Charles Parkes, on behalf of the Friends, and Tracey Sawyer, Barnet Green Spaces Officer, met during April 2010 to discuss possible future conservation initiatives. She is currently putting together a woodland management plan, but in the meantime, here are some ideas for future projects. Let us know what your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, or send them to: email@example.com
1. Establishment of an orchard in the current picnic area. One of Charles’ suggestions it to plant 7-8 fruit trees (possibly apples, cherries, plum, gage and Medlar) in this area which will be of benefit to the local community. Tracey was very supportive of this initiative and noted that similar orchards have been set up in other Barnet Parks, such as the Old Court House Park , Chipping Barnet. Estimated cost would about £150 which could be part funded by the sale of wildflower plants and herbs at the FOCTW stall at the East Finchley Festival. Alternatively, it might be possible to secure some funding through the `Capital Growth` project. Fruit tree planting would probably take place on a workday in November/ December.
2. Ponds initiative. Within Tracey’s plans, she has proposed developing a number of `scrapes`/shallow ponds within CTW. Ironically, despite the playing field having a previous life as Watercress beds and being incredibly wet over the winter, CTW has no pond or wetland area. The proposed sites for these ponds would be behind and to the west of the tennis courts and also below the play area. These three areas are quite boggy throughout the year so would be ideal for this purpose. Two of the ponds could be dug by volunteers but the larger pond below the play area would probably need to be dug out by a mini-digger. There are grants available for this purpose through the `Million Ponds Project` which matches every £1 raised with £10 from Landfill Tax.
3. Meadow initiative. There was an attempt to develop a meadow in the South West corner of the playing field several years ago. Unfortunately, this did not take, possibly due to the fact that it was too damp for many of the plant species that were introduced. Charles is currently growing plant plugs of different wildflower species which will be introducing over the next few months. If they take, we will be asking Tracey if she could have this area cut once a year in the late summer to help get the meadow established.
4. Further under-storey development. Tracey has also suggested cutting down a small number of Hornbeams within the main wooded area to allow another copse to develop. Unfortunately, the Hornbeam, which would originally have been coppiced on rotation, has been allowed to mature producing a very dense canopy which prohibits the growth of other trees and ground flora. Opening up another area will allow a diverse range of trees to re-generate naturally and provide better habitat for birds and invertebrates as well as encouraging ground flora.
5. Further dead-hedging – There is a suggestion to put a line of dead-hedging on the south side of the main path leading from the East Finchley Station gate. This part of the wood has been quite badly compacted due to the level of foot-fall and a number of trees have been showing signs of stress (eg .branch die-back) as a result. Putting in this hedging would allow for regeneration and reduce pressure on the existing trees. This could be done over 1 or 2 workdays next winter.
6. Further coppicing – There are a number of stands of Hornbeam and Hazel which it would be useful to coppice next winter. They will also provide a good supply of poles for the dead-hedging.
These are our ideas, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts…