Events in 2016

Overall, the main progress and events in 2016 consisted of:

  • continued elimination of rhododendron and gaultheria in various patches
  • planting of three liriodendron tulipfera trees in subcompartment Com 1
  • significant extension of the growing network of dead hedging that is planned to eventually link most parts of the wood
  • continued felling or pruning of small Scots pine to increase light reaching woodland floor, particularly in subcompartment Com 3
  • moth trapping sessions by entomologist Martin Angel of the Bourne Conservation Group found a total species count for the year of 157, including two of the species not previously seen - the cloaked carpet and the bilberry pug

A local pre-school group continued to use the wood for their nature laboratory.


20 Dec Sprinkled bone meal fertiliser round all hedging planted in last three years. Growth has been (apparently) slow, not a surprise in a wood that is probably nutrient-poor.

15 December In subcompartment Com 3 thinned pines in area V-X-Y. Added transverse batons to sections of footpath FP218 to improve grip.

Liriodendron tulipfera

13 December Planted three liriodendron tulipfera in the area cleared last March (see below) of rhododendron and gaultheria. Known by a variety of names including Tulip Tree and Canary whitewood, they will provide vertical structure, habitat and food for animals and insects. Though not native to the UK, liriodendron has been in Britain since at least 1581. It's foliage is attractive to deer, so protection will be crucial.

With Noel Moss and David Dearsley of the Bourne Conservation Group we met John Baker of Surrey Countryside Access to discuss the addition of steps to central footpath FP241.

Obtained good video of field vole in and on dead hedging.

9 December In subcompartment Com 1 (points TG-GE) thinned pines and birch around a reasonably-sized oak. More removal of rhododendron in higher (southern) part of this sub compartment around point H. Video from trail camera showed widespread mice and vole.

November Working with RH in sub compartment Com 3 (points TP-Y-VR) we cut down many small conifers to increase light reaching the woodland floor. This part of the wood remains dominated and in many places darkened by an excess of Scots pine. Near point TP created a fully enclosed area of dead hedging around part of the thinned area, adjacent to the central footpath. Extended further the line of dead hedging to meet line created in previous years.

In subcompartment Com 1 (points TN-UH) cleared many small pines in the natural heathland area on either side of Marjorie's path, to encourage the growth of the existing heather.

At point U, uprooted many scattered shoots of gaultheria and a few rhododendron that were regrowing from remains of old roots.

28 October In response to reports of material being dumped at the Old Frensham Road entrance to the wood (point A), visited Sable Wood, my first visit since July. Organic material had indeed been dumped, culprit unknown. Used it to advantage by incorporating it into a short length of dead hedging at the OFR entrance.

07 July Moth trapping session by entomologist Martin Angel of the Bourne Conservation Group. He wrote ... had a very successful trapping session in your wood last night. There was very little wind and the temperature stayed warm (15C) until midnight. There were over 200 moths of 73 species (that I could identify) in the trap and another 4 or 5 that challenged my abilities. The total species count for the year now stands at 157. Two of the species last night I have not seen before - the cloaked carpet and the bilberry pug - the presence of the latter is not surprising given the amount of bilberry growing there..

05 July Met up with Woodland Nursery pre-school group on their penultimate visit to the wood before the end of the 2015-16 session. Unknown to me this turned out to be my last visit to Sable Wood during the 2016 summer.

29 May Moth trapping session by entomologist Martin Angel of the Bourne Conservation Group. He wrote ... had a remarkably good trapping session in Sable Wood ... at least 153 moths of 53 species I could identify - my best session of the year so far and well worth the effort of lugging the generator up the hill. The most notable catch was the little thorn, which is a rarity in Surrey - its larvae feed on bilberry.

April In subcompartment Com 2 continued re-establishment of SE boundary fence using holly, rhododendron and oak branches. Continued removal of gaultheria, creating more dead hedging with the waste and with previously cut rhododendron. Felled dead pine tree because trunk had rotted almost completely and was dangerous.

15 and 23 Mar Near-final removal of rhododendron foliage and stems in subcompartment Com 1. Some roots still to be removed.

In subcompartment Com 2 felled three trees in preparation for rhododendron and gaultheria removal. Began re-establishment of boundary fence at the SE edge of the wood, using mainly holly for dead hedging, with some rhododendron.

Rhododendron removal in subcompartment Com 1

03, 09, 18, 24 and 29 Feb, 1, 5 and 8 Mar Continued removal of rhododendron and gaultheria in subcompartment Com 1, extending the dead hedging in various directions.

Felled some small pine in subcompartment Com 3 near the glade, to allow more light to reach existing oak and sweet chestnut.

Thinned conifers in subcompartment Com 1 near the amphitheatre.

19, 21 and 25 Jan Began removal of large patch of rhododendron in subcompartment Com 1 that merges with rhododendrons in Winns' garden. Cut the bushes back to the boundary fence and removed roots. Laid dead hedging alongside the boundary fence.

12 and 13 Jan Helped Woodland Nursery children to engage in practical woodland management tasks.

6 Jan Began moving oak limbs to top path in preparation for footpath repair there. More gaultheria removal and dead hedge construction in subcompartment Com 1.

1 Jan Meet the owners day, where mulled wine was served to local walkers and members of the Bourne Conservation Group.