In a news story last year I wrote about the ongoing work to revitalise the Cypress Woodlands that surround the Lower School site in order to bring them back into use and make them more attractive to wildlife. This year the work continues as we clear old debris and bramble from the slopes between the school playing field and Cypress Road to open space and allow sunlight onto the woodland floor. We have had great success in opening out an access path which will eventually go all the way around the site to join with the gate at the pond area. This is the second year of a four year project and we are using the principles outlined in the Royal Forestry Society’s ‘Improving your woodland’ document. Eventually this path will go all the way through the woodlands and link up with the pond area by the advneture playground.
One of the things that we are trying to do is to improve the variety of trees in this space as there was a predominance of self seeded sycamore which, although a useful tree in its own right, was dominating this area and crowding other species out. This week we have planted seven new trees in the wood – three oaks, a birch tree, an alder, a London plane and an bird cherry. In addition we were successful in a bid to the Woodland Trust who are distributing free trees for schools and communities and they have sent us 105 saplings for a new hedge. We chose a double depth ‘hedge for wildlife’ and our hedge now includes hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn, silver birch, hazel and common oak. The fence around the field will be replaced this winter and we hope that beyond that these saplings will eventually grow into a good sized hedge for birds and other wildlife. The path will now be extended further so that the children can visit this new area and we hope to have some good challenges for them to enjoy in this wood next summer. We will keep our community updated as works continue and will undertake further planting in the spring. The next stage will be planting 500 new bluebells which should be undertaken in March.