Sunday, 8 April 2007

Shottendane Copse (Site 2)

(Project 2 on Projects Map)

This little stand of trees on the corner of Park Road and Shottendane attracted the Trees for Thanet Group's attention in the spring of 1996. It was on the land tenanted by The Linington family at Somali Farm and Mr David Linington let Trees for Thanet adopt it. The trees were mainly old Ash and Sycamores with dying trees, Hazel and one English Oak. The very obvious feature as the photograph shows, was a 100% ground cover of what must be the scourge of Thanet, 'Alexanders'. The first task was to cut out all the 'Alexanders' and remove years of dumped rubbish. A nurse at Margate Hospital was re-united with her handbag that had been stolen the previous autumn and thrown out of car!

The ground clearance revealed nothing re-generating or growing under the 'Alexanders'; this weed starts growing in the late autumn and through mild winters and has established an impenetrable barrier to light before any other seedlings get started in the Spring. A home-made ranch fence was put up as a boundary and the site kept neat and tidy.

In the late spring of 1997 as The Group had won a BT Environmental Competition, the prize money was planted. The following were planted: 3 broadleaved limes; 2 horse-chestnut; 2 London Plane; 2 holly, 12 assorted shrubs. There was concern about the late planting and a very hot dry summer and lack of mulch sheet, resulted in casualties. It was eventually decided to use weed-killer to kill off resurgent Alexanders and natural regeneration of Ash, Sycamore and an Oak has happened.

3 dead trees have been felled, tit nesting boxes placed and ivy removed from trunks. The ground flora has improved with bluebells, snow-drops and lilly of the valley among a much richer ground flora of herbs and grasses. In 2005 daffodil bulbs were planted around the perimeter to give a touch of spring colour.

The main problems encountered have been litter discarded from passing cars and fly-tipping and the re-entry of Alexanders. In the summer of 2006 we had a visit from yobs on to the site who decided to kick over tree-guards and snap two of our ,then 12 foot high Limes!

In March 2000 a grant from TDC 's Community Chest enabled a nice new fence to be constructed around the edges of the site. Since then it has had to be repaired no less than 5 times due to speeding idiots who cannot stay on the road. The luckiest young driver manged to go through the fence and through the site and onto Mr Linington's ploughed field on the other side without hitting a major tree.

No comments: