This post is an edited version of the Woking Biodiversity Partnership Volunteer Work Party Report 2016.
This has been a very successful first year for Woking Biodiversity Partnership (WBP) with over 500 volunteer hours recorded. The majority of the work was carried out on our first site, St John’s Lye, which is an SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest). At the end of the year we have opened up at another SNCI site on Millmoor Common. Assistance was also provided at Mayford Meadows.
The experience gained in the first year has provided valuable information and will allow us to proceed in 2017 with an improved knowledge of the sites and how they can be managed more effectively. Monitoring of the areas worked on and some of the measures taken will give us more data to study.
During 2016 we had over 40 volunteers put their names forward to attend work parties on St John’s Lye. We now also have 13 volunteers for the new site work on Millmoor Common. In the summer our own volunteers were joined by 19 members of the Mayford Village Society to help with the removal of Himalayan Balsam alongside the stream.
A total of 540 hours (77.1 days) were completed on these sites.
St John’s Lye
This was our main site due to size and diversity. The site has recreational grassland, woodland, heathland, drainage dykes with running water and a pond area. The work undertaken comprised of the clearing, widening and drainage of selected path areas and the removal and disposal of invasive species.
The majority of the time was spent on the removal of cherry laurel on the east side of the Lye from the back of St John’s Church along the side of the path up to the railway footbridge. The path was widened to its original size and nearly all the laurel was removed from the left hand side area. The extent of the laurel in this area was far more than we had originally anticipated. This cleared area will be monitored during 2017.
Work was undertaken alongside the path on the western side of the Lye starting at the footbridge over the canal and going approximately 100 yards to the east. The other main work was carried out on the heathland area to remove invasive species.
Log piles were created in each worked area of the Lye. Insect scrapes were dug out on the heathland and corrugated sheets were laid out for reptile monitoring. Common lizards, a slow worm and a grass snake were spotted on the heathland.
The area on the right side of the path from the small bridge up to the railway footbridge has been left untouched for the time being due to time available and also as a dense area for the wildlife following the full clearance of the other side of the path.
During January to April 2017, activities will concentrate on the following areas:
- The area alongside the tarmac road from the children’s playground up to the railway footbridge.
- The area around the pond.
- The heathland.
- The path from the church up to Jackmans Lane
It is also hoped to create an area where wild flowers can be introduced on the north side of the old football pitch.
It has been decided to thin several areas during 2017 as much as possible rather than clear one area entirely. This is due to the time needed to fully clear one area and also to help limit the spread of invasive species over a larger area. Consideration will also be given to clearing areas where there is not much laurel in an attempt to stop it taking hold.
Work parties will be held on the third Sunday of each month. In addition weekday work parties will be arranged on a monthly basis.
The first work party started at this location on 11 December 2016. Clearance work was carried out around the pond area. 21 hours (3 days equivalent) were completed.
Work will continue on the fourth Sunday of each month during 2017. A plan of the areas to be worked on will be produced. Separate equipment will be provided for this location.
Surrey Wildlife Trust requested that WBP carry out a work party on 17 July to remove invasive balsam along the stream. A total of 24 hours (3.4 days equivalent) were recorded. A further work party was arranged in conjunction with the Mayford Village Society on 7 August. The hours recorded for the combined group were 63 (9 days equivalent).
In July/August 2017 it is proposed to have a joint exercise involving Woking Borough Council, Surrey Wildlife Trust, WBP and Mayford Village Society.
WBP has set up a blog which shows our aims and objectives and site plans plus news on our activities. The link is https://wokingbiodiversity.wordpress.com/.
The next work parties are planned for Sunday 29 January and Wednesday 8 February 2017. To find out more, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org