• Gabbie Joyce

Kett's Hill Community Woodland - June 2021 progress update

Overview

Cow parsley and hawthorn blossom

Over the past few months, we have made significant inroads to the site along a main route that will form the primary access track for site management and along a top footpath route that will ultimately link Kett's Hill with St Andrew's Lane.




What we have been doing


Every Saturday morning, when weather permitted, work was undertaken by a working party. Covid restrictions were in place, and this impacted our ability to welcome volunteers on site. We are hoping to revisit this policy as we head into the summer. However, our Trustees are also volunteers, and activities on site during the past five months (Jan to May) has exceed 230 manhours.


We are focusing on clearance of dead and overgrown tree material, and our thanks to Phil, who purchased a commercial grade chipping machine specifically for this project. This has allowed us to recycle our cuttings and generate our own chippings on site. These will be used to mulch paths and other areas of interest around the site.


We have also begun some boundary hedge planting, thanks to the donation of 19 young hawthorn plants. We regularly inspect the site boundaries for intrusion, and it is pleasing to note that there has been no recent evidence of trespassing or fly-tipping.


Top footpath along north boundary


A woodland footpath

A priority for this project is the provision of a direct link between Kett’s Hill and St Andrew’s Lane. One such link is taking shape along the northern boundary, where many hours have been spent levelling and sculpting the route.


There are areas where the path narrows and will require a supporting structure (a boardwalk) to provide safety. Plans and methodology are complete, materials will be purchased shortly, and installation is anticipated during the summer.


Flora & Fauna

blue tit outside their birdbox
A family of blue tits has moved in.

A volunteer registered with the RSPB annual bird survey and undertook a survey of bird activity on the site. His report is on our website. He returned to the site in May, a busy breeding month for birds and reported a slight increase, which is pleasing.


Clearing has allowed sunlight to filter through to the ground level in many parts of the site and this has prompted the arrival of some native wildflowers, such as primula, cow parsley and Arum Maculatum.


We have begun to add other natives, such as foxgloves, poppies and forget-me-nots.


Willow Structure

Thanks to Paul who donated several willow whips to the project and recently they were planted to form the starting framework for a willow hide.


Other similar natural structures will be installed around the site, providing stopping and sitting places.



Finances


Initial site clearance and tree surveys project: Norfolk Community Foundation approved our grant application in January and the match funding received from Necton Parish Council in December, will enable us to proceed with clearing this site and establishing a base from which to define the scope of the tree population survey and management plan.


Boardwalk project: General fundraising and Trustee donations will finance this installation.


Next Stages

looking skyward through tree canopy to blue sky

As spring turns to summer, we continue to assess the site. We have begun to identify and tag trees in preparation for a specialist tree survey. This survey will become the starting point of long-term tree management.

With the help of a volunteer and specialist equipment, we will be contour mapping the site.














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