Langley Vale Wood – October update
October has seen further developments at our Langley Vale Centenary Wood, including the installation of the stone sculptures in the Regiment of Trees area. Simon Bateman-Brown who is the Site Manager at the wood talks us through current projects in his regular update below…
We’re currently completing many of the reports required to satisfy the conditions associated with the car park, paths and memorial area and intend to submit these to the local councils in early November. These will take around 8 weeks to be discharged, but we’ll be working on other conditions in the meantime to ensure that all pre-commencement conditions have been met in time for the onsite works to begin in 2020. Currently we are still on target for the path works and car park to begin in the spring and the memorial area to be installed in early summer.
Regiment of Trees
I’m delighted to say that a separate planning application for the sculptures within the Regiment of Trees area and the interpretation associated with Jutland Wood was given consent by Epsom and Ewell council very recently. We are pushing ahead with the installation of the stone sculptures in the Regiment of Trees area, which will be installed in early November. The Jutland Wood interpretation will hopefully be installed in the spring.
The tenders for the hard surface pedestrian paths and the multi-user paths will be submitted later in November, but we currently anticipate at least four companies tendering. Thank you to everyone involved in the discussions, revisions and questions associated with this. All being well, we intend to award the contract by Christmas with work due to begin in March 2020.
Due to the popularity and success of the Centenary memorial trail on site last November, we will be installing this again for 2019. The circular trail will run through the central area of the site and will again include the wreath sculpture and this time will also include the Regiment of Trees area (complete with stone sculptures). The trail is being installed on Monday 4th November and will be open from the 5th November to the 28th November. It is being advertised locally and through the Langley Vale Wood Facebook page.
Assistant Site Manager
The advert for the Assistant Site Manager position closed in October and we will be interviewing on the 5th November. Hopefully this means we’ll be up to full strength again by Christmas.
Open space management
The Open Space Advisory Group met in October to discuss the management of the open space and it’s relative success. I’m pleased to say that the group are very happy with how the management is progressing, especially given the remarkable increase in diversity and species across the site in 2019. There will be a few changes for 2020, including looking at how best to manage sow and creeping thistle and tightening the timings for cultivation, but largely the management will remain the same.
On the back of this meeting, volunteers have sown horseshoe vetch seed around the edges of the three chalk scrapes to create suitable habitat for the Chalk hill blue butterfly, which was seen for the first time on site this year.
We were thrilled to host an energetic group from Sainsbury’s in October to help us out with some site management. After a guided tour of the site, the 35 members of staff from Sainsbury’s literally dug into their task – removing old fencing from the edge of Little Hurst Wood. This has removed a barrier to wildlife crossing through the landscape, but also aesthetically makes the site much more welcoming and friendly. The group worked so hard and so fast that we hurriedly found them a second area to work on after lunch, which they also dutifully completed.
Volunteer guided walks
We held another volunteer led guided walk in October, which was again hugely successful. Huge thanks to all those involved with organising and running these events – we are already busily planning for more in 2020.
On the last Monday of October, we were joined by Darren Moorcroft (CEO of the Woodland Trust) and a filmmaking crew from ITN. The Woodland Trust is filming at a number of locations across the country to create a programme for Channel 5, which will be broadcast in November. Details of the date and time of the programme will be circulated once these have been confirmed.
Our summer ash dieback surveys recorded a number of trees suffering from ash dieback and a particular hotspot for this was in Little Hurst Wood. After a second opinion from our in-house tree safety expert, we will be carrying out some ride widening works and permanent path diversions within the wood later this winter. More details will be circulated before Christmas