of the seats are caked with mud - see below left. Jim will brush this off when he fits the plaques.

The photo below right shows the new seat in Bluebell Grove.

Extra workday Sunday 12 May 2019 - photos below by Ted Forsyth

Neale & Karen, Jim, Cyril, David, Ted.

With his rebuilt seat on a trailer Jim drove up Smith Grove to Bluebell Grove. An area was cleared and holes were dug to take the extended legs of the seat. Once the seat was in position we moved along Bluebell Grove to the junction with The Wend where we had previously created holes for a memorial seat. An awkward and damaged tree trunk was removed so that it would not interfere once the seat was later put into position. With that job done we moved on to the junction between Broad Walk and Addington Border to replace the fallen Vanguard Way guide post. Neale began by hammering in a Metpost then completed the job by inserting the wooden guide post and locking it into position. Having begun our work just after 10.00am it was now 12 noon but, having worked up a head of steam, the party decided to tackle the remaining task of digging two holes in Courtwood Grove for another memorial seat. David had prepared two shallow holes to indicate the place for the seat so the eager volunteers began digging to create the correct depth. Optimism began to wane a little when we realised that the potential holes were full of large flints. Luckily we had brought or post-hole diggers in the form of a heavy metal bar to smash the flints and a giant pair of “sugar tongs” to help in scooping out rubble and soil. By the time the measurements were satisfactory it was 2.30pm so we packed up and went our separate ways, some walking home and the others taking the trolley and tools back to the toolstore.

Workday Report 5 May 2019 - photos below by Ted Forsyth & Linda Morris

Linda, Karen & Neale, Jim, Geoff, David, Ted.

Most of us dragged the trolley of tools up to Bluebell Grove where we met David who had walked in from the other end of the wood and had begun work on preparing holes for a memorial seat. While most of the team worked on enlarging the holes, Linda and I took several water-filled plastic bottles and watered the five Elm and two Wild Service we had planted in the coppice area. We returned to the diggers to find they were struggling with tree roots. As it was going to take time I took the opportunity to grab the remaining water bottles and proceeded to the Wild Service in Middle Gorse, Farleigh Border and David’s Crook where I gave them a gook soaking. As we had been told that half a name board had fallen from a tree somewhere in The Gorses I paid particular attention to the boards at the ends of the various paths and found three East Gorse, three West Gorse and one Middle Gorse, all in good condition. Back in Bluebell Grove the team were packing up, rather than start the work on another seat elsewhere in the wood, so we returned to The Gorses where the damaged name board was eventually found hallway along East Gorse by the Baker Boy Lane entrance. The half board on the tree was retrieved. While the others took the trolley back to the car park I walked home in the opposite direction. In The Wend there were many singing Blackcaps and a few Chiffchaffs but there was also a Garden Warbler pouring out its bubbling notes.  Perhaps yesterday’s weather had caused several migrating birds to drop in for the night.

Unscheduled Workday Sunday 14 April 2019 & follow up on 18/4/19

Having checked the remaining whips in my garden I found there were 25 and not the 34 I was expecting.  Presumably we were supplied with 40 Hazel instead of 50. I got to the coppice at 9.15am and planted five Hazel. David arrived and we continued planting until all the whips were in the ground. When we were down to the last three tubes there were no prepared stakes left so we had to cut three from some of the thinner posts we had left for the deer fence. The last three whips were planted without tubes for protection. That leaves three Wild Service, which I had not taken with me, to be planted somewhere – I have retained three stakes and three tubes for that purpose.


18/4/19 - I set off this morning with two Wild Service to plant. She came with me to the coppice to collect two tubes and two stakes then carried them for me to Middle Gorse. Heather went on her way and I planted one whip as shown in the photo left below taken from inside The Gorses. I carried on along Farleigh Border path to the fallen Oak logs and planted the second whip which is shown in the next picture. One more whip to go but I have not finalised any decision yet as to where it might be possible to put it so that in future years its flowers and fruit will make a good show.

20/4/19 The last Wild Service has been planted in David's Crook on the same edge where the White Poplar is but further down towards the old Wild Cherry. It was well watered in.

Workday report for Sunday 7 April 2019 -  photos by Linda Morris

Present: Karen/Neale Fox, Carol Inge, Linda Morris, David Malins, Jim Dunning, Ted Forsyth.

As usual a fire was started and very quickly a steady stream of material was finding its way from the two large piles of material we had left last time. Once the full group of volunteers had arrived loose twigs were raked up, fallen branches were cut into pieces and some coppice stools were cut.  Much of the material went on to the fire but a large amount was used to build a dead hedge (habitat pile) over an old rotting fallen tree. The clearance we achieved should allow us to start planting tree whips.

Unfortunately, after we left vandals smashed down part of the plastic mesh deer fence for which we were only able to make a temporary repair. More work will have to be done later.

Supplementary Sessions 10/4/19  Linda had offered to join me in planting some of the tree whips in the coppice area so we met at 10.00am and began by planting a row of FIVE disease-resistant Elm to the left of the entrance through the deer fence.  We then took the TWO Wild Service I had brought and planted them close to the non-existent deer fence at the beginning of Leafy Grove where they should be a nice sight in years to come – they seem to grow quite quickly.  That left SEVEN Hazel which we spread out to the right of the gate.  I still have THREE Wild Service and a further FORTY-THREE Hazel at home to be planted when it is convenient.  We ended by repairing the damaged deer fence entrance. (See the 3rd photograph in the gallery below.)

12/4/19 Linda joined me again today and we planted another nine whips in one hour. I will return on Sunday morning, without Linda, hoping to plant a few more.

Workday report for Sunday 31 March 2019 - photo by Ted Forsyth

Ted got a fire started early. When others arrived Neale cut some coppice stools while Karen and Ted removed the cut material and John and David collected other material. More than 50% of Cyril’s pile was added to the fire. Later we allowed the fire to die down while we made a pile of any cut material we collected. There will be plenty of material for next weekend.  As seems usual at the moment a Tawny Owl called while we were working and called again as we were leaving, possibly disturbed by a group of noisy Jays.

Workday report for Sunday 24 March 2019

Ted, John, David, Jim, Cyril, Neale, Karen.

Ted walked up to the coppice and got a fire started. While working various birds were heard – Tawny Owl, Stock Dove, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Bullfinches.

John and David appeared and helped to feed the fire which was well alight when the others arrived. Cyril and Jim went off to deal with several fallen trees. Neale cut several coppice stools but found the cut material was making it difficult to move around so we had to spend most of our time concentrating on lifting it and feeding the fire.

When Cyril and Jim returned they created a large pile to which they added the stems of a willow as it was cut. Cyril then cut the pile into smaller pieces ready for next workday. Neale tidied up many of the coppice stumps. There is still much material to be lifted and many coppice stools to be cut before we can consider planting the tree whips.

A Buzzard was heard and both Peacock and Brimstone butterflies were seen in the warm sunny conditions.

Unscheduled Extra Workday Sunday 17th March - report by Linda Morris

There was too much coppicing etc to do for the remaining March work days so it was decided to hold an ad hoc session this morning. John Zareba made an early start and he was joined by Linda ( who carried up a few tools from the store having checked there were no other volunteers there at 10 o’clock ) and David Malins  at about 10.45.

John and David first worked to clear a fallen tree at the top of Court Wood Grove and then went to help Linda in the coppice area off Steven's Walk.

Between them, they cleared a considerable amount of the cut branches from previous days. They sorted the debris into designated piles for easier use next time. These were designated as being  mostly suitable for charcoal kiln logs, fence stakes, bean poles and dead hedging. The fun of having a fire was foregone today as the actual active work time was felt to be more important but we did put some brash in the fire area ready to get one going next time.

Hopefully, we have cleared sufficient space to be able to plant the hazel whips soon now.

We noted many bluebells ( leaves) coming up strongly already where we had coppiced and hope they will have survived our toing and froing  to present a good display in the coming weeks. 

We left the site at about 1pm, thus being able to get home before the heavier hail showers in the afternoo

Workday Report Sunday 3rd March - report by Neale Fox

After some deliberation Ted and I decided the weather was against us and we decided to cancel the workday albeit only an hour beforehand. I went to the Carpark just in case anyone did turn up. Jim had told me he wanted to fix the jubilee gate so we walked up and started to try and bolt it back into situ. Cliff and Toby appeared and I told them what we had decided but they stayed to help. Unfortunately the nut Jim had obtained was not quite right so could not be used. However Cliff and Jim relocated a nut from the lower hinge to the top to improve things. Jim is investigating the size and pitch of the thread to complete the job. We left rather wet and bedraggled after about an hour although storm Freya had not arrived just yet.

Workday Report Sunday 24th February - photos by Linda Morris

Karen/Neale, Linda, David, John Z, Jim, Cyril, Geoff, Ted.

I walked up to the coppice site at 9.10am, hearing a Tawny Owl call from Courtwood Grove and a singing Stock Dove in Stevens Walk near the coppice. By collecting old bramble stems and hanging dead wood attached to trees I was able to get a fire going so that when the others arrived it was hot enough to start throwing on any material intended to be burned. Ted, Jim, Karen and David cut more coppice while others selected material and fed the fire. Ted and Jim then worked together on several coppice stools, each of which had about 30 stems. Some of the newly cut material was dragged to the fire as was much of the older material though there is still a lot left. The chainsaws were used to finish off one of the coppice stools and to trim several collections of stumps.

Workday report Sunday 3 February 2019  photos by John Zareba & Linda Morris

Karen & Neale, Linda, David, Jim, Cyril, John, Ted.

A fire was started and as soon as it was well alight material was added frequently from the enormous pile which Cyril’s chainsaw had cut into smaller pieces, but in the time available we could deal with only a small part of the cut material. Jim cut a forest of coppice stools while Ted worked through to the far fence cutting stools on the way. The new electric chainsaw was given an impressive workout – its new cutting chain proving to be sharp and able to cope with the tests it was given. While the amount of previously cut material has been reduced, the extra cutting that was done has simply added to the material waiting for our next visit. A Green Woodpecker called frequently during the time we were working.

Workday report for Sunday 27January 2019 - photos by Linda Morris - panorama at the bottom shows finished work

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim, David, Richard, Ted

We decided to concentrate on coppicing and spread out to tackle individual old coppice stools, mostly leaving the cut material close to where it fell.  Some material was transferred to the existing large pile but selection of useful material for charcoal making, tree stakes, fence posts, etc was left to another time. Before packing up David and Ted searched for and found the first Tawny owl box we erected. It had broken free of the metal band meant to hold it in place. We will attempt to recover it and possibly re-erect it. On the way back to the car park we picked up the badly damaged bench which was going to be destroyed but which it had been decided would make an interesting repair project.

Workday report for Sunday 6 January 2019

Karen & Neale, Linda, Ted.

We initially tried to start a fire but it was taking too long so we gave up and concentrated on coppicing.  We cut down at least six old coppice stands and also several separate small trees.  Larger material was retained for possible charcoal making and for deer fence posts but most of the other material was added to piles for later disposal.

Workday report for Sunday 2 December 2018 - photos below by Neale Fox

Karen & Neale, Linda, Jim, Cyril and Ted.

On the previous workday we left the coppice area covered in many piles of branches and thin tree trunks as a result of our coppicing. This week the main target was to remove this material. Very quickly a fire was started and we were soon piling on material as quickly as we could collect it. Cyril cut some of the longer pieces into shorter lengths and also coppiced some of the older stools. Jim replaced several of the deer fence posts which had rotted at the base and we put aside several other posts for later use.

Small posts were set up to create a cutting frame which was then loaded with long pieces of material. Cyril then cut these into smaller pieces ready for next time.

In the previous week, two whips (Silver Birch & Field Maple), donated by Lorraine Gaughan, were planted in the Jubilee Plantation. She had received the whips as part of a London-wide Plant a Tree initiative.

Workday report for Sunday 25 November 2018 - photos below by Linda Morris

Volunteers included the usual suspects: Karen & Neale, Linda, Jim, Cyril, Ted, plus new volunteer Mary Wingrove.

Once a longer bolt had been put on to the repaired trolley the party split up. While Jim and Cyril went off to deal with two fallen trees the remainder of the party began trimming the bushes at the edge of the car park and also removed some of the grass, mud and fallen leaves. The main task was elsewhere so we dragged the second trolley up to Great Field where we stopped briefly to examine the old bench and decided it might be repairable rather than be destroyed. We carried on to the coppice area, from where we could hear the buzzing of Cyril’s chainsaw in Beech Grove, and began the process of trying to clear growth near the deer fence, and also started coppicing some of the smaller coppice stools. When Cyril and Jim joined us we were able to include work on older coppice stools and soon had large piles of small and large branches building up. Apart from retaining stakes to hold up a deer fence we will probably dispose of the piles by burning at a later date if weather is suitable.

During the morning we found several fungi. A small dark mushroom was probably a Tricholoma species. A badly damaged large mushroom, thought to be a Parasol, was growing near the coppice entrance, and in the coppice area there were many twigs sporting tiers of (Collared?) Parachutes, a stump had a couple of clumps of Inkcaps while Turkeytail appeared elsewhere, finally a fallen branch was covered in a display of Split Porecrust.

On the way back to the car park we stopped at the old bench where Neale and Jim had a discussion about a possible repair.  As I stood by the trolleys I heard a Carrion Crow mobbing something and on looking over the treetops I could see a Sparrowhawk being pursued.

Workday report for Sunday 4 November 2018 - photos below by Ted Forsyth & Linda Morris

Karen, Neale, Linda, Jim, Cliff, Toby, Ted

We began by walking up field 3 to photograph the Spindle bush then walked along Langford’s Way towards Leafy Grove, passing a Tawny Funnel fungus on the way. In Leafy Grove we erected the new bat box before entering Stevens Walk to find an entrance into the old coppice area. While it was necessary to tackle bramble to get a route into the centre most of the work concentrated on coppicing near the entrance. The cut material produced posts for a deer fence, bean poles, etc. Excess material was piled up for use in strengthening the dead hedge. Further into the centre there was a large fallen moss-covered tree trunk on which there were several fungi.

