Roe Deer numbers are at their highest level in the Country for at least 1,000 years. Until about 20 years ago they hadn’t been seen in the upper valley for centuries and at one time were nearly extinct in England.
Their present numbers make the practice of coppicing a difficult activity when all regrowth is constantly nibbled back. Piling brash on cut stumps does help to a certain extent but not for long.
Fencing an area of land is expensive and time consuming; it is also ineffective as the Deer always find a way in. Of course when they are in it is almost impossible to get them out! In effect you are creating a perfect inclosure where deer can happily browse.
So how to manage woodlands when thinning out the trees and expecting them to coppice is a frustrating failure?
Pollarding could be done as it is a practice that goes back into the mists of time and probably predates coppicing.
It has the advantage of being better for wildlife and all regrowth is above the browsing height of deer. The trunk increases in girth each year, providing many vertical habitats for wildlife not available on coppice. The cycle of cutting regrowth from the bolling opens up the woodland floor to sunlight, benefitting flowers and butterflies.
One has to query why it is totally out of fashion. There is a lot of misunderstanding of the practice but it could be part of any woodland management plan.
By cutting a pollard Oak the sapwood is rejuvenated and dormant adventitious buds are stimulated into growth.
Second photo showing Hawthorn hedge just layed and since then all the thorny brash has been piled alongside to keep the Deer from browsing new growth.
Recently cut pollards first done about 30 years ago and now in their 3rd cycle
If you want a grass species that is easy to identify, choose Poa annua (annual meadow grass). It is nearly a certainty that you will have no difficulty because in deepest winter this grass will be the only one in flower. Look at any pavement or roadside edge in urban areas and you will see it everywhere.
Frosty weather makes no difference to its flowering. It is normally self-pollinating and seeds are viable within only a couple of days.
It is a highly variable species and can be annual or a short term perennial. Annual Meadow Grass is actually a hybrid of Poa infirma and P. supina, a fact only verified in 1957 by Prof. TG Tutin. It was a puzzle to think how these 2 species had hybridised, as supina is found in the mountains of central and northern Europe and infirma is found in arid Mediterranean regions.
It is suggested the 2 species got together in the Quatenary ice-age when climate change caused glaciers to move. So Poa annua is a relatively recent hybrid formed 2½ million years ago!
Unlike other grasses, P. annua has an innate ability to resist herbicides. It also seems to be able to develop specialised adaptations and growth forms which enable it to grow on dry golf courses or paddy fields.
It is the only non-native plant to have successfully established in the Antarctic and because of its close association with human activity, has spread throughout the world.
Sorry–no photo. Non needed, just take a look on the pavements.
See poster a few posts down.
All welcome, including members of the public.
Seven members and friends joined in. We had a record 32 species of bird on the day. Previous record 31 on 1.1.2017. We walked from Clay House through North Dean Woods, round Norland Moor and back through the woods by a different route.
With many thanks to MH for the Little Owls.
2 Blue Tit
3 House Sparrow
6 Collared Dove
9 Great Tit
10 Long-tailed Tit
11 Coal Tit
12 Feral Pigeon
17 Black-headed Gull
27 Mistle Thrush
29 Little Owl (2)
32 Song Thrush