Langley Vale Wood – November update
As we approach the end of the year, Langley Vale Wood site manager, Simon Bateman-Brown, talks us through the latest news and updates from the wood.
We’ve now submitted a range of conditions to the relevant local authorities to hopefully be discharged. These include archaeological works, site management plan, car park landscape plan and details of the smaller items of infrastructure (grove posts, interpretation boards etc). The decision by the local authorities normally takes 8 weeks, so we hope to have a decision by mid-January. We are preparing another set of conditions for discharge now, which will be submitted before Christmas.
We have appointed a Project Manager and CDM principal designer for the car park and access construction works. The tenders for the car park and highways access will go out shortly and early works to prepare the site will begin in January.
As you will have seen in the last update, we re-installed the First World War Remembrance trail on site this year. The boards are now all along the cherry avenue, so we installed the wreath sculpture at the top of the avenue. The trail again proved incredibly popular and it was a common sight in November to see people walking around with a trail map in their hands. Data from the monitoring equipment (see below) showed that visitor numbers doubled for November, compared to October and September, despite it being a pretty wet month.
Regiment of Trees sculptures
The sculptures within the Regiment of Trees have now been installed (see photos) and the feedback we’ve received from visitors has been incredibly positive. The 12 stone sculptures depict the transition from civilian to trained soldiers for the 10,000+ soldiers who were training around the site at the time during this period, but specifically for the soldiers who were inspected by Lord Kitchener in January 1915. Interpretation to explain the sculptures will be installed next year.
We’ve had our first look at the visitor monitoring equipment that we installed back in August. We’ve only looked at two entrances so far (one horse and one pedestrian), but they showed that the bridle path entrance had almost 8,000 visits and the pedestrian entrance over 1,000. We need to evaluate the data to work out more accurate numbers of visitors, but the trends showed that most of our visitors are at weekends or weekday lunchtimes.
On 30th November our amazing volunteers led a guided walk around the site in the morning and then donned their gloves, grabbed their spades and planted 150 trees in record time (they’re pros at this by now). The trees have been planted in two areas managed as grasslands and will create shelter for the livestock during the summer. Huge thanks to all the volunteers who helped out with this – well done.
You may have also seen the documentary. “Plant a Tree to Save the World” Presented by Chris Packham on Channel 5 last week. This was a fantastic piece, partly filmed at Langley Vale Wood where our CEO Darren Moorcroft was interviewed for the film. If you haven’t yet had a chance to see it then please have a look on Channel 5 catch up services.
We met our in-house wildlife management expert this month to look at any control requirements for the site. Overall, the site is looking really good with the newly planted trees properly protected and good levels of natural regeneration within the mature woodland areas, which reflect the low deer impact results we’ve been getting from our monitoring. There are some smaller things we can do to further protect the trees, especially around the deer fenced areas, but there’s certainly no need for any intervention methods at this time.
Sainsbury’s fence removal
Earlier in October, a fantastic group from Sainsbury’s came along to site to help us remove some old fencing (as detailed in the October update). We’ve now produced this short video of the day, so please do take a few minutes to have a look; https://youtu.be/T1pFbReIXFA
If you enjoy reading Simon’s updates each month, you can follow local and news and updates via the Woodland Trust – Langley Vale Wood Facebook Page.
Simon would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers who have supported or taken an interest in the project during 2019.
“Thank you for your time, passion and support – we look forward to working together to achieve more great things in 2020!”
Site Manager at Langley Vale Wood