Workday Report for Sunday 28 October 2018 - photos below by Linda Morris
Karen, Neale, Linda, Jim, Ted.

In the showery conditions we decided to concentrate on re-organising the toolstore. The old bat box was cleaned out and re-erected above the door. Wood supplied by Neale was broken up for kindling and stored in a large plastic box. Several other plastic boxes were utilised to store various related items. Screws were attached to a wall to support bowsaws, spades, post-hole digger, rake, hoe, gaining some floor space. After some further rearrangement there was now plenty of empty floor space to take the two trolleys. Over the next few days an attempt will be made to plant the five donated tree whips.

(Ted planted the whips  (2 Rowan, 2 Birch and 1 Hazel) in the Jubilee on Monday 29th. These were donated by Claire Butcher who received 5 complimentary saplings from the Woodland Trust as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative. She contacted us to ask if we would like them for Selsdon Wood,)

Workday Report for Sunday 7 October 2018

Neale & Karen Fox, Jim Dunning and Ted Forsyth began work outside the museum, re-assembling the damaged trolley which Jim had repaired. (He had also sharpened loppers and shears). Neale & Jim then improved the safety of the flushing action in the Ladies toilet. By the time this work was done it was obvious that no others would be joining us so we set off to Stevens Walk. On the way I pointed out Dogwood bearing both spring flowers and autumn berries.

We spent some time with Neale and Jim cleaning out the manhole and fitting a blank end on a pipe. I found and photographed yesterday’s Parasol mushroom then we entered The Wend to deal with a thin decaying Birch tree which was leaning well over the path. Once this was removed we discovered several more that we decided should be removed – most were very thin straggly trees and again most were decaying and would have fallen at some stage.

We followed The Wend, Leafy Grove & West Gorse to Linden Glade where we examined the pool which had been partially filled by the overnight rain. Neale did his best to scrape out much of the silt to get a better look at possible cracks and it was agreed that the way forward was probably a repair involving fibre glass – something to be considered later.

There was no point in trying to remove wet vegetation in Middle Gorse, which had been one of the intended tasks, and placing of the new bat box was left to another day.  

Workday report for Sunday 30 Sept 2018

Only Neale & Karen Fox, Jim Dunning, John Zareba and Ted Forsyth were present. We began by dismantling the damaged trolley so that Jim could take the broken part away to repair it then walked along Vale Border to get to Broad Walk where a path sign had fallen. Neale, Jim and John were left to deal with the sign while Karen and Ted followed another path to get to the entrance to Avis Grove where a branch was hanging low over the path. On the way we examined old Sweet Chestnut husks for a fungus which I had seen for the first time yesterday. We had no success so we carried on to Avis Grove and began work on the large branch. The others came to join us just as we were finishing then we continued along towards the path, cutting down four decaying trees which were over the path. We also put up a Langford's Way sign. We took a route along Bluebell Grove and while the others began work on a fallen tree Karen and I started searching for the fungus. I found one and prepared to get a photo then Karen found a better one (see photo below left) which I later carried to Pool Grove as that was our next target. There we found clumps of Honey Fungus and newly emerging Shaggy Scalycaps (see photo below right), before dealing with the last of our fallen path signs and another fallen small tree.

Workday report for Sunday 5 August 2018 - by Neale Fox photo by Linda Morris

Present: Karen & Neale Fox, Linda Morris.

As expected only Linda turned up today (Ted was unwell). Karen and I did bring the metal detector and had another go at pipe tracing. However with my limited knowledge we traced from the old fountain and I think the pipe exits to the left  at 45 degrees out straight through the blackthorn into David’s Crook. I tried digging at one area but hit concrete and the ground it fairly solid anyway. I gave up after Linda left us around 11am. Karen and looked at the pool in Linden Glade and it seems the perfect time to clear it out again for inspection of the base.

Workday report for Sunday 3 June 2018 - photos by Ted Forsyth, Neale Fox and Malcolm Jennings

Present:  Toby & Cliff Dalton, Karen & Neale Fox, Jim Dunning, Cyril Watmore, Ted Forsyth.

The whole group walked along Vale Border removing obtrusive branches along the way.  After field 3 we entered Avis Grove and continued to meet Courtwood Grove then exited at the top of the Cascades. At the bottom of the bridleway we re-entered the wood and dragged our trolley up to the large Yew where we found the Herb Paris clump. With Cyril’s chainsaw and several pruning saws we cleared Yew, Hazel and some Sycamore which were tending to shade the plants. While we were finishing, Malcolm Jennings came with his camera to take a photograph of the sun-lit Herb Paris in its new more open area. A Chicken of the Woods bracket fungus was photographed on the large Yew.  In the fields we saw several Common Blue butterflies and on the way back through the woods we saw a Speckled Wood butterfly.

Workday report for Sun 6 May 2018 - photos from Ted Forsyth (TF) and Linda Morris (LM)

Attendees: Cliff & Toby Dalton, Karen & Neale Fox, Linda Morris, Jim Dunning, Ted Forsyth.

While Ted removed several small Ash saplings just inside the Jubilee Plantation gate, the others moved up to Great Field where Neale & Jim repaired the Centenary Plantation name board and the remainder of the team topped up soil around the legs on one of the new seats. The whole group then added soil around the legs on three more seats around Stevens Larch before crossing Great Field to see the large number of Dryad’s Saddle fungi which had returned to the tree stump in Stevens Walk. The last seat, in David’s Crook, was soiled up then we carried on to Linden Glade. Here we found a Ramsons (Wild Garlic) seedling had appeared, growing from a seed dropped from Neale’s pocket last year. Cliff, Toby and Ted went on to investigate the fallen Hazel in Farleigh Border (and found someone had broken it off and laid it by the side of the path) while the others restored the fallen Farleigh Border name board. The whole group came together again on the Farleigh Border path beside the very large Oak which had been cut into pieces by Croydon Council workers. As they were blocking the path we managed to improve matters somewhat by rolling four of them to the side of the path before returning to the car park. During our work we heard at least six Blackcaps and listened to a very vocal Song Thrush in David’s Crook. On Farleigh Border there were many Yellow Archangel flowers and one or two clumps of Greater Stitchwort. Brimstone, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood butterflies were seen.

Workday report for Sunday 8th April 2018 -  report from Neale Fox - photos below from Andy Campbell

We met as usual in the car park, Jim and Cyril were waiting in Jim’s car when Karen and I arrived. As it was lightly raining and we were discussing whether to give up and go home when a new volunteer Andy Campbell turned up. Linda arrived shortly afterwards. 
I had turned the water supply to the pool on after yesterday’s walk but when we got there no water was emerging. I found the pool tap was not fully on so opened it up. Karen and I carefully removed quite a lot of sticks and stones from the pool as well as dragging leaf litter to the edge of the pool while the rest of the team moved to the previously decided coppice area along West Gorse.
We joined them and Cyril coppiced and tidied mostly Hazel, while we removed and stacked several piles to be left as habitat piles for the rest of the morning. We stopped around around 1pm when a brief shower started and the fuel for the chainsaws had been used.
On the way back there was still no water appearing at the pool confirming unfortunately what Tony had previously found last year. I turned the water off after we put everything back in the store and found we had only used about 1 unit of water in 21 hours. I wonder if the heavy vehicles used last year could have further damaged the pipe. 

Workday report for Sunday 25 March 2018

Present: Cliff, Toby, Jared, Karen, Neale, Jim, Cyril, Ted

Neale and Jim replaced two path name boards which had fallen, then checked and remounted several others. The rest of the group returned to the junction of West Gorse and Farleigh border and began burning what we hope is the last of the Holly which we had cut weeks ago. Cyril re-coppiced several Hazels which were showing signs of decay. Some of the material was added to the fire but the larger pieces were used to make a number of habitat piles. Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Wren and Ring-necked Parakeet serenaded us as we worked.

The Workday scheduled for Sunday March 4th was cancelled due to bad weather.

Workday report for Sunday 25 Feb 2018 - photos below from Linda Morris and Neale Fox

Linda, Karen, Neale, Lewis, Jim, Cyril, Ted.

On a day when it was warmer than expected we managed to burn much of the cut Holly which remained.  Some of the long Holly trunks were cut and stacked as a habitat pile. As we crossed David's Crook on the way back to the car park we saw two Buzzards flying over Greenhill Way. (The fungus seen on the workday and shown in the photo below is probably a variant of Split Porecrust -Schizopora paradoxa.)

Workday report for Sunday 4 February 2018 - photo below from Neale Fox

The group consisted of Toby, Cliff, Karen, Neale and Ted and we returned to Farleigh Border to continue the task of clearing away the cut Holly. We had trouble persuading the fire to start and when Toby and Cliff left at 12 noon we had pile of material which we thought would have to be left until next time. By 12.18pm the fire had come to life and by 12.48pm all the material was on the fire. By pulling out material from the edge and returning it to the centre it was soon reduced to ashes and we were able to leave.

Workday report for Sunday 28 January 2018  - photos below from Linda Morris 

With holes to be dug and fallen trees to be removed we split our team into two.  

Linda, Jim and Cyril went to the Langford's Way/Leafy Grove junction and cleared as much as they could of the three fallen trees.

Karen, Neale, David and Ted went to David's Crook and dug two holes ready for the seat to be placed where the old shelter used to be. When the holes were dug and protected by branches we continued to meet the others returning along Leafy Grove.

The whole team then entered East Gorse and spent the remaining time removing the fallen Birch which was hanging over the path.

As several of our usual participants were missing this week we had decided to concentrate on the holes and trees and to leave consideration of the Holly to another day.

Workday report for Sunday 7 January 2018  - photos below from Neale Fox

Workers: Lewis Goode. Jared Cruikshank, Toby & Cliff Dalton, Richard Lock, Karen & Neale Fox, Jim Dunning, Cyril Watmore, Linda Morris, Michael Byrne, Ted Forsyth.

For the first workday of 2018 the above list of participants gathered in the Farleigh Border path to continue burning the Holly brash left from before Christmas. The first three names on the list are at different stages of working towards Duke of Edinburgh awards.

While some of the party went to examine the large fallen Oak and to try to count the rings, I went with Jim to Middle Gorse to look for the reported hanging branch but found that someone had dealt with it. We continued into East Gorse and cut down the fallen Hazel branch and removed a dead branch before returning to the fire group. Without being able to count all the rings on the Oak a count of 43 rings across about a third of a radius seemed to confirm Heather’s estimate of around 120 years of age for the tree.

We dragged Holly to the old fire site and got on with the process of burning. While I was dragging material from West Gorse I heard an enormous crash when a large Birch snapped off halfway up and fell to the ground nearby, luckily within the woodland.  At one point a bird of prey flew over, probably a Sparrowhawk.


Workday report for Sunday 3 December 2017  - photos below from Linda Morris and Neale Fox

Karen, Neale, Linda, Jim, Cyril, Ted and Lewis began in Farleigh Border by clearing a space for a fire, and collecting dead hanging branches from the woodland. Once the fire was started we began adding the cut Holly material from the nearby pile.  Meanwhile Cyril fired up his chainsaw and cut down the Holly stumps which had been left last time. Cliff and Toby arrived to join in the activity. Neale and Ted agreed a possible site for the Tawny Owl nest box and later Neale and Jim put it into position. They also added woodchips to the Tawny box and the Little Owl box. Most of the Holly pile was transferred to the fire but there are still other piles which will be dealt with on another occasion. 

Workday report for Sunday 26 November 2017  - photos below from Ted Forsyth, Linda Morris and Neale Fox

Karen, Neale, Linda, Ted, Richard, Lewis, Cliff, Toby and Jared continued removing Holly trees in Farleigh Border.  We hope to have a fire on another occasion to burn the enormous amount of material we have cut. 

While walking up from the car park Neale picked up a small branch on which there was a small clump of Yellow Brain fungus.

Workday activity Sunday 5 November 2017 - photos below from Neale Fox and Linda Morris

Karen, Linda, Cliff, Toby and Richard continued removing Holly and Bramble at the junction between West Gorse and Farleigh Border, while I took Jim and Neale towards the far end of Farleigh Border where we hoped to erect a nest box for a Little Owl. With some judicious pruning it was found that the box could rest on a branch between two trunks and, with some additional support, it was firmly held in position. With that task done we joined the Holly group for more removal of Holly bushes. Neale also took the opportunity to make a repair to a Tit box which had been attacked by a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

On a Hazel trunk a large piece of Leafy Brain fungus was found along with a good collection of old unknown bracket fungi.

Workday activity Sunday 29 October2017

Jim and Neale used an angle grinder to remove the redundant supports for an old sign in David’s Crook then replaced the fallen plaque commemorating the planting of Oaks in that area.

Karen and Ted were joined by Toby and his dad Cliff. Toby is working towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award. We took our trolley of tools to West Gorse where we cut up part of an Ash tree which had fallen across the path. We then concentrated on removing some of the many Holly trees in West Gorse and were soon joined by Neale and Jim. Jim also removed some branches of a large Holly which were obscuring the Farleigh Border sign.

At least five Yellow Fieldcap mushrooms were seen in David’s Crook and in West Gorse an old fallen branch was covered in Split Porecrust.

Workday activity Sunday 24 Sept 2017 - photos below from Ted Forsyth

Neale, Karen, Ted, Jim, Les, Lewis and Richard gathered to tackle the over-growth of Sycamore, Ash, Bramble, bracken and nettles in Middle Gorse. On the way there we were able to see Green Elfcup fungi and Dead Moll’s Fingers which had been found on Saturday. During our work Lewis managed to find several specimens of a new species – Ivory Coral -  growing under a dense cover of vegetation and elsewhere we added Sulphur Tuft and Candlesnuff fungi. While we were working in pleasant sunny conditions there were surprising numbers of Comma butterflies settling on the vegetation. A Brimstone and a Speckled Wood were also seen. After several hours of successful work three of the group left then Jim and Neale went off to clear a fallen tree in Baker Boy Lane while Karen and Ted cleared Ash, Sycamore and wild Clematis along the edge of the Middle Gorse path. On Neale and Jim’s return we packed up and returned to the car park. 

