Events in 2015

Overall, the main progress in 2015 consisted of:

  • virtual elimination of rhododendron in sub compartments Com 1 and Com 3
  • planting of 200 items of native hedging in various locations
  • beginning of a network of dead hedging that is planned to eventually link most parts of the wood
  • felling or pruning of a number of small trees on the top slope adjacent to Forestry Commission land, to open up the view over Lower Bourne

Further, in September a local pre-school group began to use the wood for their nature laboratory.


30 Dec Began removal of a further patch of gaultheria near Point U, in Com 1. Looks like Gualtheria removal and continued creation of dead hedging is going to be a recurrent theme through 2016.

1 and 15 Dec Extension of dead hedging using mainly felled small Scots pine and broom in Com 1. The dead hedging now extends to either side of Marjorie's Footpath at Point G.

20 Oct, 12 and 26 Nov Commenced winter programme of removal of gaultheria, starting in Com 1.

14 Oct First visit of the 2015/16 winter intervention period. Noted soil erosion of paths due to heavy rain. Some rhododendron roots attempting a comeback but not a serious problem. In Com 3 felled some small Scots pine to continue process of deconiferisation, creating more dead hedging with the material. Installed five dormice boxes in Com 1 and Com 3.

Cleared litter left around a den, constructed by persons unknown during the summer holidays. Don't mind the den, but the litter is disappointing.

Inspected the hedging planted in 2014 and 2015. The hedging left inside Tubex in general seems to be doing best, though all hedging in Com 1 including honeysuckle seems to be doing well whether in or out of Tubex. The hedging planted in 2014 in Com 3 is making very slow progress. No blackthorn plants seem to have survived.

28 Aug Moth trapping with Martin Angel of the Bourne Conservation Group.

16 Jun Found that a Welcome to Sable Wood ... sign had been removed from NE entry point. This had been a very deliberate, forced removal.

29 May Checked for return of gaultheria in patch cleared with help from BCG members on 18 March. Very little had returned and this was quickly removed. Found that a dormouse box had been used for a blue tit's nest. Removed rhododendron stumps in Com 1.

14 Apr Removed rhododendron stumps in Com 3 and constructed a short length of dead hedging at Point Q. Top dressed a section of FP218 with leaf litter.

Added two Welcome to Sable Wood ... signs at S and N entry points to the wood.

8 Apr Cleared up after some minor vandalism during the Easter break: a few Tubex uprooted and scattered and around 20 wooden stakes stolen (later found to have been used as firewood). Fortunately no hedging plants were damaged. Added more material (holly and rhododendron) to the dead hedge at the Viewpoint.

In sub-compartment Com 3 surrounded the last of the hedging still in Tubex with holly and pine brash, then removed the Tubex. The line of dead hedging that follows the old Tilford-Frensham parish boundary was extended further and now reaches well over halfway to south end where it will join up with the live hedging planted this year.

1 Apr More thinning of Scots pine and birch in the highest area (Top Slope) of Sable Wood to further open up view over local landscape. In sub-compartment Com 3, after laying brash protection, removed the Tubex from the hedging planted in March 2014.

28 Mar More thinning of Scots pine in sub-compartment Com 3 and construction of dead hedging with the felled material.

19 Mar Thinned Scots pine and birch in highest point of sub-compartment Com 2 to open up view over local landscape. Constructed dead hedging with the felled material.

18 Mar With members of the Bourne Conservation Group, removed a large patch of gaultheria from sub-compartment Com 1 and construction of dead hedging with the felled material.

14 Mar Creation of first line of dead hedging in subcompartment Com 3 using thinned Scots pine. The plan is to extend this in various directions, with gaps, to provide habitat, wildlife corridor and locus for vegetation growth.

5 Mar Planted the last of the 200 hedging (for the 2014-15 winter period) in subcompartment Com 3. This forms the south end of the line of hedging that will run along the old Frensham-Tilford parish boundary. The north end of the line was planted in March 2014. Eventually the two ends will be joined but in the interim dead hedging will be used to fill the gap.

Hedging planted to mark SW entry to Sable Wood

27 Feb Planted a short line of native hedging in subcompartment Com 3 to mark the southwest entry point to the wood.

This area is relatively dry and it will be interesting to see how many of the plants survive or thrive.

25 Feb Planted more native hedging in subcompartment Com 3 to extend the line planted in March 2014 to reach the oak tree. Tubex removed from March 2014 planting, on assumption that pine brash provides sufficient protection against deer. Some Scots pine to the south removed to allow more light into the oak and the hedging.

In sub-compartment Com 1, in area recently cleared of rhododendron, removed unwanted (ill-formed or partially dead) oak trees.

24 Feb Planted around 10 native hedging in subcompartment Com 2 to mark the southeast entry point to the wood.

Hedging planted to mark SE entry to Sable Wood

Cut down a number of conifers in sub-compartment Com 1 west of Marjorie's Path, near Point N. This continues the general plan of deconiferisation of the wood as a whole. The specific purpose in this area is to give more space and light for the heather.

In sub-compartment Com 3 cleared a number of pine and birch to allow more light to reach the oak tree adjacent to the eastern footpath (near Point R). Removed the Tubex from two of the hedging plants planted in March 2014, to see if the barrier of pine brash is sufficient to protect the hedging from deer. Growth of the hedging would be better if it were free of the Tubex.

17 and 18 Feb Completed planting of 100 mixed native deciduous hedging in subcompartment Com 1 in area recently cleared of rhododendron. The hedging, described as RHS Wildlife Friendly Native Mixed Hedging , consists mainly of Crataegus monogyna, (Hawthorn) and smaller numbers of Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn), Corylus avellana (Hazel), Cornus sanguinea (Common Dogwood) and Acer campestre (Field Maple). This hedging mix is designed to reflect rural hedging.

10 and 11 Feb Initial planting of English wild honeysuckle (Lonicera Periclymenum) in subcompartment Com 1. Preparations made for planting of mixed native hedging.

Before clearance, the trees were surrounded by rhododendron. Gaultheria extended beyond the mound on the left. All the cuttings have been piled on top of a further area of gaultheria, with the intention of weakening it.

6 Feb Clearance of isolated rhododendron bushes in subcompartment Com 1. The stumps were left in the ground and will be uprooted during the summer.

Relaunched removal of gaultheria in this subcompartment. There are several large areas of this species but the good news is that towards the centre of the patches, where the plants are tallest, they are relatively easy to uproot.

Near the northeast entry point to the wood, cleared some holly to increase the light reaching the ground, where bilberry and other shrubs are trying to become established. Holly is a major issue at the northern part of the wood, dominating the vegetation and cutting out light.

29 Jan In subcompartment Com 3, felled a number of small Scots pine to provide more light to woodland floor and for existing oak and sweet chestnut. Used the pine branches to create what is planned to be a deer-proof barrier for the hedging planted in March 2014. If possible the Tubex will be removed to allow the hedging to grow more freely.

Top-dressed footpath with leaf litter.

21 Jan Last of the single large area of rhododendron in subcompartment Com 1 cleared.

Before (beginning of Nov 2014)


7, 14 and 16 Jan Further clearance of the large mass of rhododendron in subcompartment Com 1 and construction of dead hedging with the waste branches.