Jul 13 2021

Spotlight on… Lake Wood

We are so fortunate to have such amazing volunteers across the charity and we love to hear about their journey. This month, we hear from Martyn Stenning, a wildlife monitor and volunteer warden at Lake Wood, East Sussex, who has been involved with the Trust for several decades. Thank you so much to him and the wider team for all that you do.


“I was already conducting a D.Phil. research project with the University of Sussex in Lake Wood when it was owned by the aristocratic Streatfeild family (correct spelling). The owner Commander Norman J. Streatfeild DSC RN asked for my advice on which trust he should donate Lake Wood to.  I suggested the Woodland Trust and he readily agreed.  I assisted with the details of the ownership transfer, and the Commander also donated some money for initial management. Once the transfer was complete 1992,  the Woodland Trust agreed that I could continue researching in Lake Wood and be a Voluntary Warden there. My research also resulted in the publication of a book called ‘The Blue Tit’. 


My role entails various tasks including completing regular visits of the wood, the control of the alien invader Rhododendron ponticum, litter picking, speaking to visitors about the history of Lake Wood and the flora and fauna that live there, and last but not least monitoring the occupants of 46 bird nest boxes and dormouse boxes (for the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme).  Lake Wood has also been used for other University research projects.  With all this in mind, it is currently under threat from an inappropriate building development proposal in the neighbouring field, which I am working on defending it from.

It is enjoyable just being in Lake Wood, working on biodiversity management and informing the public about this amazing place.  A notable memory for me was completing 15 years of managing a team of volunteers in the control and removal of Rhododendrum, which we used to undertake every first Saturday of the month from October to March.  We finished in about 2014.”


Martyn has done so much as a volunteer for Lake Wood


Thanks to Martyn for sharing his experiences. Lake Wood welcomes visitors as do all of our sites and you can also view a video of this stunning area and surroundings here: https://vimeo.com/104401635


Words: Martyn Stenning (Volunteer Warden and Wildlife Monitor) and Anna Claxton (Volunteer Development Officer, South East)

Photo: Martyn Stenning

Video: Sam Moore

1 Comment
  • Tim Hewke

    Hi Martyn, brilliant work you are doing, thank you. Is there anything we can do, (sign petition etc.) To help with fending off building work next door?. Cheers Tim Hewke

    July 18, 2021 at 11:53 am

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