Workday activity Sunday 3 Sept 2017  - photos below from Ted Forsyth

Karen, Neale and Ted were the only volunteers to arrive for the workday. Neale decided to pre-drill the backing plates for the name boards we had to re-fix, then we set out for Vincent Avenue to install the first board. Having walked through Gt Field we stopped at the entrance to Langford’s Way where we removed an overhanging branch. We made a brief diversion into Leafy Grove to see the Orange Peel fungus before returning to Courtwood Grove where we had one board to erect at the Junction with Addington Border and another near Avis Grove. Our return route took us to Beech Grove where time was spent clearing some of two very large Oak branches which were partially blocking the track. In Noakes’ Way a low overhanging branch was removed. In Linden Glade we examined the cracks in the base of the pond and just before leaving Pool Grove to enter David’s Crook we removed our last overhanging branches. Unfortunately, back at the car park we realised that our most powerful loppers had been lost at some stage and a search revealed nothing.

A Stock Dove was singing in Leafy Grove and in Courtwood Grove a Tawny Owl called. At the top of Noakes’ Way a group of more than a dozen Amethyst Deceiver fungi were found and also a damaged Suede Bolete and Yellow Stagshorn.

Workday activity Sunday 6 Aug 2017 - photos below from Neale Fox

A select group of Karen and Neale Fox, Jim Dunning, Lewis Goode and Ted Forsyth (later joined by Linda Morris) decided that putting up some of the missing path name boards was to be the main activity. We began by walking up to Linden Glade where we stopped to put up a West Gorse board. Continuing along West Gorse, where we noticed the Yellow Stagshorn was returning to the conifer stump, we paused at the junction of The Wend and Leafy Grove to put up another West Gorse board and further on a Leafy Grove Board. All round the tree on which the West Gorse board was placed there were many fungi and this was repeated all along Leafy Grove on both sides of the track, including Small Stagshorn, various Boletes, Russulas, Peziza cups, Puffballs, etc. Presumably the winter removal of many trackside trees had allowed the soil to warm up and the mass eruption of fungi was the result. Another Leafy Grove board and a Bluebell Grove one were erected at the junction of the two tracks. Walking along Bluebell Grove brought us to another tree on which was placed a Bluebell Grove board. In this area we also cut down a holly and a Sycamore. Walking up Smith Grove brought us to Linden Glade where Crested Coral fungi are returning. At the junction with Farleigh Border an appropriate board was erected on a holly after some judicious pruning. Linda and Karen started cutting a hazel which was hanging low over West Gorse and were eventually joined by the others. That track is now much lighter. Farleigh Border brought us to Broom Path where more overhanging hazels were cut. At the junction with Greenhill Way a similarly named board was erected. We still have some boards to erecet at the Courtwood Grove end of the wood.

Workday Activity Sunday 2 July 2017

David and Gemma worked along Vale Border cutting overhanging branches and removing vegetation around seats and benches then moved up the north side of Field 3 doing the same. They then followed various paths through the wood, trimming long strands of bramble, before returning to the car park. They saw a Silver-washed Fritillary in Leafy Grove near Noakes Way where the butterfly seems to like the new open aspect. Another SWFritillary was seen in Greenhill Way, and two Speckled Wood butterflies.

Jim, Les and Ted went to the tree belt between Fields 2 and 3 and dug up a small Laurel bush. Laurel is poisonous and useless for wildlife other than sheltering pheasants. Taking the bush with us with went through Smith Grove, trimming bramble as we went, to Linden Glade where a Silver-washed Fritillary put in an appearance. In Middle Gorse we again trimmed bramble and dug up a second Laurel. Both bushes were placed on top of an existing dead hedge so that they should not regrow.  We then followed East Gorse, repeating the bramble trimming, Returning through Leafy Grove and The Wend to get back to the car park.

I had to walk back through the wood to get home and saw one SWFritillary just as I entered David’s Crook, two Speckled Woods in Pool Grove, and another SWFritillary in Linden Glade.  It is difficult to estimate how many different butterflies were involved.

Gemma Lindridge - who joined the workday on 2nd July was working as part of her project for Apprentice Challenge 2017. She prepared this presentation of her work.

Workday activity Sun 4 June 2017  - photos above from Neale Fox

The work group was composed of Karen and Neale Fox, Jim Dunning, Lewis Goode and Ted Forsyth.  We began in David's Crook where we removed the unsightly old metal board and cleared vegetation so that the information placard on an Oak tree was visible. In removing the vegetation we uncovered a log covered in Turkeytail fungus and very small mushrooms - possibly Stump Puffballs. Vegetation around a nearby seat was cleared. In Linden Glade more vegetation was removed near the seat sited within the bracken, and some time was spent examining the pond surrounds with a view to doing repairs later. Smith Grove brought us to Great Field where we cleared more vegetation, then we discovered a bench completely buried by a Blackthorn bush. We reluctantly removed the bush, which was already bearing Sloes, so that the bench is now usable. Another two seats in the area were cleared. We also found several flowering Common Spotted orchids near the edge of the path. In the gap between Great Field and Field 3 we did more work on a fallen tree to remove large branches which were projecting into the path. We then returned to the car park. 

Workday activity Sunday 7 May 2017 - photos below from Linda Morris and Neale Fox

As we had several tasks to accomplish we divided into two groups. Neale, Jim and David concentrated on walking around the wood to replace path name boards which had fallen or disappeared. They put up the first 8 boards using a new method, and did a repair job on one. Boards erected were: Broom Path, Farleigh Border, 2 x East Gorse, 2 x The Wend ), Beech Grove & Stevens Walk.(See Projects page for further details.)

Karen, Linda, Lewis and Ted began by looking for small Laurel bushes. Two were dug up in Pool Grove and hung up in bushes to prevent regrowth. After wandering along Farleigh Border path, where we bumped into the other crew, we stopped in the cut through from Greenhill Way to the finger post.  A Laurel bush here was growing under a fallen Ash trunk and had to be cut rather than dug out. Once we were satisfied with our work we moved to the bottom of Field 2 where we dug a new hole and re-erected the fallen guide post. In the meantime David had been looking for one of his walking poles which had apparently fallen from the trolley.  After retracing his route without success he carried on to the car park to wait for the others.  He was very pleased to see that someone had picked up the pole and left it by the lost property box!

Workday activity Sunday 2 April 2017

photo from Neale Fox

We loaded tools into the trolley and began by visiting Linden Glade where we investigated the water situation. Karen had previously planted some more native plants around the edge of the pond. After chatting to various visitors we divided into two groups – Karen and Ted went to Middle Gorse (where we have been told the new Gorse sprigs are already pushing through the soil) and trimmed back some of the Bramble and Sycamore along the edge of the path, we also had a pair of calling Buzzards overhead – Neale, Jim and Lewis took the trolley to Langford’s Way to see whether they could deal with the large broken branch which was balancing in the centre of the path. Once Karen and Ted had cleared 40 or 50 metres of path they joined the other group who had cut large parts of the branch but were struggling with the remainder which was hung up in another tree.  After a major effort the branch was brought down.

Lewis up the tree cutting the hung up branch

Workday activity Sunday 26 March 2017

photo from Neale Fox

As only Karen, Neale and Ted turned up we decided to investigate Linden Glade. With some vigorous “wiggling” of the remaining old fence post we were able to snap it off below ground level. Bramble stems in the Periwinkle bed were removed and during this operation Karen found a frog. After it was placed near the water’s edge by the pond and persuaded to swim it buried itself in the leaves at the bottom. Neale had removed several rocks which had been thrown in. A Brimstone butterfly flew around, a large clump of Wood Anemones was at the base of the seat within the bracken and brambles, and we heard many singing birds – Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Robin, Coal Tit and the drumming of a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  We chatted to several walkers and inevitably a few dogs dashed into the pond (where we had managed to find the small bits of Hornwort placed there by Linda). On our way back, via Smith Grove, we found a Peacock butterfly by Centenary Plantation and another Brimstone at the car park.

Workday activity Sunday 5 March 2017 - photos below from Neale Fox

On a day when the weather forecast seemed to change every minute I arrived in the car park expecting to have to cancel the workday. By the time others began to arrive the sun was shining and there was a blue sky. Karen and Neale Fox and two more of the Fox tribe, Geoff and Angus, plus Ted gathered to decide what to do. In view of promised rain by lunch at the latest we decided to abandon our work in The Gorses and instead to concentrate on dealing with trees which were blocking paths. We trudged up Greenhill Way to reach our first task, the large fallen Oak which had come down in an awkward place. We made a thorough job of clearing the path, with Neale taking down some of the larger branches with his long pruning saw (see photos below).  We found four species of fungus in this area, a probable Crepidotus species, Turkeytail, possible Peniophora splodge on a broken branch, and the Ganoderma which comes back every year on a nearby stump. The next target took us along Broom Path where another fungus was found, either Rusty Porecrust or Cinnamon Porecrust. While walking along Farleigh Border path we decided to clear another fallen tree by the side of the path though it was not causing too much of a problem.  In East Gorse there was a fallen Birch, easy enough to step over, but we decided to remove it. Neale cut through the trunk where it was resting on other branches, intending to make other cuts but Angus and Geoff grabbed each end of the long trunk and dragged it into the woodland. On our way back towards the car park we looked at a Witches Butter fungus near Linden Glade then continued across David's Crook. Neale checked his emails and reminded us that Millie Dinnock's memorial seat had been dragged away from its normal position so we dragged it back again to sit by the clump of Daffodils. A branch of Elder was covered in Jelly Ear fungi as we reentered the car park field.  It had taken us less than two hours to complete the work and the sky was still blue with no immediate sign of rain. When Geoff and Angus were walking back they found another tree across Vale border path. Geoff had a small folding saw and they cut and moved that as well.

Workday activity Sun 26 Feb 2017

Alan & Janet Bushnell, Karen & Neale Fox, Linda Morris, Richard Lock, Ted Forsyth and Lewis Goode (Duke of Edinburgh Award)

After overnight rain we expected difficulty in starting a fire but within minutes we had a good blaze going. Previously cut gorse and bramble provided a continuous stream of material and more was being cut by the team. Some of the scattered twigs were raked up and added. As usual before leaving we controlled the remains of the fire.

Workday activity Sun 5 Feb 2017

When we arrived in the car park water was heard running in the Ladies toilet. With difficulty the door was opened and the water turned off but re-closing the door was another problem. In the end the wood strip on the edge of the door had to be removed.

Alan and Janet Bushnell, Karen and Neale Fox, Jim Dunning and Ted got to The Gorses where a fire was started in the soggy conditions. Linda arrived to join us and gorse, bramble and saplings were soon burning. Before leaving we controlled the fire and taped off the ashes. Large flints were taken to Linden Glade/West Gorse to add to the deep ruts left by the contractors’ vehicles.

Photo right from Neale Fox shows Ted loading Gorse onto the bonfire.


Workday activity Sunday 4 December 2016 - photos below and right from Linda Morris 

Linda, Karen, Neale, Jim and Ted continued clearing in The Gorses. TCV had been in on Wed and Thurs and their taped off fire site still had enough heat for us to start a fire easily.  The problem was to keep the fire going as most of the material still had too much sap and was refusing to burn.  With patience we got to the stage where we could add thicker Gorse and Birch. Linda and Karen controlled the fire until Karen and Neale had to leave. Jim, Ted and Linda remained until we decided to stop cutting and to control the behaviour of the fire. When we were satisfied we restored TCV's hazard tape around the ashes. In clearing one area we uncovered an old Larch stump which had four bracket fungi. They were tentatively identified as one of the Ganoderma species.

We have not been the only ones working in the Gorses this winter. On the last days of November and the first of of December TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) working under the supervision of Peter Underwood (Senior Project Officer - Croydon & Surrey) put in a couple of days work and made a big impact on the job of clearing the gorse. This involved cutting an avenue through from Middle to East Gorse to make it easier to reach The Wend when the Council work teams had several areas cordoned off. See photos below from Peter Underwood.

Workday activity Sunday 27 Nov 2016 - photos above from Linda Morris 

Linda, Janet. Alan, Jim and Ted opened up The Gorses a little more by removing gorse, bramble and lots of sycamores.  Two Fly Agarics were found sheltering at the base of the pile where we were stacking the cut material.

Workday activity Sunday 6 Nov 2016 - photo right from Linda Morris shows Janet Bushnell in the avenue she had cut into the gorses being admired by Neale.

Neale, Linda, Ted, Janet and Alan cut more of the bramble, bracken, sycamore and gorse in Middle Gorse to create open channels and eventually open glades within the gorse. Several more Clustered Brackets (Inonotus cuticularis) were uncovered on buried tree stumps, several Fly Agarics were found amongst the Larch trees when disposing of cut material, possible Buttercaps appeared under the gorse bushes, a tree stump now in the open is covered in Sulphur Tuft, and the tree stump which used to sport the Yellow Stagshorn now has something like Root Rot growing under its bark. (Photos of these fungi are shown on the Sightings page.)

On our way back to the car park we emptied several sacks of gravel in Linden Glade, and several more at the other end of Pool Grove.

Workday Activity Sunday 30th October - photos above from Linda Morris

Neale, Karen, Ted, Linda and Jim took a trolley of tools and paused in Linden Glade to allow Neale, Karen and Jim to remove rocks from the pond while I discovered Coral fungi growing on the path. On the way to Middle Gorse I walked into an overhanging branch which Neale then removed. In Middle Gorse we continued with the work of removing bramble, bracken, sycamores and ash and eventually managing to remove some gorse. It is a very dense area now so it will be some time before we can see any channels or glades amongst the gorse bushes. While removing the cut material to stack in the woodland I found a White Knight mushroom, a Deer Shield and a young Parasol. Several unidentified fungi were uncovered during the clearing operation but one bracket fungus (later identified by Tony) was a Clustered Bracket - Inonotus cuticularis.  Weather permitting we will be back again next Sunday for more of the same. 

