Dallington Forest Walk #1

Posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy (Tree Champion, Dallington and Brighton): We may not be able to restart group walks for a while due to COVID-19, so I’ve started putting together self-guided walks in the forest for people to use at their leisure. This is the first of (hopefully) many so I would really value your feedback on content, presentation and whether you found it helpful in guiding your walk.

Dallington Forest Walk No. 1 Ancient Forest Ghyll, Hollow Ways and the PoW Tree

Map of walkOn this walk you will experience one of Dallington Forest’s ancient woodland ghylls full of majestic veteran Beech trees, prehistoric rippled sandstone beds and the Prisoner of War tree, and also hollow ways formed by the feet of many millennia of travellers.

In Spring the ancient woodland ghyll is full of the sight and scent of stunningly beautiful bluebells and ransoms (wild garlic).  The starting and finishing point is the end of the metalled surface of Bakers Lane, Dallington. This is also the junction of three footpaths and a bridleway. Unfortunately, there is no car park here or in Dallington Forest and the nearest public parking is the lay-by on the B2096 at Wood Corner.

Download the full walk with map and descriptions:   Dallington Forest Walk 1

Length: 3.2 km (2 mi) [includes 1.5 km round-trip from/to car-parking]
Level of difficulty for people in normal health:

      • Under 50 yrs = Easy; you’ll hardly notice it
      • 50 – 60 yrs = Good exercise; it’ll raise your heart rate
      • 60 – 70 yrs = Taxing; you’ll know you’ve done it
      • Over 70 yrs = Quite challenging

Thinking of planting trees or hedgerows?

[Posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy]

Map showing Dallington Forest Project Area
Map showing Dallington Forest Project Area

Have you been thinking about planting some woodland or hedges on your land?

Our beautiful AONB in the High Weald is characterised by interlinked pockets of ancient woodland and small irregular-shaped fields and it is important to maintain and enhance this as much as possible. So, of course, it has to be ‘the right trees in the right places’.

Your Brightling and Dallington Tree Champion is seeking landowners with suitable land in Brightling and Dallington parishes that falls within the Dallington Forest Project area (see map above – larger version at end of this post) for planting-up of small woodlands or hedges. Dallington parishioner Jamie Simpson has a source of funding for the supply of native trees together with the necessary protection from rabbits and deer. The cost to landowners would be for planting labour and follow up aftercare necessary for successful establishment.

Suitable planting projects would be:

    • Creating new woodlands (with the proviso that important grassland or heathland habitat is not damaged or destroyed)
    • Creating new woodland to link existing pockets of ancient woodland
    • Filling gaps in neglected or poor condition hedges to restore them
    • Replacing some of the enormous number of hedges that were removed in the 20th century’s drive for bigger agricultural fields

Planted trees/hedges must be able to be appreciated by the public, so must be within sight of a road, right of way or on public land. Grants need to be applied-for during the summer so that the funding is available for an autumn/winter planting project.

If you are interested in this project please contact me as soon as possible.

Doug Edworthy, Tree Champion, Brightling & Dallington Parish Councils  treewarden@dallington.org.uk 07711 090925

Map showing Dallington Forest P
Map showing Dallington Forest Project Area

 

Rare Black poplar trees looking for a planting place

(Posted on behalf of Doug Edworthy):

Rare Black poplar trees looking for a planting place

Photograph of black poplar leaves
Image credit; © Copyright Robin Stott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Our tree Warden, Doug Edworthy, has had a great response from people willing to have one of the rare (and free) Black poplar plants growing on their land.

Due to the generosity of Wakehurst Place (the Kew Gardens outstation where clones of the remaining Black poplar strains are being cultivated) we have six plants more than we have planting places!

These Populus nigra betulifolia can live for up to 200 years and grow to 30 m (100 feet) high. They are the food plant for the caterpillars of many moths, including the hornet, wood leopard, poplar hawk and figure of eight. The catkins provide an early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and the seeds are eaten by birds.

Doug is looking for land that is boggy or wet, close to a watercourse or on a floodplain owned by someone who would value having one of our rarest trees on their land.  If possible, a planting position within sight of a road or public right-of-way would be preferred so they are visible to the public.

They must all be planted by the beginning of March before bud-burst so please get in touch with me urgently if you are interested. Contact details at the end of this message.

To protect the trees from deer and rabbits, and ensure their best start in life, Doug will provide netting, stakes, rabbit guards, tree-ties, mulch and other planting accessories which he has purchased himself, so he would be grateful if the landowner could reimburse these costs at £20.44 per tree.

Also, any help to dig holes and erect fencing would be gratefully received as a total of 29 trees need planting before March.

Email treewarden@dallington.org.uk
Mobile 07711 090 925
Tel 01435 830195

Looking for volunteer tree surveyors

The Woodland Trust is looking for volunteers to take part in the Observatree project which aims to protect the UK’s trees, woods and forests from new pests and diseases.

Volunteers receive training to enable them to correctly identify signs and symptoms of Observatree’s 22 priority pests and diseases as well as carry out effective site surveys

if you are interested, you can find out more at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-with-us/opportunities/tree-health-surveyor-various-locations/

Sheep killed by dog(s) in Dallington

A farmer with land close to Dallington Forest has just informed us that a dog or dogs have killed two ewes, that a further lamb was missing and other ewes had bite marks and injuries. The whole flock has been traumatised.

The dead ewes were found yesterday [Thursday 24th May] but it isn’t known when the attack occurred – it would have been between an inspection the day before and yesterday afternoon.

