Wivenhoe Woods

Have the community noted that the main path eastwards from the picnic area has become so over grown with brambles and nettles to make it virtually impassable. A direct result of the rather severe coppicing which we are led to believe will not damage the colony of blue bells as in time the undergrowth will die down.
Alternatively is it a deliberate policy of Colchester Council so they can claim this part of the woods is totally unused and thus can be zoned as potential land for housing.
is it just me or have others noted that the management of the woods seems to be the worst of all the woods managed by Colchester Council?

Comments

  • Do you mean the entrance on Beach Avenue/Elm Grove? 
  • the path that runs parallel to Woodland Way towards Beech Ave/Elm Grove
  • A lot of the work in the Woods is done by volunteers.  Perhaps Liberty should join a working party.

    Richard Moulson is the person to contact to draw attention to the problem.
  • i already do  quite a lot of work cutting back to keep paths open and picking up plastic. The problem is that a large part of the woods have been designated as wild so no work is undertaken in these parts, other than by myself and Richard knows of it
  • I quite like the fact that it is somewhat wild.  There are big wide paths for those that like that sort of thing, and more natural ones for those that way inclined.  I can't say I've noticed any real change.
  • in the context of the area designated as "wild", this means no management at all, so branches and trees blown over or just collapsing as being diseased go unattended regardless if it renders an area as unpassable and for natural streams to cease functioning.

    The area in question was a bargaining chip when the old owner wished to construct his own property at the bottom of Elm Grove. The price, he had to donate the woods to the community. CBC decided they should take ownership and not even offer it to WTC but because of its location it is difficult to manage and they are unable to find a contractor to undertake the work as they are unable to exploit the value of the wood.

    Call be old fashioned but as a community asset should it not be accessible to the community or should we accept that Wivenhoe Woods are controlled as to the areas the community should have access to.

    What other areas of our community will CBC restrict us to in the future, all in the name austerity of course.

    We only live on the fringes of CBC so what the hell are views on the mega city proposals can be ignored so restrictions in movement is logical.








  • Maybe the forum is not the best place to bring this to the attention of those you think need to do something about it?
  • liberty said:
    in the context of the area designated as "wild", this means no management at all, so branches and trees blown over or just collapsing as being diseased go unattended regardless if it renders an area as unpassable and for natural streams to cease functioning.

    The area in question was a bargaining chip when the old owner wished to construct his own property at the bottom of Elm Grove. The price, he had to donate the woods to the community. CBC decided they should take ownership and not even offer it to WTC but because of its location it is difficult to manage and they are unable to find a contractor to undertake the work as they are unable to exploit the value of the wood.

    Call be old fashioned but as a community asset should it not be accessible to the community or should we accept that Wivenhoe Woods are controlled as to the areas the community should have access to.

    What other areas of our community will CBC restrict us to in the future, all in the name austerity of course.

    We only live on the fringes of CBC so what the hell are views on the mega city proposals can be ignored so restrictions in movement is logical.

    A very interesting point and I think this is something that should be bought to the attention of forum members.
    I, for one, never realized our the land was handed over.







  • KST and Others - If you are interested to understand why the Woods are now owned by a public body ie CBC instead of still in private hands, you should read the 1970 newsletters of the Wivenhoe Society whose Secretary and then Committee and members fought a tremendous campaign to secure them for the public. The owner at the time. Leslie Kemble, even had his solicitor threaten residents with trespass if they entered the Woods!

    I have put the early history of the Wivenhoe Society onto the Wivenhoe History web site - click here for those 1970 newsletters.  
     

  • Thanks Peter
  • With the greatest of respect Marika as this topic concerns the entire community I would have thought this was the correct platform

    As PeterH has written the entire woods being open to all was the result of a community led effort .Interestingly, even at the last borough election one of the proposed candidates visit the woods and expresses concern and a desire to see it better managed but sadly when elected the matter appears to have forgotten.

    The management of Cockaynes Wood puts Wivenhoe Woods to shame. Would they be interested in taking over the management of the woods which would allow CBC to retain ownership or could WTC take over ownership of the woods.

    As you walk around Wivenhoe you can tell the open spaces owned by CBC and those of WTC by the management of those spaces and how often the grass is cut.

    As a community I believe we need to preserve this vital community asset, the woods play a vital part in helping to cleanse the pollution in the air but not so good when the trees are mutilated in the name of coppicing.





