It’s been an exciting time for this new project, which you may remember launched at the end of July. We had some great local and national media coverage and the ‘Lost Woods…’ Facebook page has also been buzzing with activity, not least to decide on the project’s logo. Do join in the discussion, marvel at the beautiful trees discovered (including one thought to be over 1000 years old – picture below!) and stay up to date by giving the page a ‘like’.
So what else is new? Firstly, a project consultant, Vikki Fenner, has been recruited, bringing with her a wealth of experience from Fingle Woods in the South West. Vikki will be working with the Woodland Trust and project partners, including Action in rural Sussex, to produce key planning documents. Action in rural Sussex will also host four other staff members, who will help the engagement of surrounding communities with their local woodlands, unlocking the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature that we all value so much, particularly in recent times. In addition to their work, a local contractor has been liaising with local groups/societies to uncover local myths, legends and folklore relating to woodlands, while a visitor survey will take place shortly at one of our own sites in the project area, the fabulous Butchers Wood. Both pieces of work will support a range of future activities.
Elsewhere on the ground, contractors have begun complicated invasive species removal work and thinning restoration at two of our pilot sites and a third ancient woodland pilot site has been chosen for removal of invasive species, coppicing, halo thinning of veteran oak and access improvements for the local community. These sites will provide case studies that are representative of woodland issues within the project area, which hopefully will encourage more ancient woodland owners to get involved. The project team are also in the throes of mapping woodland landowners in the area and once we obtain data for priority woodland we’ll write to landowners offering site visits and surveys.
Last but by no means least, our work is, as always, supported by fantastic volunteers, from which we have had significant interest. With tens of applications, two Lost Woods Ancient Tree project volunteers have now been shortlisted and, once welcomed and trained, will be helping to develop and test a methodology for ensuring all ancient and veteran trees in the project area are recorded on the Ancient Tree Inventory. We are so grateful for their support and for everyone who has got involved and spread the word. Phew – what a busy few months it’s been! For now, we hope you will continue to follow our journey into the Lost Woods of the Weald and Downs – it really promises to be fascinating!
Anna Claxton, Volunteer Development Officer (SE) – with thanks to Grace Davis (Engagement and Communication Officer, SE) for information.