Workday Activity Sunday 2nd October

Karen, Neale and Ted worked in Middle Gorse, making a start on pushing back Sycamores, bramble and bracken in preparation for tackling the gorse itself. We managed to clear quite a lot, though it not look like much, and stacked the material in the woodland. We found three Suede Boletes in Middle Gorse and several russulas in West Gorse (growing in the tracks left by contractors' vehicles).  On our way to the work site we found a Yellow Fieldcap in David's Crook.

Workday Activity Sunday 25th September 2016

Neale, Tony and Ted, assisted by Paul, his wife Kelly, his sister Nicky and his six-year old daughter Maisie, spent nearly three hours distributing bags of gravel to various drop-off points where we expected the worst of the muddy puddles to appear. In one or two cases we spread the gravel to see what happens when the rains come. Inevitably, there will not be enough gravel and we will have to see how things develop. As a trial a couple of bins of wood chippings were distributed over a couple of potential puddles. Maisie was intrigued by a selection of fungi we were able to show her – Chicken of the Woods, Beefsteak, Hen of the Woods, Blushing Bracket, Artists’ Bracket, Flat Oysterling, Yellow Stagshorn.

Extra Workday - Sunday 14th August - Sealing the Linden Glade pool - photos above show Neale applying the first coat and the result after 3 coats

Tony, Ted, Karen and Neale met at 10.00am on Saturday 14 August and took a trolley up to Linden Glade loaded with materials to seal the concrete surface of the empty pool. Earlier John Zareba had swept out the last remnants of the soil still present on the surface. By 10.30am Neale had started sloshing sealant on to the semi-porous dry surface, and for a short while was joined by Karen and Tony. The first coat was completed and left to dry until about 12.30pm when Neale began work on the second coat, making much more rapid progress as the surface was now much less porous.  Another wait for drying to take place and the third coat started at 2.00pm and was completed in around 20 minutes.

As we waited in between coats of sealant we saw one Gatekeeper and had several visits from a Red Admiral and a Silver-washed Fritillary. Two Long-tailed Tits were seen by Karen, who had placed red and white hazard tape around the area to warn passers-by that there might be a problem, particularly for dogs (though we saw relatively few during the day). A noisy Green Woodpecker was heard calling from Pool Grove and a Stock Dove sang nearby.

During a brief search for fungi I found a small tree stump behind the large Holly disporting a collection of bracket fungi.  Though they were not very new Tony took a piece home in the hope of adding an identification – it looked like a potentially interesting species.

We left around 3.00pm, hoping that there would not be too many nocturnal visitors before the sealant was completely dry.

Workday Activity Sunday 7 August 2016

Neale, Karen and Jim went to Linden Glade where they removed several overhanging branches before attempting to remove mud and water from the pond in preparation for later sealing of the concrete surface.

Ted, Simon and Richard returned to the Jubilee Plantation and set to work removing regrowth of nettles and some of the ever present thick and lengthy strands of wild clematis which seemed to be everywhere – a consequence of the many seeds deposited in the area over the years. An attempt was made to uncover the collapsed deer fence but further work will be needed to renew the supports.

A Small-leaved Lime tree whip and one of Wild Service had both reached a height of five feet – it would be nice to discover all the other missing whips, some of which may lie unrecognised under the vegetation. An existing Goat Willow had been damaged, perhaps initially by deer or squirrel, and the bark had been stripped from ground level to well over five feet.

Workday activity Sunday 3 July 2016 - photos above show Linden Glade bench before, during and after

Jim, Simon and Ted worked in the Jubilee Plantation to remove more nettles and wild clematis from the thicket of young trees.  Neale and Karen exposed the bench which was becoming buried in bracken in Linden Glade, and also cleared vegetation from some of the seats in the fields.  David trimmed a Yew at the Vincent Avenue entrance and reorganised some of the brash and other piles in Linden Glade

Workday Activity Sunday 5 June 2016

Simon Morris, Jim Dunning and newcomer Hayden Jones went off to replace the Clive Little seat back into its correct position.

Karen Fox and Linda Morris took several native plants to place around the pond in Linden Glade, including Night-flowering Catchfly, Cowslip, Comfrey and Selfheal.

Neale Fox investigated the water supply to the pond.

In Jubilee Plantation Ted Forsyth used shears to create a path through the sea of nettles and bramble and was followed by Janet Bushnell. We were soon joined by Simon, Jim and Hayden and the gap in the overgrown vegetation grew steadily.  Much of the plastic deer fence was lying flat, hidden under vegetation as many of the supporting poles had rotted at the base.  Though we managed to clear a lot of the area an initial confusion about our orientation meant that we uncovered few of the young trees. More work for the future!

Neale confirmed that a water supply is possible for the pond - watch this space!

Activity on Extra Workday Sunday 22 May 2016 - photos above show left - the team surveying their work (David, Ted, Angus, Tim, Geoff, Neale and Karen - John took the photo) - and right - the henge almost complete

Neale/Karen Fox, Geoff/Angus Bartlett, Jim Dunning, Simon Morris, Ted Forsyth, David Malins, John Zareba.

David, Jim & Geoff went off to Stevens Larch where they returned the Clive Little memorial seat from the centre of the wood to its correct position on the edge of Great Field. Neale, Karen, Simon & Ted dragged two trolleys with tools to Linden Glade.

The old fence around the pond was removed by Ted apart from a few posts which were set in concrete, though two had rotted at the base and broke off as the fence panels were removed. Simon was eager to get started and began digging near the Holly where he was joined by Neale. David’s group arrived, as did Angus and John, and digging moved over beside the old fence to prepare to place four more logs, with Simon, Geoff and Angus involved. John & Ted started three more holes to continue the “henge” behind the Holly and were soon joined by the ever-active Simon who used the post-hole digger to smash through the buried flints. Geoff & Jim helped to complete the work. At some point Neale & Jim re-mortared a few more cracks in the pond liner. While all this activity was going on Karen did some magnificent work in tidying up the vegetation around the pond.

As seems to be normal now, several Tawny Owls called from different directions and there were singing Stock Doves, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Robins.

Activity during Extra Workday Sun 15 May 2016 Photographs above from Neale Fox show the repaired cracks in the surface (repair done by Neale & Jim on Friday 13th) and work in progress on the posts & weeding

Neale & Karen, Simon, David, Ted

While Neale & Simon began working on the positions for two "gate" posts, Ted used a mattock to make shallow holes for the four short posts. David started helping Karen with gardening then moved over to make the shallow holes deeper. In little more than two hours all six of the posts were in their correct positions. David took the opportunity to move an information board from the old fence to the top of one of the gateposts. Karen disturbed a frog in the vegetation and as usual our work was accompanied by an avian chorus - Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a quacking Mallard flew over. A Tawny Owl feather was found and, just as we were packing up, a Tawny Owl called briefly from West Gorse. 

Workday Activity -  Sunday 8 May 2016

Karen & Neale, David, Ted, Linda, Jim, Tim, Mark, Sharon

Tim arrived in his van with some boards to replace those which had vanished. As he had damaged his back he was unable to stay to help but offered to take our trolley and tools and all the logs up to Linden Glade, thus relieving us of many journeys with the trolley. Neale filled several plastic containers with water and these also were carried in the van.

Karen, Linda and Sharon concentrated on removing some of the vegetation around the edge of the dry pond. Neale, Jim and Mark took turns at digging holes for two large logs to represent an entrance to the pond area. David and Ted removed much of the rotted fence and stacked it out of the way until we can burn it at a later date. By the time we left the two gate posts had been erected and a large amount of vegetation had been removed. Neale also investigated some of the cracks in the pond’s concrete liner.

When we first arrived in Linden Glade we were greeted by a singing Stock Dove. During the morning a nearby Mistle Thrush repeatedly entertained us with a powerful song which contained some unusual flourishes. Four times Tawny Owls called from different parts of the wood.

This photograph taken on 4/4/16 shows the result of a night's rain. 

By 9th April there was twice as much water - see below.

Workday activity Sunday 3 April 2016 - Photographs above from Neale Fox show the cleared pool and some of the cracks in the surface which we hope to repair.

Present: Neale, Karen, Tim & Ted.

A few of the small holly bushes along West Gorse were removed but there are still more that will have to go. To allow examination of the possibly cracked concrete liner in the old pond in Linden Glade all the surface soil was removed. This has not been a pond since the water supply was disconnected by Croydon Council many years ago. We discovered that the liner was filled with heavy mud with no animal life except worms. The Iris growing there were carefully lifted and put aside, and a start was made to remove some of the vegetation around the edge. When the surface of the concrete is cleaned we might be able to see whether we could make a repair and revive the pond. A newt was found sheltering under a rock and a calling Canada Goose flew over as we were working.

Workday Activity Sunday 20 March 2016 - report from David Malins

4 workers attended - Richard Lock, Neale, Karen & David. Neale & Karen turned post G5 round correctly. They thought it had been turned maliciously. They also cut back the Larch across Middle Gorse. Richard and David cleared the R post in David’s Crook, a few small holly along Pool Grove and some stumps in Linden Glade. After that, later with N&K, we tidied the arisings from last week into 3 habitat piles. This took a long time. I think we must make sure this is done as we go along in future. Neale, Heather & David talked about the Linden Glade blackberry clump nearest the obelisk and the fence. David will prepare a management plan.

Workday Activity Sunday 6 March 2016 - photos above from Linda Morris

David went off to put up posters on the various noticeboards then returned to join Neale, Karen, Linda, Richard and Ted who had dragged the trolley to Stevens Walk and had erected several Tit nest boxes before moving on to Linden Glade. The mud in the centre of the area is probably made worse by the shade from nearby trees so we spent most of our time trimming branches to encourage evaporation from the soil. It will not solve all the problems but might help. While we were there a Green Woodpecker laughed at our efforts, several Great Spotted Woodpeckers had a drumming battle in the surrounding trees, and calling Buzzards drew our attention to two of them soaring overhead.

Neale managed to sell 15 sacks of logs (and he did most of the hard work today).

When I got home at lunchtime I was surprised when three Stock Doves landed in the garden and began picking up food which had dropped from the feeders.  This is the first visit I am aware off in 46 years!
Workday activity Sunday 28 February 2016 - photos above from Ted Forsyth show Cyril's log pile and his work with the chainsaw

I began by squirting WD40 on the lower bolt of the office room then Cyril added some machine oil. Jim brought back the new Tawny and Little Owl nest boxes to which he had been adding perches. David, Giles, Alan and John took a selection of spades and post-hole diggers and went off to replace the two fallen guide posts. Cyril, Neale, Karen, Jim. Janet and Ted took another collection of tools to the old coppice area at the top of Greenhill Way where Cyril had spent time yesterday loading long logs into a frame ready for cutting. As Cyril's chainsaw cut the logs into smaller pieces, there was a steady stream of filled sacks of logs piling up until there was enough for Neale and Karen to take the trolley load back to the store. By the time they returned there was enough for another load. Eventually the post-hole team joined us and helped with the last few sacks. We finished with 44 sacks of well-dried wood. A customer who bought two sacks also reported seeing Buzzard.

Workday activity Sunday 7 February 2016 -  Neale, Karen, Linda, Jim, David, Giles, Ted. photos above from Linda Morris

Despite a cold start we worked in the dry sheltered conditions of Vincent Avenue to remove sycamore and clematis on both sides of the track.  Two calling buzzards kept us company from time to time, soaring over the end of the avenue and provoking the local carrion crows. The pile of clematis (shown above right) was even bigger by the time we left.

The Workday planned for Sunday 31 January 2016 was cancelled due to bad weather.


Workday activity Sunday 6 December 2015 photo from Linda Morris

Neale and Jim removed the information board from the car park and dismantled it to allow it to dry thoroughly.  Later it will be re-assembled and hopefully will remain dry in future.Linda, Karen and Ted worked in Vincent Avenue removing small Sycamore and some of the many "ropes" of Clematis dangling from the trees.

Workday activity Sunday 29 November 2015

With predicted rain and high winds expected later eight volunteers began working in dry conditions. Having had a request to trim back bushes at the car park, to allow cars to park without damage, we set to work. A large ivy-covered bush was cut back, as were several Laurels. The grass along the edge of the bushes was trimmed back and a thick coating of crushed leaf litter was scraped and brushed from the tarmac. During this period Neale gave the new owl boxes another coat of preservative. After two hours work rain began to fall and strong wind gusts were evident so we decided to stop at this point.

Workday activity Sunday 1 November 2015

During a bright sunny day eight volunteers continued creating glades in the woodland on the right of Greenhill Way, removing Sycamore and other straggly species to let in more light and to encourage more flora. While clearing away decaying branches and twigs on the ground we found a huge specimen of King Alfred's Cakes, a twig carrying several blobs of Crystal Brain, and a Larch cone sporting three very tiny Mycena ascendens fungi. In the grassland just outside the wood a bright yellow mushroom, found on Saturday, had opened up and proved to be a Yellow Fieldcap.

Attendance: David, Ted, Neale, Karen, Linda, Jim, Alan, Janet.
Workday activity Sunday 25 October 2015

Cyril's chainsaw cut well-seasoned logs and produced about 30 sacks for use in wood-burning stoves, etc. On the other side of Greenhill Way Sycamores and other thin straggly growths were removed to open up the area. Twelve volunteers took part this week.

Attendance:  Cyril, Ted, Geoff, Angus, Neale, Simon, David, Giles, Tim, Alan, Janet, John
Workday activity Sunday 4 October 2015 - pictures above from Linda Morris

Before we got started, and were standing talking, a Fox ran across the car park and out in the direction of Old Farleigh Road.

