Following receipt of many concerns regarding the recent clearance in parts of the copse, we have received the following response from the ranger.
“Over the past many decades, woodland management at Zebon Copse has been somewhat absent. Since 2012 we have put in place a woodland management programme to try and help restore the woodland flora and fauna. This work is carried out in stages with the previous compartment being coppiced a couple of years ago and the first compartment a couple of years before that. Over the next 8-10 years, further, similar work will be carried out in the wooded areas to the north of the site reducing the thick, choking understorey of holly to open up the woodland floor. Holly has little value for wildlife other than the odd berry for food (only the female trees).
Whilst this work may seem a little damaging at first, it will in the long run allow much more light down to the ground providing optimum conditions for more wildflowers and other flora to flourish. It will also allow other tree species such as hazel to flourish, rather than being overwhelmed by the holly. These new saplings will create a much more valuable understorey for the wood itself and for wildlife too; better nesting sites for birds and food sources for butterflies, for instance.
The works are in line with our woodland management agreement.
The works are now complete for this year, but as the wood is so close to housing we don’t have bonfires to get rid of all the cut material. Bonfires are used on our other more open sites, but the amount of smoke and ash would be detrimental to the local residents, hence why we don’t have them here. Traditionally, this material would not have grown so tall/mature, it would have been cut long before now and would have been used for rural crafts such as hurdle making, fencing, brooms and the like, but due to the current size and amount of cut vegetation, it has to be chipped and/or stacked. The material will rot down quickly as has been the case in the other two compartments already worked on and the display of wildflowers will hopefully be better than ever. We also hope to use some of the cut material to create a dead hedge to the southern edge of the site to support the collapsed fence currently in place. The larger lengths of wood will be removed.
We are very mindful that not everyone welcomes work such as this, but if we left it, all the trees would eventually decay, so for the longevity of the woodland, some woodland management is necessary.”