Friday, December 28, 2012

Coppicing in Putnoe Wood

I was coppicing the Hazel in Putnoe Wood yesterday with Rangers John and Jane and the Friends group. The weather was kind to us with just a couple of heavy showers during the day rather than the expected constant rain. We managed to work through a good size section of this years plot, dead hedging as we went. The process involves cutting the Hazel back to the stumps and using the cut material to create a "dead hedge" along the edge of the plot. The dead hedge provides a good habitat for insects, small mammals and birds such as Wren and Dunnock. The clearance of the Hazel allows more light to get to the ground encouraging woodland plants such as Bluebells.

Unsurprisingly the ground was very wet under foot with standing water in places, a throw back to earlier years of management of this wood according to John. I haven't seen it this wet since I have been helping out here. The stream that runs along the north side has seldom seen so much water over such a long period, a good thing as it helps to keep it clear of debris.

Back in Priory Country Park the flooding is worse than it was on Christmas Day but, per DK, down on Boxing Day. Wildfowl numbers were noticeably down and, with the restricted access to areas of the park due to the flood waters, it's hard to track down much of anything. The wildfowl have most likely dispersed out onto the various flooded fields that are available at present. Passerines are also hard to come by in the wet and windy conditions.

Given the rain forecast for today and tomorrow it looks like Sunday's guided walk is going to be interesting. Please come in wellingtons as it is extremely muddy with lots of standing water, even in areas not affected by the flooding from the river. Current weather forecast is for a break in the weather Sunday morning which could be good for us and the birds, meet at the Visitor Centre at 9am, Sunday 30th December.
Post a Comment