A number of owners let their dogs run free in Dallington Forest and on a number of occasions this Spring have been seen running around on this piece of land. But, as the attack wasn’t witnessed, it’s not known if the dog(s) came from that direction.

Naturally, a close watch has been mounted of this flock as dogs getting a taste for sheep-killing tend to return.

Particularly at this time of the year owners need to keep their dogs under close control.

Dog owners should note that farmers are within their rights to shoot any dogs found worrying sheep.

Dallington Community Speedwatch Group

(posted on behalf of Andy Bagnall)

The Dallington Community Speedwatch Group (DCSWG) was formed at the end of 2017 with the objective of trying to make our Parish roads safer.

Strict rules govern where, how & when we can operate & as a consequence we are currently limited to monitoring the very dangerous 40mph stretch of the B20096 that runs through the centre of our village

At the moment we have 7 residents who all have undergone the necessary two-stage training process. This is not onerous- the 1st stage is undertaken online & the 2nd consisted of a session in the Old School run by a police representative.

Clearly the more trained operatives we have, the more times we can be active on the roads & hopefully the safer we can make them. So if you would like to join us & help make Dallington’s roads safer, then please go to communityspeedwatch.co.uk or contact the Dallington group co-ordinator andy_bagnall@btinternet.com

Guided walk in Dallington Forest Monday 7th May

On Bank Holiday Monday 7th May our Tree Warden Doug Edworthy will be conducting a 1-2 hour circular walk in the part of Dallington Forest closest to the village. Nothing too strenuous, though the walk will involve fording a stream, climbing over fallen trees, muddy and slippery paths, and some steep ascents. But, providing they don’t go over too quickly, walkers will experience the sight and scent of beautiful bluebells in an ancient woodland ghyll full of majestic veteran Beech trees,  prehistoric rippled sandstone beds and the Prisoner of War tree.  Afterwards, for anyone who still has the energy and time, Doug may add on another hour or so of circular walk through more ancient woodland and planted forestry illustrating the challenge faced by the remnants of ancient woodland in Dallington forest.

The meeting point is the junction of the Baker’s Lane bridleway with the Glaziers Forge track at 10:30 for a 11:00 departure.  Please note there is virtually no parking for cars so walking there is the best option. If you would like to come, please email Doug at treewarden@dallington.org.uk  so he knows how many people to expect.

Tree walks

Those of you who enjoyed our tree warden’s fascinating talk last year about the extraordinary riches of Dallington Forest will be glad to know that Doug is working on plans for some guided walks through the forest when conditions are a bit less muddy. Watch this space for further details in due course. Meanwhile, there is an opportunity to join a historic woodland walk in nearby Mountfield led by Peter Miles. Details below:

THROUGH TREES & TIME
Explaining our local landscape

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
Sunday April 22nd, Friday April 27th,Sunday April 29th, Sunday May 6th, 2018
Start: 9.30 am            Distance/Time: Only 2 miles, minimum 3 hours.
Terrain: Easy but brambles and mud so wellies; lots of standing as well.
Start: Mountfield Village Hall. Free parking. Loos available at start/finish.

Following the success of this walk the last four years, Peter Miles will be repeating it this year. The walk is based in a small area of Mountfield off rights of way, deep in private woodland, with features ranging from pre-1250 to the 20thC. Trees and plants provide extra clues. This is history under your boots. The main purpose of the walk is to explain why our local High Weald landscape looks as it does and will cover details such as woodland archæology, medieval earthworks (wood banks, 13thC moated site), other industrial remains (mine pits, quarries, kilns),woodland crafts (coppicing, sawpits, charcoal platforms), plus botanical clues including a rare plant population and an even rarer tree, foraging (with recipes), and more. One underlying theme is the network of old roads across the Weald including the old Sow Track from Penhurst’s Tudor furnace to Robertsbridge Forge. This year, rewriting local history: a visit to a newly discovered, very secret, unexcavated R***n iron site. Above all, the emphasis will be on fun.
Well behaved dogs on leads welcome. Not really geared for children, even if on leads. Take home info pack. Cost £10.00 per person — profits to All Saints Church. First come, first served…

To book, or for more details, contact Peter on
savedarwell@gmail.com or 01580 880 614.

Walk sponsored by Darwell Area Conservation Society

Dallington Forest Ancient and Veteran Tree Survey

The comprehensive and detailed survey of the ancient and veteran trees in and around Dallington Forest has recently been published. It was carried out by Jamie Simpson and John Smith and  funded by the Peter William George Smith Charitable Trust, and it can be downloaded from a page on the High Weald AONB website http://www.highweald.org/high-weald-aonb-management-plan/evidence/420-home/research-reports/2316-dallington-forest-tree-survey.html

This report highlights the importance of ancient and veteran trees at Dallington Forest. The study is the result of an extensive project aiming to establish and promote the ecological value of the area and advise on best practice in managing the landscape.

The research has confirmed that high numbers of veteran and ancient trees are characteristic of the Dallington Forest area, a well-wooded area with a long history of woodland management that is typical of the High Weald AONB.

A total of 1014 individual trees and 15 groups of trees were recorded (987 alive and 27 dead). There were 22 species of tree and shrub, with beech (41%) and oak (33%) dominating. In terms of age class 49% of the trees were veteran and 6% were ancient.

Many of the trees, particularly those in woodland, require sympathetic management to remove competitive growth (haloing) following the cessation of traditional woodland management. This will benefit species associated with veteran and ancient trees, particularly those that utilise decaying wood (saproxylic), as they require some light and warmth.