Woodland Management Works on Nettlebed Common

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You may notice forestry operations starting at the beginning of January on Nettlebed Common - particularly on Nettlebed Common Wood.

The Nettlebed Estate’s Forestry Consultant have planned the works to remove weaker trees and allow some of the magnificent oaks and beeches to spread their canopy and continue to grow unhindered.

The Conservators and our Ecological lead, Rod D’Ayala have provided input into the scope and scale of the works in order to help improve biodiversity and to protect some of the individual trees that provide habitats for rare species.

In addition, as part of the works, the contractors will be using low impact methods to reduce the footprint of heavy machinery and, at our request, have agreed to undertake some coppicing works to bring some of the ancient coppiced areas back into rotation - opening up ecological niches for some of the histroic biodiverity that would have been found in these type of woodlands.

Nettlebed & District Commons Conservators awarded Grants for Conservation Projects

Supported by the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) with funding from Network Rail’s  ‘No Net Loss of Biodiversity’ initiative on its Greater West Programme, together with other funding secured through biodiversity offsetting, Nettlebed & District Conservators (NDCC) have been awarded grants totalling £31,600 for new conservation and landscape improvement projects on Peppard, Kingwood and Nettlebed Commons. NDCC’s funding application greatly benefited from support by Nettlebed Estate, the Parish Councils of Rotherfield Peppard and Nettlebed, Chiltern Society (with whom NDCC already cooperate on conservation work at Kingwood Common), and Chilterns Conservation Board.

Announcing the grants, Karen Woolley, TOE Chairwoman, said “The conservation projects proposed by NDCC were praised by assessors from both TOE and Network Rail, and will do much to enhance biodiversity on Nettlebed & District Commons. NDCC’s work, and that of The Chiltern Society, is well known to us, and we are confident that together they will successfully deliver these improvements.”  Peter Allport, Chairman of NDCC, was delighted with the awards, saying “This is a really wonderful boost for our conservation work on the Commons, and I cannot overemphasise the enormity of what TOE and Network Rail have done for us.”

Nettlebed & District Commons total 560 acres and were established as common land by Robert Fleming in 1906. Nowadays, the Commons are mostly dominated by secondary woodland, and the main focus of NDCC’s projects will be to open up selected areas by creating woodland rides and glades, thereby encouraging new natural habitats, increasing biodiversity, and improving access for recreation and leisure pursuits. The Commons are widely used, not only by people from Rotherfield Peppard and Nettlebed, but also from neighbouring parishes and from Henley and Reading.

This environmental initiative was launched by Network Rail under its Greater West Programme in order to compensate for biodiversity losses arising from ongoing railway electrification works, and provided the opportunity to advance the Commons conservation programme. Network Rail’s funds were heavily oversubscribed and NDCC was very fortunate that TOE, with Network Rail’s support, were able to secure supplementary funding through other funds available for biodiversity offsetting in order to ensure that the Commons projects were fully financed.

The awards, which were announced in October, are strictly dedicated to the new conservation measures defined in NDCC’s funding application and cannot be assigned to annual operating expenditures or ongoing general Commons maintenance.

The funded conservation work will be supported by NDCC’s volunteer work parties. The Commons are ecologically important, Peppard and Kingwood containing locally rare heathland, and Nettlebed having one of the most important wetland sites in Oxfordshire. They are special; please help to conserve them.

For further information about the grants, and NDCC’s Commons projects, please contact:

TOE: Lynn Parker, 01865 407003 and www.trustforoxfordshire.org.uk

NDCC: Tony Rancombe, 01491 628887, tonyrancombe@yahoo.co.uk

NDCC website: https://www.nettlebed-commons.org/

Online Donations Now Accepted

We are now very pleased to be able to take online payments for donations which many find more convenient than printing out and posting our paper form. You will also have an opportunity to sign up as a Friend of the Commons as you go through the payment process if you would like to be kept abreast of our news and projects. Please click on the “Find out How To Support Us” page if you would like to make a donation towards the work the Conservators and Volunteers do.

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