Malcolm Bridge had offered to help with the Ash regrowth in the Centenary Plantation so while he used the brushcutter I tried to remove the cut material and added it to the dead hedge.  Unfortunately, a few White Helleborines, apparently in seed, were cut down by the cutter.  While we were doing that eight others started work in the woodland at the top of Greenhill Way on the right-hand side of the path, cutting down thin Sycamores and generally opening up the woodland.  With his work done, Malcolm went home, saying he would return on another day with a shredder blade to tackle the remaining Ash and the Bramble.  I joined the woodcutters, admiring the amount of work they had achieved before taking out a few Sycamores myself.  I found an old log with some magnificent King Alfred’s Cakes and another with a small specimen of White Brain, and began a collection which might give us a start on the fungus walk next weekend.  One of Neale’s customers collected ten sacks of logs and Tim decided he would have five, so we are off to a good start this autumn.

Attendance:  Malcolm Bridge, Ted Forsyth, David Malins, Linda Morris, Karen & Neale Fox, Joseph Stone, John Bushnell, Tim Lloyd, Giles Mahon

Workday activity Sunday 27 Sept 2015

When we examined the area where we had been working last winter at the top of Greenhill Way, we found that the new badger holes were not close to our old fire site so we continued in that area.

Cyril used his chainsaw to cut logs while Neale and Karen loaded them into net sacks and delivered them to the store. Linda, Lynne, David and Ted cut back regrowth of Sycamores and occasionally removed some larger Sycamores but left any burning of brash to another day.

Workday activity Sunday 6 Sept 2015 (this was an extra unplanned day)

While David, Karen and Neale concentrated on sorting out tools and equipment at the toilet block, Ted, Stephen, Jim and Simon examined the wooden posts around the extension car park and re-erected those that had rotted at the base. Along Vale Border several bushes, which were beginning to fall across the path, were trimmed. Further trimming was done around a post on the London Loop to make it more visible but a second post, which tends to send walkers in the wrong direction, had to be left for another day.

Attendance:  David Malins, Karen & Neale Fox, Ted Forsyth, Stephen Simpson, Jim Dunning, Simon Morris

Workday Activity Sunday 2 August 2015

Eight of us divided into four groups of two. Neale and Karen concentrated on treating the wooden bear (see photos above) and clearing up the thick carpet of beech mast near the toilet block. Ted and Joseph aimed for field 2, Linda and Simon to field 3, and David and Tim began in David’s Crook. These three groups cleared vegetation around benches in the various fields before venturing into the woodland paths to remove errant bramble stems.  Heather pointed out a Chicken of the Woods fungus, which she had found recently, growing high in a tree in Bluebell Grove. (Now re-identified as a new species – Shaggy Bracket – Inonotus hispidus).

Workday Activity Sunday 5 July 2015

I drove David over early to the car park and we sat in the car watching the rain and chatting. Neale turned up to add to the chat and we were there until 10.40am. Nobody else arrived and we cancelled the workday.

Workday Activity Sunday 7 June 2015

After gathering in the car park we divided into separate groups. David & Tim went to fit a dedication plaque to one of the benches. Linda & Karen took off to deal with a couple of fallen trees and branches and also to clear vegetation from around benches in fields 1, 2 and 3. Ted, Jim, Neale and new volunteer Simon dragged a trolley, with telescopic ladder and various tools, to erect bird boxes. Tim then came to join us while David attempted to remove muddy paw prints from some of our new benches. By the time we had finished 5 new bird boxes had been erected, mainly in Greenhill Way, Pool Grove and The Wend, with another restored at The Gorses and, finally, a bat box was attached to a tree at the top of Langford’s Way. We still have another 5 bird boxes to put up at a later date. We also re-erected name boards for Stevens Walk and Leafy Grove.

Workday Activity Sunday 3 May 2015 - report and photographs below by Neale Fox

Jim, Karen and I went to Sid's (in the rain) and final siliconed the three remaining boards and fitted the plaques. We then walked and fitted the Bridle Way board and drove and fitted the other two. While Jim guarded his car which was parked on the pavement/driveway at the Courtwood Lane roundabout, Karen and I walked down and fitted the Baker Boy Lane gate plaque. Karen went home to do some gardening while Jim and I returned to the store to unload and dispose of rubbish. Because the sun had come out now we had a slow walk and fitted the last two plaques at Vincent Way and Farleigh Border.

Thanks for tea and biscuits at Sid's supplied by Janet and David. Special thanks to Jim for the use of his car throughout the whole project and Sid for the use of his garage.

Workday Activity Sunday 12 April 2015

David and I went to the Jubilee Plantation and spent a couple of hours struggling with the wild clematis. After half an hour Richard joined us. While we managed to make a difference to the plot there is still a lot more to do so come along next time and join in the fun! While we were there Richard spotted a Comma butterfly and David saw what he thinks might have been a high-flying Sparrowhawk.

Workday Activity Sunday 1 March 2015 - photos above by John Zareba

Neale & Jim put up the new board in the car park and treated the woodwork (supervised by Karen). (See History page for photos and a full account.)

Alan & Janet, Tim, Cyril, Joseph & Ted concentrated on burning more of the existing brash in our work area in the Maruja Dale Plantation. Cyril also cut more Sycamore and attempted to battle with the wild clematis some of which had three inch diameter stems. David was putting up notices on various boards.

A calling Buzzard flew over the work party in the direction of Kingswood and returned later to fly across field 2 (Vale Meadow).

Workday activity Selsdon Wood Sun 22 Feb 2015

When I arrived at the car park with David and Cyril there was a crowd of volunteers waiting – Giles, Tim, Jim, Joseph & Linda plus Faheem with his wife and two sons. Once we got to the worksite we were joined by the three Bushnells – Alan, Janet & John.  This was the largest group we have had for some time so we quickly got stuck into the work. A fire was soon alight and many of the party dragged material from the various brash piles so that Giles and I were kept busy putting it on the fire. Cyril and others cut more trees and Jim used bolt cutters to remove half-buried old fencing which had been annoying us for some time. After three hours work the group began to break up as members drifted off to other duties, so we tidied up the fire and left rather earlier than usual but having achieved a pleasing amount.

Towards the end we found a tree which was still standing but was quite rotten. It sported a large clump of the winter-fruiting Velvet Shank fungus (shown right) and the trunk was covered in Purple Jellydisc.

Workday Activity Sunday 1st February 2015

David had supplied me with a small supply of recently created cards dealing with health and safety while working on site, so I handed out copies to "experts" and newcomers alike. Apart from myself, those who received them were Linda M, Giles, Jim, and new volunteer - JS. a 14yr old doing work towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award. We began in the usual fashion by offering hard hats to those who wanted them. The hats are adjustable for most heads but do not cover the possibility of an Afro hairstyle!  Luckily, we decided to restrict our activity to clearing up the piles of previously cut material so hard hats were not really required.

I concentrated on getting a fire to produce some warmth while the other dragged branches towards the prospective fire. I moved my fire kit well away from the fire and others added some of their belongings to the same position. We gradually persuaded the fire to accept everything we threw at it and were doing quite well until Jim noticed that there was smoke arising from the pile of belongings which we had thought were in a safe place. Unluckily for J, it was on his material that a flying ember had landed (it was quite windy) and, though Jim made a valiant attempt to save J's things the fabric bag was destroyed, a plastic wallet was partly melted, and the form relating to the Duke of Edinburgh activities was partly burnt. Not a very good first introduction to working in the wood!

Eventually we decided to stop adding more material to the fire and spent some time tidying it before leaving.

Workday Activity Sunday 25th Jan 2015 - 7 workers

A fire was started and, while some of us concentrated on clearing old piles of branches, the others cut sycamores and created more piles. A chainsaw helped in cutting the thicker material and in reducing tree stumps. There is a subtle joy in getting revenge on strangling stems of clematis, rampant roses and bramble strands which will all wrap themselves around unwary volunteers.


Workday activity Sunday 7 Dec 2014

Rain had virtually stopped when our work party of six continued thinning out the Sycamores in Greenhill Way. We managed to get a fire started and made a start on the job of disposing of the piles of brash. Sycamores were cut down by chainsaw and hand tools, dead hedging continued, and a safety barrier was built around badger holes to reduce a possible trip hazard. There is still more to do in this area next time.

Workday Activity Sunday 30 Nov 2014

On a foggy Sunday morning seven of us met in the car park. Before long we were in our work area cutting down Sycamores, building a dead hedge, and doing our best to bring down the thick ropes of Wild Clematis. Several stems of decaying Elder were covered in a profusion of well-developed Jelly Ear fungi, and two tiny orange discs on a fallen branch were later identified as Common Eyelash fungi. We did not have a fire this time but will need one some time soon to reduce the number of brash piles, though we will leave a few as habitat piles for invertebrates.

Workday Activity Sunday 2 Nov 2014

With an initial drizzly start, eight of us decided to brave the weather. Neale and Jim remained at the toolstore to sand down and prepare frames for the proposed renovation of the information boards. David, Giles, Linda and Andy returned to the work area to deal with sycamores, while Cyril and I walked along Vale Border to cut down a fallen tree balanced precariously on another. When we got back to the car park we took some tools to remove the tensioning wire from an old half-buried fence. By now the rain was falling steadily so we packed up and went home.

Workday Activity Sunday 26 October 2014

Ten volunteers arrived for some exercise. Cyril and Jim went off to cut up a tree which had fallen across Broad Walk.  David, Andy and Timmy went to the junction of The Wend and Leafy Grove to replace a Green Route marker post which had rotted at the base. Giles, Lind and Ted, joined later by Janet and Allan, took tools to the work area and began the process of burning some of the piles of brash. More sycamores were cut down and as the other groups joined us the process accelerated.  Three large brash piles were cleared and some brash was used to make a dead hedge along the edge of the path. Throughout the area there were many very large wild clematis with stems over two inches in diameter, tangling with our legs at ground level and stretching to the tops of the trees. While we were working we found several more moss-covered logs sporting examples of Dead Moll's Fingers fungi. Volunteers leave when it suits them and today, when we were down to the last four, a Buzzard flew over the group.

Workday Activity Sunday 5 October 2014

In the absence of several of our usual volunteers it was a depleted team that continued work on the Sycamores in Greenhill Way but our numbers were boosted by three new recruits. Though most of us used handtools, Cyril used his chainsaw to cut down stumps or to trim branches from trees brought down by others. One or two very large wild roses, covered in wild clematis, were quite a challenge to remove and will probably form the basis of a dead hedge later. Our main purpose in clearing the Sycamores is to open up glades which will let in more light, hopefully encouraging the growth of other species like Beech. Some of the Sycamores are probably too big for us to tackle, having been left to grow for a long period. Several Norway Spruce appear to have died but will probably be left standing as a habitat for invertebrates though one has another tree caught up in it and may have to be taken down for safety reasons.

Volunteers: Cyril Watmore, Richard Lock, Ted Forsyth, Giles Mahon, Alan & Janet Bushnell, Valerie and her granddaughter Joanna.

Workday Activity Sunday 28 Sept 2014 - photos below from Mark Shoesmith

For the first workday of the autumn we had ten volunteers working on a new activity – thinning out Sycamores at the entrance to the wood on Greenhill Way. As the trees are still in leaf it was easy to identify all sizes of the target species but in case we are still working after the leaves fall David began marking some of the trees. We were soon in groups, working in separate areas, and trees were coming down right, left and centre but inevitably one or two got caught up on other trees and required more work before they also hit the ground. By the time we left after about four hours multiple large temporary habitat piles were scattered across our work area, but there is plenty to do next week.

Workday Activity Sun 3rd August 2014

Having removed five of the six information boards in the wood, Neale Fox and Jim Dunning concentrated on taking two of them apart and sanding down the wood in preparation for later work.

Karen Fox, Linda Morris and Timmy Lloyd joined Ted in the Jubilee Plantation where we cleared a large amount of Wild Clematis, Nettles and other vegetation into which some of our smaller tree whips were threatening to disappear. Karen found an interesting chrysalis hanging underneath a bramble leaf. I have now collected it in the hope that it might be free of parasites and be able to produce a moth or butterfly.

David Malins, with Alan and Janet Bushnell, worked in Middle and East Gorse to control some of the vegetation, mainly bramble, which was trying to close of the paths despite our attempts at control over the past weeks. After the other groups had broken up and left, I joined David’s group for an hour but began by cutting down a Hazel in East Gorse which had fallen low across the path. Unfortunately, when David and I started on our way back to the car park I appear to have left my binoculars behind and have not been able to trace them today, Monday.

The clump of marjoram in David’s Crook had a fine collection of butterflies with 2 Small Copper, 1 Common Blue, at least 7 Gatekeepers and 3 Meadow Browns.

FSW Work Day Sunday 6th July - report by David Malins (see photos below)

A small but very select group of 5 was dedicated enough to ignore the showers up to the time we started. From that time on the weather was dry but the foliage was wet. We split into 3 teams – Jim went round checking that the dimensions of all the Council Information boards were the same. This is in preparation for a FSW project to replace the posters and renovate the Council boards.

The rest of us set out to improve access to seats, benches & paths for visitors. Linda Ingram and Robert trimmed the foliage back from all the seats & benches around Fields 2 & 3 and from the benches and paths from a large section of woodland.

Linda Morris and David carried out the same job around Fields 1 & 5 and the woodland nearby. They were astonished to find that a bench in Linden Glade had disappeared completely behind bracken & brambles (see pictures above from Linda - click to expand). They were disappointed that 2 Information cards had disappeared – they will be replaced shortly.

We would have done the same job around Field 4 and more of the woodland if we had more volunteers.

In spite of the damp we were pleased to see marbled white & meadow brown butterflies in Fields, 3 & 5.

Workday activity Sunday 1 June 2014

On a warm sunny day we split into three groups. Neale and Karen concentrated on cleaning up the tool store after the activities of the recent charcoal weekend. David and Richard investigated David’s Crook where they cleared vegetation around seats including the old picnic table. Jim, Beth and Ted started on Vale Border to reduce problems caused by a couple of small fallen trees and branches overhanging the path. On our way to meet David again we cleared the vegetation around some seats.

