Woodland Group: The early days

Snape Woodland Group — The early days

[Priory Wood was founded and developed by Snape Woodland Group in 2003-05, and this first piece was written probably around 2014.  Most of the former members have moved away or are unfortunately no longer with us, so GreenSnape's volunteers have assumed responsibility for the plot's maintenance and continuance of its ethos, outlined here.]

Snape Woodland Group is a charitable organisation formed through affiliation to the Green Light Trust, working to create, develop and maintain a new area of woodland in Snape. … Although no longer affiliated we maintain contact with the Green Light Trust and continue to take interest in their projects and development.

Our purpose is to provide a new facility for general enjoyment of our community as well as to encourage local children and adults to get closer to nature and actively participate in building a greener future.  Since its inception in 2003 the Group has managed to acquire an extendable lease on a piece of land well situated within the village boundary, as shown on the map.

The site covers just over two acres and is situated in a lovely peaceful spot.  It was chosen because it had good potential for making an interesting woodland site including a depression which could form the basis of a new pond.  Up until we acquired it the area had been used for arable agriculture, growing crops such as potatoes and wheat.  It is bordered on one side by a public footpath linking Church Road to Gromford, on two sides by existing mature hedges and on the last and shortest side by a farm track.  The location is ideal because the footpath provides easy public access while the farm track enables us to access the site with machinery should that be required.

Progress to Date

Since acquiring the site we have done a substantial amount of work and we have now planted hundreds of trees in new hedges and open planting schemes.  The site has been completely fenced with rabbit wire – although this seems to be more effective at keeping them in than out! We have created a clay lined pond in the depression in the centre of the site and this  successfully held a decent amount of water up until about 2010 when a very dry summer dried it out and caused the underlying clay to crack.  Since then the pond has unfortunately been dry even after heavy rain.  We are currently considering whether to try and reinstate the pond, but this is a significant undertaking.   We have also put up a sign made from an oak trunk and erected a notice board.  We hold regular planting events where people can bring trees to plant and these have been popular and successful.

Flora & Fauna Survey at Priory Wood Autumn

To help us track how the wood and its environment evolves as it changes from agrictural land to woodland we are periodically recording tracking the flora and fauna; this is the latest survey:

Birds
Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove, Swift, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Woodlark, Swallow, House Martin, Dunnock, Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Yellowhammer.
(19 species)

Mammals
Fox, Rabbit, Short-tailed Field Vole.  (4 species)

Amphibians
Common toad.  (1 species)

Butterflies
Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Clouded Yellow, Brown Argus,Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, Grayling, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet.  (14 species)

Dragonflies
Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Emperor, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter.  (5 species)

Other Insects
Hornet, Red-tailed Bumble bee, Field Grasshopper, Great-Green Bush-cricket.  (4 species)

Plants (80 species)
Highlights: Field Pansy, Perforate St.John’s Wort, Corn Spurrey, Common Mallow, Small-flowered Cranesbill, Climbing White Bryony, Changing forget-me-not, Common Broomrape, Henbit Dead-nettle, Common Fleabane, Bristly Ox-tongue.

 

Priory Wood’s Winter Boost!
Posted on January 23, 2016

Snape’s Woodland Group has recently been delighted to receive three separate donations of trees for Priory Wood plus a fantastic gift of £200 from Snape’s Carol Singers following their successful nights out raising money for good causes.

We have received a award of 105 trees from the Woodland Trust.  These we have mainly planted these very young whips along the boundary to improve the hedging density.  The particular selection of trees we selected was described by the Trust as follows:

In our ‘wildlife’ themed tree pack you’ll get oak trees plus trees which are great sources of food for wildlife – hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn, silver birch and hazel.  These packs are free for schools and community groups to plant on school grounds and public (or publicly accessible) land, where they’ll grow and provide people with enjoyment for generations.  Wildlife will thank you, too!

In the last few days a Snape resident kindly donated us nine more trees, this time they were larger specimens and included a couple of cherry trees which we’ve planted by the ‘pond’ area to brighten that area up in the spring and a walnut tree as well as some beeches.

We have also received and planted five fruit trees from the ‘Scattered Orchards’ initiative being run by Suffolk Coast & Heaths.  We think having some fruiting trees on the site will add another dimension and allow people to do a bit of scrumping in years to come!

The aim of the ‘Scattered Orchard’ project is to plant five traditional varieties of fruit or nut tree in Parishes in the AONB.  Suffolk and Essex once had many traditional orchards, but these are now disappearing from the landscape.  Planting small groups of traditional fruit or nut trees on publicly accessible land means people can benefit from the trees.  People can enjoy the blossom in the spring and eat the fruit and nuts in the autumn.  The trees will not only provide habitats for a variety of wildlife, they will also bring people together for a community project which will be there for future generations to enjoy.

The wood is now getting close to full – it has really taken off in the last three years or so and begins to look more like a wood than the bare field it was not so very long ago!

Many thanks to all our contributors and supporters.

 

 

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