FRIENDS OF CARPENTERS WOOD
Monday 18th September 2017 at 2pm
28 Carpenters Drive, Chorleywood
Present: Barbara Green – Chair, Matthew Watts – CMS, Robin Hurley, Tony Edwards, Stephen Ramsay, Malcolm Green, Sue Hall, Steven Hall, Nick Makin, Pam Ferrar, Dorothy Freedman, Lesley Edwards – Secretary.
1. Apologies for Absence
Chris Smith, Andrew York, Barbara Robjant.
2. Minutes of last meeting and Matters Arising
- There has been no follow up from Terence Flynn (TRDC) regarding fly tipping in the wood. A recent incident was reported by e-mail to TF but no answer received.
- There has been no further communication from TF (TRDC) with regard to the future of the planned ‘nursery area’ in Hillas Square.
3. 5 Year Plan – Consultation and Final Draft
CMS has been commissioned by TRDC to draw up the 5 Year Plan. TRDC make the final decision as to its adoption, and normally then commission CMS to assist in its implementation once adopted. The Plan includes work which can only be carried out by TRDC via contractors or their in-house team, and other work which can be carried out by the Friends Group. SR pointed out that the Plan was already behind schedule for this year. It is hoped that work not carried out this year could be increased in frequency in future years so that all the work mentioned in the Plan is covered by the end of the 5 year period.
- Green Flag Community Award – MW said that Carpenters Wood should be considered for the Green Flag Community Award scheme. This community flag is awarded for green spaces which strive towards improved access and amenity for their communities. It was thought that this could be an advantage to the group both with assistance on larger projects and hopefully some much needed funding.
- Installation of benches – the Plan shows that three more benches are to be installed, although the position of one marked for installation is already in situ. MW said we could possibly still have three more. TE suggested that one be situated in “The Glade” where the existing informal log seat has almost disintegrated. BG asked if we needed to have these extra benches to be considered for the Green Flag – MW said not specifically but the fact that it was encompassed in the 5YP would be beneficial.
- Coppicing of understorey at Whitelands Avenue entrance – This is considered important to keep the entrance into the woodland as open and accessible as possible. MG suggested we make more effort to clear between the alleyway and the footpath especially on the right-hand side where there is a lot of scrub. FOCW to incorporate this into their winter work programme.
- The CCF (Continuous Cover Forestry) implementation to fell two 0.5 hectare groups of trees in Carpenters Wood – This thinning of mature trees would be carried out each year for the 5 years of the plan. BG asked MW if he could talk us through this. MW said this is a Biodiversity and Heritage approach to Woodland Management which involved removing some mature trees to create gaps in the canopy to enable enough light to facilitate healthy growth underneath. This is a long term and subtle approach and one that happens naturally in unmanaged woodlands through trees dying and falling. BG hoped that TRDC would inform the Group when anything of this nature was to be implemented as we might expect objections and complaints from some members of the public. BG suggested posting notices in the woodland notice boards with information regarding any tree felling to be carried out. MW said this approach was based on sound woodland management. BG said that this is a ‘grand plan’ to secure the woodland for future generations. Where there is larger holly tree encroachment – too large for our Group to manage – it was suggested that holly removal be carried out when contractors were dealing with any other large tree felling (under the CCF initiative) in the woodland. MW said that holly clearance was needed where it was crowding out other trees but it is a native species and part of the woodland biodiversity.
- PAWS (Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites) restoration – further thinning of Larch. The Plan includes further thinning of Larch, in various locations in the woodland, over the first 3 years of the plan. The Friends agreed that this is still needed. A question was asked about brash created by this Larch felling; MW said that leaving brash on site was good for protecting regeneration and therefore should be left in situ!
- Thinning of young plantation areas during Year 1 -This relates to the area of young Beech/Birch which the Friends group have worked on in the past. However, now much of the Birch is too large for the Friends group to manage alone, so help would be needed from TRDC/CMS. The ash plantation was thinned by TRDC several years ago and doesn’t need any work at present. There are signs of ash dieback on some of the young trees.
- Ride creation, coppicing, widening and maintenance: This is a particularly interesting action for the Friends group as it highlights one particular ride (Bramble Ramble) for extensive widening. However, it was acknowledged that coppicing of many of the trees along the ride would need to be carried out by TRDC before the Friends could do any other clearance. MW explained how ‘ride management’ works and provided a diagrammatic explanation of how it should be carried out. MG said that the group needs to know when TRDC are going to implement the removal of any large trees before the group progress with any work in that area themselves. BG suggested that the group walk the ride being discussed on one of our sessions in the woodland and possibly mark trees for removal. SR asked for clarification of what rides were to be mown/strimmed by TRDC as the Friends were under the impression that no rides had ever been strimmed by TRDC (CMS volunteers strimmed part of this ride earlier in the year). Action MW.
- Pollard hornbeam stubs and de-shade – We are still waiting for this essential work to be carried out on the ancient Hornbeams which form the edge of the woodland. The existing Hornbeam needs expert pollarding, and the suggestion is that a small stretch of hedge is tackled initially. This would be monitored to see how well the pollarded trees regenerate. MW said that his impression was that there was Hornbeam regeneration in other parts of the woodland so that it might be possible to use these saplings to ‘plug’ gaps in the existing Hornbeam hedge. It was suggested that there be a trial of pollarding and filling in gaps in an area along a stretch of hornbeam hedge where there is holly to protect the new growth.
- DF is preparing a survey regarding the wild honeysuckle found in the woodland and this is work in progress. Action DF
- MG said that TRDC should not endorse anything in a plan if they haven’t the budget to carry it out as it is misleading to the Friends Group as well as to the general public. It was agreed that clarification needs to be sought from TRDC regarding funding for the 5 Year Plan. BG will contact Julie Hughes to discuss.
- Also, the ‘nursery area project’ has been left out of the 5 Year Plan! Clearly it seems that there was little intention to continue with this project regardless of all the hard work that has already been carried out by the Friends. MW said he spoke with his manager at CMS about this nursery idea and he thought it a bad idea to attempt a nursery area in any woodland. It was thought that we should now abandon the nursery area project and concentrate on more viable tasks and BG agreed to discuss with TF. However, LE has still got 20 Oak saplings growing in pots ready for planting out into the woodland! It was suggested that we use one of our winter sessions to plant out these saplings. Action BG
- BG thanked MW for his clear and thoughtful plan. The draft plan will now be passed to TRDC. MW left the meeting at 4pm.
4. Treasurer’s Report
We have a balance of £45. We are in need of new tools and maintenance of the ones we have. A table has been booked for the Quiz Evening on the on Saturday 18th November which will swell our bank balance by a few hundred pounds. We have had no funding from TRDC so need to approach them. TE suggested the possibility of approaching the Parish Council.
5. Report on Progress of Friends Group
Some sessions “slipped” this summer due to volunteers’ commitments, holidays etc.
a. Tasks covered during the last six months – Paths have been cleared throughout the summer months and the new hedge in Hillas along the Field Path has been kept trimmed – this is doing very well and we need to keep up maintenance of this.
b. No new members. It was suggested that we ask Phil Ellis (Residents Association) to put an ad in their newsletter. Action TE
c. Tool Review – Tools need sharpening. We need to purchase some shears for hedge maintenance and another rake would be useful as well as a proper scythe. We will wait until our bank balance is healthier.
Nothing to report at present. When approved, the 5 Year Plan will be put on the website and BG asked that any photos taken in the woodland are emailed directly to SH.
SH suggested that we make an earlier start to our sessions in future and how did the group feel about a 9.30 am start? The vote was to keep the time for starting at 10.00 am.
SR felt it was easier for the majority of the group if we met at the Farm Gate in future instead of the Whitelands Avenue entrance and this was agreed.
8. Date of Next Meeting – 2.00pm Thursday 1st March 2018. Venue to be advised.