David, Richard and Jim then returned to David’s Crook to remove an object blocking a hole where the old picnic table used to be. Beth and Ted walked around benches and seats in Great Field to clear vegetation. Beth and Richard then had to leave so the remaining three continued the vegetation clearance around the seats and benches in Field 2.

Back at the tool store, which was now in a much more tidy state, Neale and Karen were still at work and were joined by Jim. David and Ted went home, leaving them to finish what they were doing.

Workday Activity Sunday 4 May 2014

David grabbed two muscular bodies, Tim Lloyd and Jim Dunning, and escorted them to Broad Walk to replace a route marker post which had been uprooted. I was joined by Linda Ingram and Richard Lock in the Jubilee Plantation where we were surprised at how much regrowth had taken place since we cleared the area at the end of March. With shears, loppers and gloved hands we began ripping up Goose Grass, Nettles and Wild Clematis, and within a remarkably short time David’s group were with us and joining in the fun. We tried to free any young tree whips from the covering vegetation and removed material between the rows of the more established young trees, many of which seem to be growing well. Our efforts had some effect on the appearance of the plantation (see the photo) but regrowth will continue and we may have to do the job again.

Workday Activity Sunday 30 March 2014

I had been contacted by Faheem Mirza who had offered to bring a group of volunteers from Muslims for Humanity
to help our usual team (see Shortly after 10.00am Ted, David, Timmy, Neale, Karen & Linda were joined by Faheem, Acker, Raneel, Waseem, Ahmed, Asim and Jahanzeb. Once the day's task had been explained the combined teams got to work clearing wild clematis and other unwanted vegetation from between the rows of the growing tree whips. One blackthorn, which had reached a height of about five feet, was even in flower. The work went so quickly and efficiently that most of the clearing had been completed by 1.30pm. We had achieved an impressive amount of work and the Jubilee Plantation now lives up to its name. During the day we were serenaded by the local chiffchaff and song thrush and had frequent visits  by male brimstone butterflies. A comma butterfly also made an appearance.

Extra workday in Selsdon Wood Monday 10th March

During scrub clearing on Hutchinson's Bank on Sunday 10 March I noticed that the cut tree stumps were oozing sap. I decided that it would be unwise to leave any tree removal in Selsdon Wood to the last workday at the end of March so I persuaded Cyril Watmore and David Malins to join me in the wood on Monday. David in turn contacted John Zareba who joined us later. We began in Bluebell Grove where I had earlier made a partially successful attempt to clear a fallen tree. With Cyril wielding his chainsaw he removed more of the fallen trunk in a few seconds than I had managed in a couple of hours! We then carried on to the coppice area where we got a fire started then Cyril cut down many thin spindly trees, many of which had severe squirrel damage. As usual we burned the brash and retained wood for later charcoal making, etc. A few others may have to be removed later to allow access for the charcoal kiln. At some stage we hope to replant with young tree whips and to protect them from deer by putting up a deer fence.

Workday Activity Sunday 2 March 2014

David and the three Bushnells - Alan, Janet & John - took mattocks and spades and made an attempt to drain some of the standing water particularly in Avis Grove and at the top of Langford's Way. With Cyril's help they also dealt with an awkward tree causing an obstruction.

Before getting involved with David's group Cyril had done magnificent work in cutting down lots of trees which were mostly showing squirrel damage. The remaining six of us coppiced trees and transported the results of Cyril's work to the fire or the log pile. We also found time to make a couple of invertebrate habitat piles formed from old decayed logs which we hope will encourage stag beetles among other things. When tidying up tree stumps we were left with short thick bits of timber, some of which went on to the fire but others were put into another pile. Given time this should result in another habitat pile of decayed wood. As stag beetle larvae take several years to reach maturity it may be some time before we get any evidence of their presence.

Workday Activity Sunday 23 February 2014

David and Alan used mattocks to cut drainage channels where a standing pool forms every winter in the track leading from Stevens Walk to David's Crook. Six more volunteers began in the coppice area with Cyril cutting down hazels while I got a fire going. Once we were satisfied, Cyril and I went to Beech Grove to clear the remains of a large oak branch causing a blockage, before returning to help in the coppice area. David had found a large well-decayed log which Alan and I half buried to act as a possible home for stag beetle larvae. The two Lindas, Morris and Ingrams, had worked with Clare Kemsley and Jim Dunning to clear and burn much of the material left by Cyril's initial assault on the hazels. We also built up our material for possible charcoal making, etc.

Workday Activity Sunday 2 February 2014

Seven volunteers went directly to the coppice area while Cyril and I walked up Greehill Way to examine a large fallen Ash tree which was blocking the track leading to the finger post pointing to Bluebell Grove. Cyril enjoyed himself cutting much of the tree to pieces with his chainsaw. We left the track clear except for the main trunk of the tree which had been left where it fell by the side of the track. We also cleared several much smaller trees in Leafy Grove and Noakes Way.
At the coppice area there had been trouble in getting the fire started so we spent some time coaxing it into flame then piled on the brash which had been accumulating. Hazels were re-coppiced, with the larger material being retained and brash finding its way on to the fire. An older brash pile was demolished but we will retain some piles as habitat for invertebrates.

Photo shows Linda modelling a FSW hi-viz jacket and one of our latest hard-hats.


Workday Activity Sun 29 Dec 2013

David led a group of five, walking in from the far end of the wood to deal with fallen trees in the areas of Avis Grove and Broad Walk while I joined another group of six at the car park. We began by clearing two birches which were blocking Greenhill Way then moved on to Farleigh Border where we decided the trees there had to be cleared by the professionals.

To get to the coppice area we took a route through East Gorse and found two more birches had come down at the junction with Leafy Grove. On one of the birches was one of the first bird boxes we put up several years ago - it had been occupied by Blue Tits on several occasions. We rescued the box and will find a new home for it. We had to leave trees in Stevens Walk and Jubilee Plantation for the Tree Officer to sort out. In Great Field we found David's group dealing with an ivy-covered tree which had fallen out of Stevens Larch - we helped to reduce its size. We were then able to get back to coppicing which we did for a couple of hours or so. While clearing up small branches one was found to be covered in a black jelly which was later identified as Exidia plana - related to Witches Butter (Exidia glandulosa) but much less common (see the Fungi Page of this website for a photograph).

Workday Activity Sunday 1 December 2013

Eager to get started, Cyril forged ahead, dragging the trolley of tools and haversacks. We left Karen and Neale behind to cut up and bag the logs we had collected last week. At the coppice area six of us spread out to continue coppicing the hazels. Loppers and bowsaws were wielded by the three ladies – Linda Morris, Linda Ingram and new volunteer, Clare Kemsley – and Richard Lock, while I concentrated initially on dealing with the fire and Cyril moved from clearing tree stumps with the chainsaw to helping with coppicing and removing thin and damaged trees. John Zareba arrived to get his share of exercise and contributed to the coppicing and dragging of brash to the fire. I can hardly wait for spring to see the effect our clearance has on bluebells and other vegetation in the area.

Workday Activity Sunday 24 Nov 2013

With Gordon's help, Neale and Karen tr
ansported seasoned logs to the toolstore where Neale and Karen cut them up and  filled several bags. Cyril used his chainsaw to deal with several tree stumps then he helped to coppice Hazels and took down a few dead trees. He also cut up a tree which had fallen on the plastic deer fence, bringing down one panel which we later restored temporarily. Linda M and Linda I worked on coppicing and also added to the dead hedge along the edge of Stevens Walk. John, Andy and Ted coppiced hazels or transported material to the fire and stacked material for charcoal.
Within the deer fence, we were puzzled by several small Ash trees which had discoloured and distorted leaves indicative of a disease but not showing symptoms that looked like Ash dieback.

Workday Activity Sunday 3 Nov 2013 - see photos above by Linda Morris

On a lovely Sunday morning eleven of us gathered in the car park to collect tools, while David walked in from the other side of the wood to meet the Wildlife Officer from the East Surrey Badger Society to decide what action to take about a possible badger hole which was in the path along the Vale Border.

At our coppice site Cyril immediately got to work with the chainsaw and removed dozens of tree stumps which we had left about three or four feet high. Others spread out over the site and began coppicing the old hazels and removing thin straggly trees of various species. The fire was soon dealing with the brash and our material for charcoal was building up nicely. At one point we discovered that a ten foot length of plastic deer fence had been removed and as a result deer had got into the area and had eaten the young growth on the smaller hazels and other trees. We managed to find some netting and made a repair to the fence but the damage to the young trees will probably result in distorted growth in the future.

When David joined the group the badger hole in the Vale Border path had been covered by a slab and David had taken the opportunity to cut up several small trees or branches which had fallen recently. For a larger and potentially dangerous tree he  persuaded Cyril to use his chainsaw to make it safe. Incidentally, both David and I have cleared several paths where last weekend’s storm had ripped off large branches and deposited them on paths.

The work of the team has already produced a light open area in the wood and will probably result in a good show of bluebells next spring.

Workday Activity Sun 27 Oct 2013 - report by David Malins

The weather was kind to us and a small but very talented group of 5 were present on the work day. Last time they had cut a large amount of timber so we cut it up & burnt it. Neither Cyril or Ted was able to come. The group included new worker, Linda Ingram, who participated for the first time on the last workday.
Workday Activity Sunday 6 October 2013

So much for my hope of getting a work party of 20 this week!  Many of the usual volunteers were unable to be there, so when we set off for the coppice area we were a group of five, including a new member, Linda Ingram, who now adds a third Linda to our merry band. In view of our numbers we decided not to have a fire buy concentrated instead on coppicing Hazels and removing spindly trees to create a route through which later cut material could be dragged to the fire site. There is now a forest of stumps which have been left about three feet high to avoid having too many low trip hazards while we are working. There is also an enormous pile of brash awaiting disposal next time. While preparing to cut down trees we found at least six black Millipedes at rest on the trunks, and one bunch of Oak leaves was covered in two types of gall – Common Spangle gall and Silk-button gall. One large Fly Agaric fungus was found in our work area. Steve decided he would like to see the Yellow Stagshorn we mentioned last week (in West Gorse). In the nearby trees he found two more clumps, one of which was inside a hollow stump, and we also saw Common and Stump Puffballs and several species of unidentified mushrooms.

Photo shows Steve and the two Lindas at work

Workday Activity Sun 29 Sept 2013

I was pleasantly surprised when the volunteer numbers built up to 13 for the first workday of the autumn. Unfortunately David could not remain long as he had previously damaged his shoulder at home. While the trolley of tools was being dragged to the coppice area I took a few people to see the Yellow Stagshorn fungus which had returned to the same tree stump in West Gorse where it has appeared in previous years.
At the coppice area we had to select a new fire site - a well-lit glade seemed suitable so we set about widening it with the help of Cyril's chainsaw. Once the fire was lit we were kept busy throwing on the material Cyril had cut, but retaining anything which could be used later for tree stakes, charcoal, etc.  More material was cut and burned, then a third cut was left for us to deal with next time. While most of us were involved in that activity a smaller group were cutting with hand tools and using the material to strengthen a dead hedge.
As predicted, we did find several fungi including a small Fly Agaric and something which was either Toothed Crust or Split Porecrust, and a number of other species.

Workday Activity Sunday 4th August 2013

The bench which sat at the top of Greenhill Way in the car park field, just before the entrance to the wood, was removed by five volunteers and transferred to a new position in Field 3 (Great Hill). In the old position new holes were dug in preparation for a new seat donated by the Friends. (The seat was installed by Ted, Cyril, David and John on 7th August with the ehlp of two guys from Norbury Sawmills - the manufacturer).

Another five volunteers worked in the Jubilee Plantation to cut down or remove nettles, wild clematis and anything else which was burying the many tree whips, some of which are still very small though the more vigorous ones have reached heights of four feet or more. Where the original small whips were marked by a larger stake we cleared around some of the stakes to let more light and moisture to reach the whips. While we were happy with what we achieved there is still a lot more work to be done.

When I left the wood I continued on to Hutchinson’s Bank where I found a Dark Green Fritillary and two Clouded Yellow butterflies. Having sent an email to warn Martin Wills, I received a reply in which he said he had seen four Clouded Yellows.  It looks as though there has been an influx so keep your eyes open!

Workday activity Sunday 2nd June 2013

The team was composed of Ted, David and new member Barry Holiday. Over a period of about four hours we cleared vegetation around most of the seats and benches in all five fields, possibly leaving a few untouched along Vale Border in the car park field. There are still others in Linden Glade and at the Gorse Plantation which will possibly need attention. We did not have time to look at the Jubilee Plantation. At the top left of the car park field we found a Scorched Carpet moth and in field 3, down the southern hedge, we found a White Helleborine with huge white buds. As we left a seat we had been working on in field 3 a couple said, "You were concentrating so much you missed the deer which ran across!". As we were walking past the opening into Broad Walk we noticed a Roe Deer walking across the path followed a few seconds later by another. 

Workday Activity Sunday 5th May 2013
- Attendance 8 workers

The two Lindas joined me in the Jubilee Plantation where we endeavoured to remove some of the wild clematis and nettles. John came along to reinforce the group and we cleared around several of the tree whips. We also burned some of the strawy dead nettle stems collected on the last workday.  When the Lindas went home for lunch John and I went to the coppice area where four others were cutting and stacking material for making charcoal later in the month. This activity continued for some time and the site now looks tidier.

