Horley Conservation Group - May Update

Coppicing for wildlife

On Sunday April 19th volunteers from the Horley Conservation Group, Catherine Baart, Dave Hampson, Marriott Perrett, Judith Walker, Robert Egli, Lucas Young, Ian Preddy and Jan Spratt joined Kevin Lerwill for another ‘bite’ at the willows in the balancing pond off Wheatfield Way where work had started a month earlier.

Because the water had recently drained out, the group managed to coppice an area in the centre of the pond (see photos) which will increase light levels into the pond and allow marginal vegetation to grow around the edges, which in turn, will increase bio-diversity. The aim is to return to this task again in about a years time, or just under...Thanks again to Thames Water for allowing us to do this work.

Although March is traditionally when the coppicing season ends until the Autumn again, it was decided that we should undertake another session here again as the water had completely drained from the pond in recent days allowing access to the willows in the centre of the pond without getting wet. I had checked the area a few days beforehand for any nesting birds, but luckily none were found.

By doing this, we have greatly increased the amount of sunlight reaching into the remaining trees and this will not only encourage the marginal plants to spread around the edges, but it will also open up the canopy to make the pond more visible from the air for birds (such as Moorhens) and bats, which often use natural ponds as feeding areas in the summer, as well as being a more attractive site for predatory insects such as Dragonflies, which rely on ponds with dense marginal vegetation to complete their life cycle.

Now that some of the willows have been coppiced, it will also be a lot easier to return in a few years time to re-cut them at a comfortable height before they get too tall. The remaining willows will also need to be coppiced in a similar way over the next few years, with the help of the Horley volunteers again.

The next HCG task date is on Saturday 16th May.  Follow this link for more information.

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