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Author Topic: Woodland improvements in Barlow Wood  (Read 1375 times)
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Dave
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« on: January 17, 2012, 12:16:57 PM »

Crossing the Roman Bridge the other day, I spotted a new notice.  It announces that the council has received some grant funding from the Forestry Commission for improving various area of woodland around the borough.  One of these is Barlow Wood, which is the rather scrubby area of steep woodland between the Roman Bridge and Strines Road.  Looks like good news:  http://www.stockport.gov.uk/services/leisureculture/parksandrecreation/treesandwoodlands/woodlandmanagementgrant     Smiley
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Councillor Kevin Dowling
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 10:25:23 AM »

 Hello Dave,

I refer in deference to your recent posting regarding the proposed nature management project in Barlow Wood. I considered that the following elaboration might seek to further inform your opinion and that of your fellow writers and readers.

Barlow Wood is located to the east of Strines Road, at approximately SJ966 873. It is designated as a site of "Biological Importance", reflecting the value of the woodland for biodiversity. The site is under Council Ownership. The Senior Ranger who covers the site is based at Etherow Park.

The nature project that you optimistically refer to and I should say that I wholeheartedly share your optimism, will focus largely on the removal of non-native invasive species such as Himalayan balsam,rhododendron, laurel and also the removal of regenerating non-native species such as sycamore and beech trees. In some areas it should be possible to selectively 'thin' the trees. I am informed by those that know that 'thinning' is necessary to allow more light to reach to reach the woodland floor which in turn should encourage more plant species to grow and also increase their variety. This process also helps to increase the age range of the trees and shrubs that are already present in the woodland.

The project is expected to commence on Wednesday, January 23rd, for a duration of 4/6 weeks. There might be some waiting time for an information board which has not yet been designed but this should be the only omission and if delayed will tag on to the end of the project.

As well as thinning there will also be planting of small trees (known as whips) which will be undertaken in areas where thinning has taken place. Bird boxes will also be put up on site. It is also part of the project to improve the path along the river which can get very muddy. There is also provision as mentioned,  for an "interpretation board" insitu which will provide information about the wildlife which is to be found in the woodland.             

The non-native invasive species which I feferred to earlier tend to spread quickly and out compete everything else. If left to devices the result is a woodland habitat dominated by these "invaders" rather than a woodland that has a wide mix of species. Even some native species have a similar impact. The strategy is to selectively target the regrowth of the species and to minimise the amount of mature trees which are removed.

It is more beneficial for wildlife to have native species present. In rough example of this the number of insects supported by an oak tree is far greater than the number supported by a sycamore tree.

Hope that this helps and that you feel that this is an exciting little project and one that will be beneficial to the Community.

For further information on the programme I will be inviting the project officer to come to the Area Committe, scheduled for Wednesday, February 15th, to make a presentation and answer any questions.

Finally can I take this opportunity, belated though it is - to wish you, your fellow posters and readers on this forum and indeed the whole  Community of Marple & High Lane a Prosperous and Happy New Year.


Best of Intentions

Councillor Kevin Dowling



       
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hollins
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 10:34:00 AM »

I'm sure that it is nice to have managed woodland. However, the definition of what is "non-native" seems to be a bit stretched. I'm no biologist but I would have assumed that beech and oak recolonised the British Isles after the last Ice Age at about the same time. What is wrong with sycamore and beech?

Is there such a thing as racism when it comes to trees?
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Councillor Kevin Dowling
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 11:44:15 AM »


Hello Hollins,


Thanks for your response. I like your first sentence full of hope and optimism. Not to sure about your Ice Age assumptions but as you say you're "no biologist". I don't believe that there is anything 'wrong' with any trees - I might be wrong but I don't think 'wrong' was mentioned.

Anyway, once again thanks for taking the time to respond. 

I made the post to inform and I truly hope that it does.

As a rule I don't get involved in internet debate - no criticism of those that do but for me it can be a waste of a man's life. So I'll just say   Last word? - Final Word!   


Councillor Kevin Dowling
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marveld
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 01:29:52 PM »

Quote
The woodland management will focus largely on the removal of regenerating non-native species such as sycamore and beech trees and the removal of invasive species such as rhododendron.

You learn something every day! I never knew that rhododendrons were considered a problem.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/rhododendron

The Keg Wood at Etherow has a tunnel made of rhododendrons!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27955898@N07/4700586971/ 
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David Myers
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 08:05:46 PM »

Quote
The woodland management will focus largely on the removal of regenerating nonnative species such as sycamore and beech trees and the removal of invasive species such as rhododendron.

You learn something every day! I never knew that rhododendrons were considered a problem.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/rhododendron

The Keg Wood at Etherow has a tunnel made of rhododendrons!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27955898@N07/4700586971/ 
Rhodendron is a huge problem as its very evasive and also spreads a disease called ,  one common name is sudden oak death.  The national trust and other large landowners are tackling this problem with strength.  It also covers the lower canopy / floor of the woodland, which in turn prevents fallen / dormant seed stock from propagating etc.

Can only agree with you regarding the tunnel in etherow, it's an excellent example.
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My login is Henrietta
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 11:58:23 PM »

I'm sure that it is nice to have managed woodland. However, the definition of what is "non-native" seems to be a bit stretched. I'm no biologist but I would have assumed that beech and oak recolonised the British Isles after the last Ice Age at about the same time. What is wrong with sycamore and beech?

Is there such a thing as racism when it comes to trees?
Sycamore has only been in the UK since the 16th century so not considered "native" (a bit like "new comers" to Marple!) although it is thought to have been in Ireland since the Ice Age. It isn't  particularly invasive in undisturbed woodland but does like to colonise disturbed land (such as where trees have been felled for whatever reason) so perhaps the proposed work in Barlow Wood might exacerbate the sycamore "problem".

It has also been found to be useful in providing important wildlife habitat, among other things the aphids which "prey" on its leaves are an important food source for dormice which is one of Britain's most endangered species and protected by law.

Oddly, beech is considered a native tree in the south of England but as non-native in the north.
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Dave
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2012, 11:08:41 AM »

It is also part of the project to improve the path along the river which can get very muddy.

We had noticed!   That's very welcome news.   Smiley
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Dave
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 05:38:48 PM »

Work has started already - much felling of trees and clearing of undergrowth has been taking place this week, and it's already looking better, though the fearsome tree-shredder has certainly churned up the mud.   
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Blossom
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 05:53:24 PM »

Oh not more mud.  As a daily dog walker I am starting to dream of mud.  Seriously though, if it makes the path along the river easier to negotiate then even more mud initially will be worth it.
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Dave
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 04:53:38 PM »

Walked the dog along there this afternoon - lovely spring-like day.   Smiley  Work is still going on - chain saws buzzing - and they have started laying out the new pathway between Lumb Barn/Lumb House and the Roman Bridge.  With any luck it should become a mud-free zone soon - hallelujah! 
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hollins
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 11:26:17 AM »

I presume it is unconnected with the Barlow Wood chainsaws but somebody seems to have completely decimated two entire fields of mature trees in the adjacent woodland along the Strines Road.

Also, maybe I'm imagining it but one bit of Strines road does seem to be gradually descending into the river (just east of the never-to-be-finished riverside property at the end of the village.) It's more than a minor pothole on a bicycle.
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