Sunday 14th April 2013
- Attendance 7 workers

On a very warm day seven of us got to work in the Jubilee Plantation to try to clear some of the excess vegetation. Removing the dead stands of nettles from last year was relatively easy as no tools were required - the stems snapped easily and we soon built up piles of the material. The wild clematis was a different story. With tools ranging from secateurs and loppers to shears and hoes, we made slow but steady progress in the attack on the clematis, but largely concentrated on cutting the material to the ground rather than attempting to dig it out. It will regrow but if we tackle it again during the growing season we may succeed in frightening it a little! More work needs to be done so some of us will try to fit in a few more workdays. The Friends 250 whips are about two years old while the 60 put in by the Brownies are one year old. Many seem to be surviving but it is probably inevitable that a few will be lost. Throughout the day we were entertained by frequent visits from male Brimstone butterflies and a single Comma.

Sunday 7th April 2013
- Attendance 10 workers

N & K began by supplying logs to a couple of customers then persuaded them to join us in clearing the brash. New volunteer, G, who has worked on Hutchinson's Bank,came along and last week's volunteer, R, was already at work when we reached the coppice area. D, LL, JZ and I completed a work party of ten. We cut up some of the nearby brash and quickly got a fire going. Brash was soon finding its way on to the fire so I went inside the deer fence and threw out most of the brash left there by the contractors. By the time that lot was on the fire all the other brash piles outside the deer fence had also been cleared by the rest of the party. Once we had controlled the fire we left around 1.30pm, taking back with us to the toolstore a couple of Ash logs for N to cut up and bag. N had also dealt with another customer for wood.

Sunday 31st March 2013
- Attendance 5 workers

Five or six of our usual crew were not available so I thought I might be on my own. I was relieved when Cyril phoned and offered to bring his chainsaw.  Once we reached the car park we were joined by the first of the three R's - new volunteer Roger. Before we moved off the second appeared - Richard - and once we were at the coppice the third arrived - Rob. We quickly drove six stakes into the frozen ground to support a huge pile of twigs while heat was building in the fire. With piles of brash visible in every direction we each worked at our own spots, dragging material to the fire and soon throwing on large branches. By the time we stopped adding on material we had cleared over 80% of the brash so that it is now possible to move easily round the stacks of tree trunks. The remaining brash will have to be removed next week along with anything left by the contractors (assuming they remove the tree trunks).

Sunday 3 March 2013 - Attendance 6 workers

Four of us met in the car park with two remaining behind to fill sacks with logs and the other two dragging the trolley with tools to the coppice site. By the time we had a fire started the first two had joined us, and later two others appeared for a short time. Most of our work involved clearing the brash which had been left from last week but we also cleared some of the inevitable scatter of twigs and small branches which tend to litter a site like ours. While removing some of these small branches we found a number of Witches Butter fungi (Exidia glandulosa) growing on them. Later, attracted by the odd noise made by a Carrion Crow, we looked up in time to see a Sparrowhawk soaring overhead. Finally, on our way back to the car park we loaded the trolley with logs and took them back for splitting.

Sunday 24 February 2013
- Attendance 8 workers

Seven of us met in the car park where two stayed behind to fill sacks with logs and the rest of us went to the coppice area to meet an eighth member.  Hazels were cut down by chainsaw and material for charcoal, logs and fence stakes were put aside and the remaining brash was burned. The chainsaw was used to cut up ash logs left by the work of the foresters, producing several loads of material which were transported to the toolstore. As the chainsaw will not be available next Sunday it was used to cut down more hazel and sycamore, which will be left to next week, and also some holly which was partly used on a dead hedge.

Sunday 3 February 2013 (and following week) - Attendance 6 workers

In the absence of some of our usual workers who chose to be on holiday we were reduced to a group of six. We managed to burn the huge piles of brash we produced last Thurs together with more created by some cutting today. So far as we could we removed a lot of cut material which was scattered over the ground and managed to complete this work by 2.30pm.

Two of the group also wandered around the area between Courtwood Grove and Addington Border looking for Laurel. This is a foreign, invasive species which poisons the ground around it so we are aiming to eradicate it from Selsdon Wood. The following Thursday we cut down dozens of laurels with a chainsaw - some 20 feet high with multiple stems up to eight inches diameter The stumps were painted with glyphosate to kill the root and we ripped up self-layered branches and generally piled up the cut material, occasionally using a mattock to dig up small or stubborn roots. 

When I returned home 100 hazel whips had been delivered - supplied by Croydon Council. On Friday I made two trips in the snow to the coppice area where I dug a couple of holes and heeled-in the whips. They will have to stay there until we think the conditions are suitable for digging 100 holes to plant the whips properly - this will be done inside the deer fence.

The file below shows the FSW Management Plan for the coming year.
SW management plan 14 1.13.pdf SW management plan 14 1.13.pdf
Size : 102.93 Kb
Type : pdf

Sunday 30 December 2012
 - Attendance 7 workers

Two people worked in the toolstore cutting up a large quantity of logs and producing 26 sacks for sale. The remaining five people went to the coppice site where only a minimum of coppicing was carried out as we spent most of our time collecting fallen branches, cutting up material produced on a previous workday, clearing access to the next area in which coppicing will continue, and generally tidying up the area. Most of the material was burned and the fire enabled us to have a lunch of baked potatoes, plus some homemade mince pies and Christmas cake. As we had previously decided not to have a workday on Sunday 6 Jan, the next workday will be on the last Sunday of January - 27th.

Sunday 2 December 2012
 - Attendance 11 workers

Eleven of us met in the car park on a cold and frosty morning and immediately split into two groups. The first group took the tools and went to the coppice area while the second went to look at the large Horse Chestnut which had finally fallen by the kissing gate leading into Baker Boy Lane. With the help of a chainsaw the chestnut was trimmed to improve access, though the kissing gate is still partially blocked. In the coppice area work continued removing old Hazel stems and an occasional Ash, retaining wood for sale as logs or for making charcoal and burning what remained. Elsewhere an Ash was cut up for logs and taken to the toolstore to dry out.

Sunday 4 November 2012
 - Attendance 4 workers

Four stalwarts braved the rain and began by supplying five sacks of logs to someone who had contacted Neale. As he had the space in his vehicle he was persuaded to take another five sacks. With Neale's new trolley we went to our coppice area and filled the trolley with logs which had been cut on a previous workday, transported them to the toolstore and stacked them to dry. We returned for a final load, removing the last of the cut logs and adding them to the stack in the toolstore. After one and a half hours we went home.

Sunday 28 Oct 2012 - Attendance 11 workers

Two people continued bagging up logs in the toolstore while six more walked up to the coppice area where we were joined later by another three. At the beginning of the month we concentrated on clearing bramble, resulting in a large mound waiting to be burned, building a rack to store tree stakes, binders, bean poles, etc, and in the process produced another large amount of branches also waiting to be burned. This Sunday we began by getting a fire started and gradually got rid of the bramble and branches from the previous workday. Coppicing began in earnest, producing even more branches which found their way on to the fire. As usual the group began to disperse at different times and by 2.00pm we had all left the site, by which time the work area was much clearer than at the start.

During the day we kept finding fungi. Candlesnuff was very common, Clouded Funnels were in several places and old rotting timber had a selection of species including Elder Whitewash, Birch Polypore and various bracket fungi.

Sunday 7 Oct 2012 - Attendance 7 workers

Two people collected wood and transported four barrowloads to the toolstore. One person was already at work in the coppice area when six more of us arrived. We began coppicing small trees, retaining the larger bits of timber and using the smaller bits to create dead hedges. A storage area was created in which samples will eventually be placed of bean poles, pea sticks, tree stakes, deer fence stakes, hedging binders, wood for charcoal making, etc. We hope to retain as much useful material as possible but inevitably some will be burned - e.g. the large pile of bramble we collected last time.

Sunday 30 Sept 2012 - Attendance 11 workers

A team of three concentrated on cutting up wood left by the foresters in Greenhill Way and in the process created a large amount of logs which were later stored in the toolstore to dry.  They will later be available for sale.  One member had started early and was hard at work cutting up some of the branches, and then joined seven others to begin clearing brambles and other trip hazards in our coppice area in preparation for later work.  A few small hazels were cut and used to begin a dead hedge.

Sunday 1 July 2012 - Attendance 4 workers

We cleared the benches/seats in field 2 but found that an old bench that we found buried 2 years ago had died. In addition we cleared a path into the Jubilee but rain stopped us clearing anything else. We also cut back several shrubs & trees partially obstructing Vale Border. Few ringlets and meadow browns. Quite a lot of pyramidal orchids around field 2. (Report by David Malins who led this Workday.)

Sunday 1 April 2012 - Attendance 5 workers
Five stalwarts turned up to tackle the wild clematis in the Jubilee Plantation. Pulling by hand occasionally pulled out small plants by the root but usually only enabled us to remove the top growth. Better clearance was acheived using a garden fork, hand trowel or hoe. We also took the opportunity to erect longer stakes  beside many of the whips we planted last year so that we are able to see them more easily, particularly if they become covered again by clematis and goose grass. As several of the party had other tasks to do we stopped after three hours, reasonably happy with what had been done in the time.

Sunday 25 March 2012 - Attendance 11 workers
We had a group of five working in the Jubilee Plantation erecting posts to hold a deer fence, then attaching the plastic mesh to complete the fence. The hope is that it may dissuade the Roe deer from jumping into the plantation to eat the tree whips planted by the Brownies and also those planted last year by the Friends. Some work was also done to investigate the possibility of digging out the invasive wild clematis (Old Man's Beard). Some very thick clematis "cables" were cut down and several small diameter trees were pollarded to encourage regrowth.
In our coppice area a group of six endeavored to clear up much of the fallen twigs and branches, and in the resultant fire managed to bake enough potatoes to supply both groups.

Sunday 26 Feb 2012  - Attendance 9 workers

Despite the absence of several of the usual stalwarts, nine of us gathered for our first chance in 2012 to get back to coppicing. Our first meeting of the year had involved preparation in the Jubilee Plantation for the Brownies/Guides to plant trees to mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne.
A large branch had fallen from an oak tree in our coppice area so that was cut up with a chainsaw, which was also used in cutting down several small trees. Pruning saws, bowsaws and loppers found use in coppicing or cutting material to a suitable size for burning. Once the fire had reached a suitable state we baked several foil-wrapped potatoes which proved to be a hit with the "workers".


Sunday 4 Dec 2011  - Attendance 7 workers
As has been usual lately, the chainsaw was very useful in taking down and cutting up various trees to open up the area where we have been working.  The intention is to restore the coppiced hazels and, hopefully, to provide improved conditions for flora and fauna which might encourage more woodland butterflies and a carpet of plants. Together with coppicing and other work elsewhere in the wood conditions are being created which has already seen the appearance of ground nesting and other birds such as Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Garden Warbler. Older residents have mentioned hearing nightingales in the wood - perhaps we might even hope for their return!

Sunday 27 Nov 2011 - Attendance 14 workers
Three people split off to deal with clearing of bramble and small trees near the 50th anniversary plaque to extend the work done by the council. The remainder of the group carried on to the coppice area.  C's chainsaw was used to good effect, taking down clumps of neglected hazel and removing small trees, while others worked on other hazels or cut up and carried material to a fire. Though there is currently some uncertainty about our proposed charcoal burn we still retained some of the thicker material. By the time we stopped working the changes in the site were obvious and shows what can be done with a large group and appropriate use of a chainsaw.
Some of us also found time to find a few fungi including Tawny Funnel, Clouded Funnel, a Crepidotus species (an Oysterling), a huge number of Turkeytail fungi on a fallen log, and several tiny fungi on twigs and bramble stems.

Sunday 6th Nov 2011 - Attendance: 13 workers.
We were fortunate this week to have the help of C & P - members of the Friends of Littleheath Wood - who kindly came along with chain saw and chemical treatment kit to support us. FSW are very grateful for this sharing of expertise and resources.

The first group went to the coppice area and C was soon employed with his chainsaw cutting down stumps we had left previously. The material we are collecting for charcoal was moved and stacked neatly not too far from the fire site. Three very large ash stems, covered in canker growths, were cut down and the thicker material was added to the charcoal stack. When we had trouble persuading a fire to retain flame, C showed us a technique of sticking four upright posts in the ground, forming a pyramid of dry sticks in the middle then piling more on top. We used paper in the middle - C said he would usually use birch bark!  From the trees cut down we had plenty of ash branches so we were soon adding lots to the fire and had a blaze going quite quickly.  With chainsaw, lopper and bowsaws we also recoppiced several hazels.
In the meantime P was working in our older coppice area, reducing some of the ash regrowth and removing a couple of sweet chestnuts. We discovered that many of the regenerating bushes are cherry and, though there is healthy growth of the coppiced hazel, we may have to control the amount of cherry and may have to plant hazel whips to fill in the gaps. I later took P down to Court Wood to examine the laurel problem, finding many regrowing stumps and also discovering many very large laurel bushes.
J had arrived at 12.00 noon and went off to join the second group who were trying to remove some of the wild clematis covering most of the 260 whips we planted earlier this year in the Jubilee Plantation. They found that some of the clematis had already produced growths which stretched for yards, making it difficult to make any real progress. Even a new scythe seemed less than an ideal tool and D found he preferred to use a billhook. The clematis is going to be a real problem in the Jubilee Plantation.

Sunday 30th Oct 2011 - Attendance: 7 workers
We quickly got a fire started and cleared up all the cut material left from our previous workday.  Three piles were left as habitat piles in the hope of eventually attracting animals like Stag Beetles. Several middle-sizes Ash trees were felled, providing  material for making charcoal, poles for a deer fence, and small branches which were burned. Hazels were cut down so that we will have an entry for the kiln next year. Some of the new cut material was left for use in starting the fire next time. Conditions were unseasonably warm and there was occasional drizzle particularly as we returned to the car park.

Wed 9th March 2011

Wed 9th March 2011

Over the last few days I have made contact with Simon Levy, the foresters and the fencing contractors. The logs have been removed from our coppice area, Jubilee Plantation, Centenary Plantation and the area between Leafy Grove and The Wend, though I did see one large tree trunk still lying outside Jubilee on Tuesday. I discussed charcoal with the forester, Nick Shanks, who was driving their vehicle, and agreed with him which logs would be left in the coppice area for us to use. When the foresters were cutting down the trees they cut a number of 8 ft poles and left them for us to support a deer fence. Simon did ask whether we wanted to put in the fence ourselves but, since we do not have the heavy device used to drive the poles into the ground (and also have little manpower) I suggested that he get Rob Sowter to do the work – it might also give Rob a chance to cast his eyes over the log piles.

