Scenes from Workdays

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

Planting whips

Join us on our workdays

On work days 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 full list of workdays for 2017 is:

January 29th, February 5th & 26th, March 5th & 26th, 

April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, 

September 24th, October 1st & 29th, November 5th & 26th,

 December 3rd

The next Workday is on Sunday July 2nd 

As usual, meet at 10.00am in the car park.

For further information contact our Workdays leader, Ted Forsyth, at tedforsyth@btinternet.com or tel: 8651 0558

Our workdays are also advertised on
 http://www.founditguide.co.uk/Future_Events


For reports of previous workdays see below.

Cutting bracken

Erecting name boards

7th August 2013 - resting after installing the FSW seat

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


Workday Activity Reports by our Workdays leader, Ted Forsyth

(unless otherwise stated)

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

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.

30/11/16 
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 http://www.muslimsforhumanity.org.uk). 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.


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

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.

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.