Wonersh Common woodland revival

Waverley Borough Council is working with Surrey Hills Enterprises, Guildford Borough Council and the Forestry Commission as part of the West Surrey Woodlands initiative. The aim is to bring more woodland sites back into active management for the benefit of wildlife and the local community.

As well as bringing local woodlands back under more active management the initiative will help provide a strategic plan for the rest of Waverley’s woodland sites.

Management is vital for woodland biodiversity, with ground clearance and tree removal important to allow light to penetrate the woodland floor enabling natural regeneration, species and age diversity and space for a variety of ground cover species including bluebells. It will also reduce the increased incidence of trees collapsing due to weak root systems as a result of overcrowding. 

Wonersh Common is in need of management as overcrowding of trees and uncontrolled growth of holly has made the woodland very dark and limits its potential to support biodiversity. The proposed work forms part of the woodland management plan for this site, developed in line with the UK Forestry Standard and which has been reviewed and approved by the Forestry Commission.

 

Planned activites at Wonersh Common

Activites will take place during October and November 2017 to minimize the disturbance to ground flora and fauna and nesting birds.

In addition to these planned activities, we are now finding that a relatively new disease which is affecting Ash trees (Ash Dieback) has infected many trees at Wonersh Common over the last couple of years, especially along the Chinthurst Hill side of the B2128, with the impact becoming increasingly visible.

Although the disease doesn’t always kill outright or immediate, affected trees are often attacked by secondary pathogens such as Honey Fungus which will cause root decay and instability. As a result, such trees which are within falling distance of roads and properties will have to be removed.

Key activities at the site will include :

  • tree felling through thinning, removing weak, dying or diseased trees and those affected by crowding
  • opening up some of the worst areas of now overgrown ground cover (including holly)
  • pathway clearance to enable greater access for local people and encourage woodland species such as butterflies who use cleared pathways and rides to forage for food.

 

What you might notice as we work on site

Heavy machinery will need to access the site to help us remove some of the larger trees. There will therefore be some disruption to the ground conditions but the site will recover from this. Chainsaws will also be in use.

We will be using external forestry contractors at the site within the woods who will be undertaking the work. Trees that require removal or tree surgery will be dealt with by specialist tree surgeons and some of the time they will have to use traffic controls to ensure the safety of road users.

Timber from both activities will be stacked inside the wood at the entrance of the site just off the access lane to Great Tangley, ready for transportation off site.

It may be necessary to temporarily fence off some areas of woodland whilst these management activities take place for health and safety reasons, to protect forestry staff and woodland visitors.

Please follow any safety signage on site.

 

What to expect when the work is completed

Initially the site may look messy as extracting the timber can cause temporary ground disruption. This will soon be covered as new growth takes hold next spring. We hope to see an increased species diversity and over time, also greater age diversity both of which will not only improve biodiversity but also increase resilience against pests and diseases.

Clearing the undergrowth should allow better public access into the woodland to enable the local community to continue to enjoy this site.

Some areas of the woodland may be managed by restricting unlimited access for a time to allow the ground to recover and for young shoots to begin to emerge and give them a chance to grow without being trodden on.

Page owner: Harri Robinson. Last updated: 13/10/2017 16:09