Sometimes we ask the experts to advise us on what to do in certain areas around the town. We are very lucky to be able to call upon the services of experts on trees, ditches and waterways and conservation issues – to name just a few.
We are also very fortunate to have the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership right on our doorstep with their office based in Tilgate Park. The Partnership is managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust and is a “Living Landscape” project. Since 1994 they have been working across some 200 square kilometres of countryside in Reigate, Dorking, Horley, Horsham and Crawley including the industrial estate and Gatwick Airport.
The Gatwick Greenspace Partnership’s work aims to inform, educate and involve people from the local communities in our beautiful, natural surroundings. They would like to see the local landscape more interconnected for wildlife and work with local landowners (including the Forestry Commission, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust) plus local authorities to support them in managing their land more sustainably and in partnership with others.
For more information on Gatwick Greenspace Partnership and how to join one of their regular volunteer task days please visit www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/gatwick_greenspace. Recently, the Partnership held one of their volunteer task days in Woldhurstlea Woods, Gossops Green where they were joined by members of Gossops Community Forum.
Gossops Community Forum only formed in 2013 but has already been really active in Gossops Green: holding a clear-up in the woodland, planting daffodils and assisting in Community Speed Watch. If you would like to join the Gossops Community Forum please contact Ron Macrae, Secretary, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woldhurstlea Woods are a Site of Nature Conservation Importance and as such are managed and treated in a slightly different way to other woodland and green space. The woods contain many native trees such as oak, ash, hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn and the less common small-leaved lime. Blackthorn, bramble and honeysuckle growing around fallen trees make parts of the site inaccessible to people and therefore create valuable refuges for wildlife, providing a home for woodpeckers, tree creepers, beetles and fungi. There is, however, a large amount of non-native, invasive evergreen shrubs such as rhododendron ponticum and laurel which are increasingly shading out the native flora in some parts of the wood.
The volunteer task was to try to remove as much of this non-native shrubbery as possible. This involved lots of sawing and lopping of branches and cutting down of shrubs as well as a large bonfire – fantastic fun and an extremely good workout in the green gym!
The wet weather also held off for most of the day so that was a bonus. The volunteers all worked really hard but the area proved to be just too large for one day’s work and another task day will be scheduled for the autumn. Perhaps next time we can get the local scout troop involved – knowing how much they love a good bonfire! Perhaps we could cook some sausages and jacket potatoes in the fire as well? Sounds like a plan to me.