Present: Barbara Green – Chair, Dorothy Freedman, Tony Edwards, Lesley Edwards – secretary, Matthew Watts – CMS, Andrew York, Barbara Robjant, Nick Makin, Terence Flynn – TRDC
1. Apologies for Absence
Chris Smith, Stephen and Sue Hall, Stephen Ramsay.
2. Minutes of last Meeting
3. Matters arising from Minutes not dealt with elsewhere
4. Treasurer’s Report
In the absence of the treasurer there was no report. However, BG said that our funds have been considerably reduced this year by the purchase of various tools.
5. Report on progress of volunteer Group
* Tasks covered during last six months
We are nearly to the end of the laurel clearance along Carpenters path and TE thought that one more session would finish it for now. Unfortunately there has been a considerable amount of fly tipping along Carpenters path which the group endeavoured to tidy up at our last session. BG suggested a letter to houses backing on to the woods informing them that it is illegal to fly tip in the woods. Terry confirmed that this is something TRDC will arrange and FoCW to assist by delivering by hand to cut the postage cost. Action TF
A lot of holly clearance has been done in the past six months but there is still a great deal to tackle. Major work has been carried out by the group in Hillas Square since last September – bramble clearance being the chief task – in order to prepare for the nursery area.
* Membership Update
No new volunteers.
* Tool review
We have £100 allowance left for this financial year and TF suggested that we purchase a couple of hay rakes with aluminium teeth. We have one rake only and that is not suitable for heavy duty work sessions. Action TF
Recently £450 has been spent on tools, including shears, loppers, secateurs. Our strimmer has broken down and will need to be serviced. We need to swell our coffers and TE is to try for a table for FoCW at the Quiz evening this year. Action TE
6. Five Year Plan
Matthew Watts didn’t have a finished Plan to show us as it not quite completed but the general idea was:
* FoCW to carry out selective thinning of canopy trees to allow for regrowth; gradual removal of larch area, specifically in the SE corner. The group to carry on with sapling removal, in particular the ash, leaving the best specimens to grown on.
* There will be large scale reduction of some trees in Whitelands Wood along the railway track (woods side) and this is expected to be carried out in the next few weeks by TRDC.
* MW said that it was thought three new timber benches around the woodland would be of benefit and encourage people to walk around enabling stops on the way. Friends to consider possible locations.
* Widening of the Bramble Ramble to facilitate light, encourage vegetation which would attract butterflies etc. As there are younger trees either side it would be easier to thin and widen; a bench could be placed in this area. The initial work on the ride widening would be carried out by contractors and subsequent management to be taken on by FoCW. Matt said that he would let us know when this work is to take place. Action MW
* Birch thinning in the area of the four ways gate along to the farm gate to carry on with some help from Cairan and CMS. TF and MW suggested a coppice of sweet chestnut in this area.
* BG said that we had not touched the larch plantation in lower Hillas for quite a few years as it was a huge area and we felt we couldn’t make much of a mark on it. There is a huge amount of brash in this area. The larch plantations are considered to be PAWS area (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site) and progressive thinning should take place in this area taking out the poorer stuff; changes to be made gradually. BG asked if more larch were to be removed from Upper Hillas and MW said that he recommends more thinning within the Five Year Plan.
* More selective holly clearance targeting trees which are being overtaken by excessive holly growth.
* Regular coppicing at the Whitelands Avenue entrance to the woods so that it looks as open and inviting as possible.
* Ensure the “new hedgerow” is maintained at a reasonable height to encourage thickening and carry out regular weeding.
* An annual spring clean in March, rubbish clearing etc.
* Organising and promoting regular events was suggested by MW. BG said that this was difficult for the group and had been hard work in the past. MW is to lead a walk in the Carpenters Wood on 24th May at 2pm as part of the Chilterns Walking Festival Programme. BG said that she would contact local magazines to advertise this walk. Action BG. MW said that they would support us in any promotion we planned. TF said
that the Park Ranger does “welly” walks and bat walks etc., and he may be prepared to lead a walk for us over a weekend. Action TF
* TF thanked FoCW for their efforts in bramble clearing in Hillas. As this is such an arduous task it was decided that rotavating the bramble areas and then picking over the area subsequently by hand was the best solution. Stump grinding had been undertaken by TRDC but some were too big to deal with so next financial year TRDC will hire a new digger to deal with them and dispose of them off site.
* Fencing to be erected around the new nursery plantation with FoCW assistance where and when possible. The fencing material will be financed by TRDC. The nursery area to measure 30 x 20 metres. It was suggested by MW that our seed collecting and planting of saplings in the nursery area could involve local schools. TF to inform BG when nursery area has been rotavated. Action TF
* Hornbeam work: A trial was suggested on a small area, without fencing but using holly as protection for pollarded hornbeams – this is planned to happen late winter i.e. January to March.
7. Website Update
No website update at this time.
8. Diary for the coming year
Dates have been circulated.
10, Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 7 September 2017. Venue t.b.a. PLEASE NOTE THIS MEETING DATE NOW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED TO THURSDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER AT 2.00PM