  • edited July 18
    liberty said:
    As you walk around Wivenhoe you can tell the open spaces owned by CBC and those of WTC by the management of those spaces and how often the grass is cut.
    Councils should be urged to leave more grass uncut at the appropriate time, and there is good public support for this.
    https://www.buglife.org.uk/news-&-events/news/huge-public-backing-for-councils-to-reduce-grass-cutting-to-help-save-our-bees
    https://www.plantlife.org.uk/application/files/4614/8232/2916/Road_verge_guide_17_6.pdf
  • ...but there is a difference between leaving grass uncut for longer - the green opposite Millfields being a case in point - and leaving more grass uncut. One may consider it is the difference between neglect and management....?
  • edited July 18
    Absolutely right. 

    The Plantlife link above is good on that point. 

    "Firstly, early cutting dates reduce floral diversity over time. Deprived of an opportunity to seed, early cutting encourages the vigorous growth of robust, long-lived species that are more likely to spread vegetatively.

    Secondly, late cutting dates also reduce floral diversity over time. If cutting is delayed too late in the season, this encourages the build-up of a thick ‘thatch’ of dead and dying vegetation forming a mat over the soil. Again, this encourages the growth of more vigorous species that don’t rely on open soil for seed to germinate, as many of our wild flowers do. 

    Even worse is no cutting at all; if grasslands and verges are left uncut even for just one year their composition begins to change and species begin to decline. Basically, grassy verges are very sensitive to changes in management and there appears to be a narrow window of opportunity each year – from mid-July until the end of September – when cutting helps to maximise species diversity."


    The key is for Council's to understand when is the appropriate time to cut, in most cases far less often than at present.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22671186
  • So is the suggestion that we should encourage WTC not to be so diligent in their duties and CBC in other parts of the borough.
  • It's a question of encouraging all councils towards the right type of diligence...
    http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/Bees-needs/cutgrasslessoften

  • liberty said:
    As you walk around Wivenhoe you can tell the open spaces owned by CBC and those of WTC by the management of those spaces and how often the grass is cut.
    Councils should be urged to leave more grass uncut at the appropriate time, and there is good public support for this.
    https://www.buglife.org.uk/news-&-events/news/huge-public-backing-for-councils-to-reduce-grass-cutting-to-help-save-our-bees
    https://www.plantlife.org.uk/application/files/4614/8232/2916/Road_verge_guide_17_6.pdf
    Absolutely right Roger, it is all about appropriateness. Leaving grass uncut for the whole summer, or on an even longer (Ferry Marsh, much of Lower Lodge) for example is clearly appropriate when the management aim is predominantly wildlife. And that needs at least occasional scrub removal, often criticised by the public.

    In contrast, WTC land management (with the arguable exception of the Old Cemetery, although even that went wrong last year) is far from appropriate for wildlife, and is along the lines of the presumed desire for (over)tidiness among the human users. Which is why Wivenhoe Watching Wildlife is working closely with WTC to try and identify management changes which will enhance wildlife, save money, and be neutral to positive in the hearts and minds of human users in several parts of the town.

    As far as CBC management of the woods goes, firstly we can only hope that the 'over-tidying' mentality never gets a foothold. The land is a Local Nature Reserve - the clue is in the name. They are managed for Nature, and benefits to us are largely ancillary, being able to benefit from experiencing the wildlife encouraged by the management.
  • liberty said:


    As a community I believe we need to preserve this vital community asset, the woods play a vital part in helping to cleanse the pollution in the air but not so good when the trees are mutilated in the name of coppicing.


    Do you feel mutilated by having a haircut...

    The coppicing of trees is an activity which has always taken place since humans started to use wood. The production of useable/useful assets has faded away in recent decades, but fortunately the management is entirely consistent with the maintenance of high wildlife value. Which has value to us in its own right: for pleasure and inspiration and study, and as shown by numerous research studies, physical and mental health benefits to those who experience the natural world.

    Yes it can look drastic in human timescales. But failure to maintain continued availability of the different woodland habitats, from closed canopy to clearing) within a large woodland block will lead to local extinctions, many of which may not be reversed. And then we should also look at in terms of the trees' lifecycles - coppicing actually extends the age to which a tree can continue to live, potentially by several centuries. So I feel 'mutilated' is a bit of a harsh way of looking at it...


  • Isn't it great that we have such expertise available to us and to our council(s)...!

    It is one thing having expert advice available; it is another choosing to take it and act on it.

    Watch this space I guess...
  • Lets hope such an approach is taken when the Mega City takes shape, which is being built on undeveloped land around a brook.
    From the plans and density of buildings in must surely become a concrete jungle unable to sustain much animal/insect or plant life at all.
  • It could be argued that the whole thing has been designed by pond life...
  • Bit of an insult to pond life, surely?
  • I agree: brain dead seems a more appropriate term for this ludicrous approach to house planning/development...
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