Friends of Sharphill Wood Annual Report 2012 – 2013
Annual Report May 2012 to April 2013 – May 2013
Founded 22 January 2008: Fourth Annual Report
There were 10 meetings of the Friends of Sharphill Wood in the year to 14 May 2013. The Annual General Meeting on 8 May 2012 elected Richard Steer (Chair), Phil Miller (Vice Chair), Chrissie Wells (Treasurer) and Bill Logan (Secretary). Jo Miller was also appointed Press Officer and John Elwell Work Party Coordinator. On 13 November 2012 Richard stood down as Chair when the Group appointed Phil as his acting replacement and Mike Rivett as Acting Vice Chair. The Group expressed gratitude for Richard’s service as Group Chair.
There were 77 Friends on the circulation list in May 2013.
The Group developed a Safeguarding Young People and Vulnerable Adults policy to protect volunteers when attending work parties. A new incident reporting procedure was developed and placed on the notice board. A further 3 officers were trained in Emergency Life Support Skills, making 4 in all. John Elwell developed with other officers a Risk Assessment procedure for work parties. David Nicholson-Cole kindly developed a map for plotting hazards and nature sightings. Mike Rivett developed a flyer for issue to walkers on work party days etc.
The Management Plan was reviewed and then discussed with Rushcliffe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to agree a new plan for the next 5 years. A revised version is now under consideration before putting to the Group for comments.
A monthly article has been written by Jo Miller for the West Bridgford News. Information leaflets have been placed in the Rushcliffe Borough Council notice boards nearby Sharphill. An article has also been submitted to the Totally Locally West Bridgford Times online Newsletter.
Rushcliffe Borough Council placed our article on what isn’t acceptable behaviour in their half Spring 2012 Report due to the continued damage caused by off track cyclists and party goers. With the help of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust we have placed bespoke signage on the gates to ask visitors to respect the wood and its wildlife.
Thanks to Jo Miller and Guy Roberts, the web site (http://www.sharphillwood.org/) has been maintained and enhanced, and we also have a presence on Facebook.
The year was marked by an extremely wet summer and so some of our planned nature surveys could not be carried out. However, a nest box survey was carried out on 27 January 2013 during a work party and we are grateful to Gordon Dyne for again carrying out a survey of the woodland plants. Highlights were that 12 of our 51 boxes were occupied in 2012 and there are a recorded 57 different plants including Early Purple Orchid. Regrettably, Rushcliffe Borough Council have identified up to 15 Ash trees suffering from bracket fungus that will have to be further surveyed with a view to felling them. Bird surveys were conducted in late March and late April 2013.
During the period May 2012 to April 2013 we held 8 scheduled Sunday work parties (November and March were cancelled owing to bad weather) and 3 mid-week sessions (in August, December and March). We clocked up an impressive 368 volunteer-hours with an average of 7-8 people on each occasion. In February we were joined by a number of Friary scouts.
An important task was to care for the 1000+ whips planted the previous winter around the edge of the wood (e.g., by removing encroaching vegetation and ensuring guards and canes remained in place). Despite the drought conditions for the first few months after planting, growth during the summer had been generally good, with a relatively low mortality rate. In addition, during winter months we did a substantial amount of clearing of young sycamore and Norway maple, which tend to take over if left uncontrolled, and coppicing of some other small trees. Routine tasks included path maintenance (further edging and wood-chip spreading), filling gaps in the boundary hedge, removing some unsafe fallen branches, litter removal, etc..
The 50+ nest boxes installed in previous years were inspected in January for evidence of use during summer 2012 and cleared out. Metal rings were fitted to the older boxes, to combat hole enlargement by woodpeckers. A further 25 nest boxes were installed prior to the start of the breeding season, and existing nest boxes were surveyed for evidence of use during summer 2011 and cleared out.
At the additional work party in March a few Friends were able to erect our new notice board at the Wheatcroft entrance.
Thanks to all who helped during the frequent unpleasant weather, with very muddy conditions underfoot for much of the year.
This year we managed again to meet our modest requirements thanks to our regular donors. Rushcliffe Borough Council funded us via the Biodiversity grant for additional new bird boxes, which were duly erected. They also purchased a fine new oak notice board for the southeast entrance. The County Councillors gave us a grant to purchase a load of good quality woodchip for the paths, and the Borough Councillors granted us the funds to continue membership of Trust for Conservation Volunteers and our insurance policy. S. Collins & Co funded, amongst other items, 2 leaflet holders to replace vandalized ones. They also kindly provided us with the use of their home for meetings, which meant that there was no requirement for paying for venue hire. Joe Forster gave a private donation to be used at the group’s discretion.
Many thanks to all these donors for their support during the year.
Thanks also to our auditor, Gordon Dyne.
The year-end disposable balance was £688.58.
The Group would once again like to thank Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, especially Gaynor Jones-Jenkins, and Gary Cragg , Paul Phillips of Rushcliffe Borough Council and Gordon Dyne of the South Notts Group for their continued advice and support.
Special thanks are due to The Conservation Volunteers for donating 200 whips of hazel and hawthorn and to Friary Scouts for helping to plant them.
We would also thank Su Collins for the use of her lounge for our regular meetings.
Phil Miller (Acting Chair), Mike Rivett (Acting Vice Chair), Chrissie Wells (Treasurer), Jo Miller (Press Officer), John Elwell (Working Party Coordinator) and Bill Logan (Secretary).