When I first saw Simon he was heeling in bundles of whips in the Jubilee for us to plant later. They normally come in bundles of 25 but some of the bundles had already been depleted. Several of the bundles had labels but some of these were buried where Simon had piled up soil around them.  At this stage my best information is as follows.

Elder, possibly two bundles of 25; Silver Birch, a few; Field Maple, bundle of 25; Wild Service, bundle of 25 (?); Hazel, bundle of 25; Spindle, bundle of 25; Wild Cherry, bundle of 25; Ash, a few; Guelder Rose, bundle of 25; Wild Rose, bundle of 25; Blackthorn, bundle of 25; Hawthorn, bundle of 25; Rowan(?). a bundle of 25 with reddish buds and stems

This makes a total (if the numbers are correct) of somewhere between 200 and 300 whips to be planted by us. Simon suggests notch planting – stick a spade into the ground, wobble it to make a gap, stick in the whip, firm up the soil. David and I will try to work out a planting scheme. So far as planting a hedge along the fence is concerned, that will be left to next autumn when we will put in an order to Simon for hedging whips and also for hazel to be planted in out coppice area.

The old Jubilee fence was demolished in the morning when I made a brief visit before going off to Hutchinson’s Bank. The wood was burned on site in two fires. The brash may be burned today by the forester. I returned in the late afternoon to see the new fence posts being driven into place. At the top of the site, near the badger sett, we had been told they would dig the posts in by hand rather than disturb possible badgers with their machinery. Posts were in position along Stevens Walk but there was a large gap between the post on Stevens Walk and the next one along the edge of Great Field towards the pond. Apparently what will now happen is that the fencing wire will be stretched across this gap, with some sort of space left so that badgers can get underneath. I have no idea whether there will be any support inserted on this long length of fencing wire. The fencing wire will be put into position on Wednesday.

At the bottom of Stevens Walk, just before it joins Vincent Avenue, several large Ash trees were removed to let more light into Jubilee from the direction of David’s Crook. This area will be deer fenced to protect regrowth.

On a totally different topic, David had mentioned a fallen tree on Broad Walk. I had a look at it yesterday. It appears to be a large Hazel which is now at head height across the path, requiring walkers to duck underneath to get by. While we might be able to take it down with bowsaws, it really needs a chainsaw to do it properly.  In the usual place off Broad Walk I counted at least 14 Early Purple orchids, not in flower but recognisable by their very spotty leaves. The number will be nearer 100 later. Similarly at the other end of the wood, where the Courtwood fence juts out towards Courtwood Lane, I found a dozen without really trying.  When in flower, including the plants inside the fence, the total will be nearer 200 orchids.

Sun 6 March 2011

D&J decided to work in the Centenary Plantation continuing the work of removing Ash saplings.  A & I tackled the brash in the coppice area, restarting the fire from the hot coals left from Saturday. Unfortunately vandals had piled a number of logs on to the fire, including some larger than we would normally burn, and several of these were only partially burned through. We continued the task of dragging material from the piles of brash and, where necessary, cutting it before adding it to the fire.
After lunch, while I continued with the work, I persuaded A to carry out a survey of the plants growing in the total area we have worked on, both this year and in the past. I will publish the results later.
More brash remains to be cleared but much of the larger stuff is close to the dead hedge and might be used to extend the hedge. Where brash piles have been there is a carpet of smaller material which might be best dealt with by raking and burning. I have collected longer pieces to be used later to support a deer fence, and the foresters have left a pile of similar material for the same purpose.
On Sat , before going to join D at the brash site, I had a telephone conversation with SL who said the foresters would be in the Jubilee Plantation on Mon to remove the larger logs and possibly to burn the brash, and at some stage will move to our coppice area to do the same. He is aware we have burned most of the brash in this area. He said he will take hedging whips to the Jubilee and will heel them in for later replanting. On Tuesday the fencing contractors will put in the new fence around Jubilee.
S wishes to maintain a file of information about ground flora in the coppice area and elsewhere in the wood to see what appears in the future. That is partly why I got A to carry out the survey. I would like to encourage other members of the committee to get out a field guide and to attempt to develop some expertise in identifying plants, particularly in our coppice area, the Gorses, Jubilee and Centenary Plantations, but also anywhere else that takes their fancy. If we are going to lead more walks in the future we need to be able to identify at least some of the plants we see in order to point them out to people on the walks. The same applies to trees, butterflies, birds, moths, other insects and any other aspect of natural history.

Sun 6 Feb 2011

As we are hoping to have a charcoal burn in June, we retained the bigger material that was cut and soon built up a large pile of what we hope is suitable material from which to make charcoal. Thinner branches went on to a fire and we had enough to keep the fire going while we were there. The evidence of our work can now be seen in the ever growing open space which is developing and in which we hope that regrowth will produce a wildlife friendly bit of woodland. Bluebells are already bursting through the soil and there are signs of Foxgloves.

The file below records some of the activities undertaken by FSW in addition to the scheduled workdays.


November 2010

For some time we have been planning to put up boards displaying the names of the paths in the wood and on Sat 6 Nov three of us drove to Reigate to collect the boards and also a finger post. On Sun morning 3 of us put the post in position at the edge of David's Crook. To help in the work we had each taken tools so we had 5 spades, 2 forks, 2 crowbars, a pickaxe and a club hammer, and most of them were used in digging a hole about two and a half feet deep through sticky clay and large flints.

David Malins had taken over supervision of the workday activity of coppicing and I went to join the coppicing party once the finger post was in position. While some of us continued with coppicing, and clearing up loose material left from a previous occasion, others concentrated on building a hedge of dead branches along part of Stevens' Walk beside the coppice area.

Friday 3rd September 2010

DM and I retrieved an old bench, which had one leg missing and the second attached but rotted at the base, and took it from Stevens’ Larch down to the car park. We removed the damaged leg and cut two lengths from old guide posts which we had kept when the new ones were put in place. The old leg had a circular section and the guide posts were of square section so D arranged with the wood turners to have the ends turned down to fit the holes in the bench.  When this is done we will fit the new legs and place the repaired bench in a suitable position.

Friday 27th August 2010

An attempt was made to start a plant survey in the area between Middle Gorse and East Gorse where the bracken was cleared.  The species found, with only tentative identification in some cases, are shown below.

Plant survey Selsdon Wood Gorses 27 Aug 2010

Ash; Birch, Downy (?); Bramble (several sp); Buddleia; Buttercup, Creeping; Cherry, Wild; Chestnut, Sweet; Chickweed, Common; Dandelion; Dogs Mercury; Elder; Fern, Male; Field Maple; Foxglove; Goosegrass(Cleavers); Gorse; Hawthorn; Hazel; HempNettle; Holly; Honeysuckle; Knapweed, Common; Nettle, Common; Nightshade, Enchanter's; Nightshade. Black; Nipplewort; Oak, Sessile; Plantain, Greater; Ragwort, Hoary; Raspberry; Rose sp(?); Sorrel, Common; SowThistle, Smooth; Sycamore; Thistle, Creeping; Thistle, Spear; Willowherb, American (?); Wood Avens (Herb Bennet); Wood Sage; Yew.

Sun 22nd Aug 2010
Five of us tackled the buried bench in David's Crook. The previous clearance had left a crescent-shaped path to the bench but growth of bramble and bracken had buried it again.

Having completed that, we moved on to the Gorses area where last month we started clearance of the bracken. A few extra hours cleared the remaining bracken, allowing young bracken fronds to spring up all over the cleared area. Today we removed as much of this young growth as possible, but it will come back. In the process we discovered a small bush of Deadly Nightshade with lots of flower and a few berries. There are many young sycamores and much bramble that will have to be controlled in the future.


Sun 4th July 2010

A team started by clearing some of the vegetation around the seat opposite the old bird pool, then removed a few branches above the pool, reduced nettles, etc amongst the irises, then poured a couple of litres of water into the bird bath for the birds to drink and bathe in this hot weather.
We moved on to the Gorses area, where the Larch plantation was removed some time ago. For a couple of ours or so we worked on the invasive bracken, cutting it or ripping it up, then placing it in a pile to rot down. In little more than two hours we managed to clear about half of the area so that more work remains to be done. One pleasing outcome was, that as we removed the bracken cover, we could see that the ground was covered by innumerable gorse seedlings, varying in size from a couple of inches to eighteen inches. It looks as though the local path names of East Gorse and Middle Gorse will soon be relevant once again. In recent years it has been difficult to see why these names were used!

Sunday 6th June 2010

When we put in the new way marker posts we retained some of the old ones to be used to make new legs for benches which had lost theirs. Last week four were taken from where they had been stored temporarily near the garage. They were placed in the middle of a path in David's Crook where a fire was set on top of them.  On Saturday I had cleared much of the associated rubbish (beer cans, etc) and during the workday we dragged the burned posts to the garage area from whence we hope the council will remove them - they have been informed.
The work activity concentrated on clearing vegetation from benches in the first three fields and in David's Crook. GE had found a bench totally buried by bushes, bramble and bracken in David's Crook so we took the opportunity clear much of the offending vegetation to provide access to the bench. Other benches exist in Steven's Field which will be cleared either on a casual basis or on the next workday.
We had three new faces with us and would welcome more!  While moving from one bench to another we made an occasional attempt to identify a plant of which we were unsure, but more work will have to be done and in a more sustained manner (and in my case to give enough time to develop some expertise!).

April 29th 2010

Twenty -five waymarkers for the red and green walking routes in the wood have now been replaced by DM, TF, one or two staff from Downlands Countryside Management Project, and several volunteers who usually work with them. Work on the ground in the wood has taken five days with several more spent at the DCMP depot preparing the posts. Several of the old posts had rotted at the base, some were embedded in large lumps of concrete while others had crossed nails driven through the base to make them more secure (and making them more difficult to dig up!).  A few had both concrete and crossed nails!

Summary of Selsdon Wood Activity for Feb/March 2010

Sat 27 Feb  - Three members worked in Centenary Plantation to remove ash saplings, move piles of material to the dead hedge, and to trim the lower branches of some smaller trees.

Sun 7 Mar - This was our last coppicing date, attended by six people.  Apart from coppicing and harvesting of bean poles etc, we managed to burn about half of a large pile of material left from a previous workday.

Mon 8 Mar - The tree contractors decided to enter the coppice area so that we were unable to continue our work there. Instead two of us went back to the Centenary Plantation to carry on the work begun on 27 Feb. Once the contractors had completed their tree felling in the coppice area, and had removed the large tree trunks, there was a very large amount of brash over the whole site.

Sat 13 Mar - Over a period of eight hours, four of us managed to clear all the brash and the remains of the large pile we had been dealing with on 7 Mar.

Wed 17 Mar to Wed 24 Mar - A similar situation applied in the Jubilee Plantation so during this six day period two people worked each day to burn unwanted material, make several large habitat piles, and place many larger branches in a big pit which we are trying to fill. It will probably make a useful habitat for insects and other creep crawlies. Over twenty nine hours were spent on this work, with two people on each day.

As the walks guide posts are to be renewed, a report was prepared containing photographs of the arrow markers required on each post, and maps to show the positions of the posts on the walks.

A charcoal training event was organised in Littleheath Woods and attended by many members of various Friends groups, including two from Friends of Selsdon Wood.

Sun 7th Feb 2010 - Attendance: 6 workers

This was our normal scheduled workday.  DM explained the techniques for harvesting material for bean poles, hedging stakes, etc, but admitted that the old neglected coppice might not produce much that would be useful. We then divided into groups. D & T tried to start a fire in the wet conditions and after some trouble managed to get it to sustain a weak flame. Collecting hanging, thin, drier branches from the woods helped to increase the heat and eventually thicker branches could be added to the fire. Other members of the group were joined by DM to cut down old coppice stands, passing some brash to Ted for the fire, retaining some harvested material (use to be decided later), and adding more material to the large heap to be dealt with at a later date.  Most of the group departed at 1.00pm, leaving D & T to tidy up the remains of the fire and tape it off for safety.

Sat 6th Feb 2010 - Attendance: 4 workers

During the previous week, DM and TF, cleared up cut timber from last year, moving some into piles to be burned later, and creating a tidier habitat pile of thicker branches. Logs were laid on the ground and stakes driven in to make a series of pens to take any useful material harvested during coppicing. This was an extra workday, organised at short notice. The work concentrated on removing fallen timber over a wide area to make a safer work environment; thin branches were used to make another habitat pile for fungi, insects and other creepy-crawlies and the remainder was placed in a large heap to be dealt with later.  Having arrived at 10.00am we left around 1.30pm.

Sunday 3rd January 2010
- Attendance: 5 workers

We worked in the Centenary Plantation for about two hours, clearing some of the re-growth of Ash saplings which had sprung up to a height of two or three feet over the last year. A few wild rose and bramble stems were also removed and much of the cut material was added to the dead hedge. A surprising number of small Laurel seedlings were found and destroyed. Lots of dead stems of White Helleborines were still visible and many appeared to be bearing seed heads.

By the end of the work period we had cleared about one third of the area, so there is more back-breaking work required to clear the remaining two thirds. Some tiny trees were left for later identification and it is probable that some of the larger trees will require removal of lower branches. We found many Ash seedlings growing up through two “habitat” piles which were left in the middle of the area last year. Controlling the seedlings really requires cutting them close to ground level so moving the piles to the dead hedge would be a useful first step. This would retain the “habitat” aspect of the cut material for insects and creepy-crawlies, and allow the centre of the area to be used for growing other plants e.g. orchids.

Detailed workday records were not recorded on the website before January 2010. The file below lists some of the early activity.