FRIENDS OF RADIPOLE COMMUNITY WOOD

Report of Meeting Thursday 12 June 2003

 

 

Present:

 

Steve Coombes

Cathy Owen

Neil Cross

Ray Miller

 

 

 

 

Neil and Cathy Cross and Steve Coombes met with Ray Miller (landscape architect, WCS) and members of the Weymouth Council Conservation Team that comprised of Danny Alder (DCC Conservation & Local Nature Reserve Officer), Ian Cross (DCC Conservation Ranger) and Wayne Hopes (Conservation Ranger Assistant). The aim of the meeting was to gain an idea of what we, the council and WCS would like to see happen to Radipole Wood over the next few years. 

After introductions discussion turned to progress at RW. There was wholehearted agreement that the south and central part of the wood was growing nicely and was a very good local resource. It is apparent that at the far end of the site (north towards the school) some of the trees are struggling to grow in the nutrient poor clay soil. The advice from Danny and Ian was to cut back the saplings here and allow the area to develop as a meadow. The tree cutting is a winter task due to nesting birds. Some of the notable species mentioned were: oxeye daisy, corky-fruited dropwort and knapweed.

As the council supervise more than 30 local sites and has very limited resources it will be up to volunteers to do most of the work such as coppicing. Danny proposed that a 'Volunteer Day' be arranged at which training can be given. This would allow 3rd party insurance cover for the 'Friends of RW'. There is scope to have close links to BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) If there is enough interest other days should be organised to allow the participation in varied interests such as botany, entomology, bat-watching and bird-spotting.

Talk turned to how we were going to get the people of Radipole involved in their wood. To this end a 'Friends of RW' group should be developed through instigation of a public meeting. Publicity for this could be through a press release to 'The Echo', local radio, as well as fliers and posters at supermarkets and schools. The 'Woodmouse and Hawthorn' logo that Cathy has made will be a good focus for this work. Wayne and Ian appeared happy to give a slideshow for this event at Radipole School or another local venue. Danny's idea of linking RW with the school's Local Nature Reserve (LNR) may give extra scope to advance the profile of both sites. Kingston Maurward College have already worked at the school LNR and may be invited to participate at RW.

The management plan that was submitted in March 2003 will need considerable development following views expressed at this meeting. Consultation will be made with Ray Miller to give WCS an input to the plan. Neil, Cathy and Steve, as representatives of 'Friends of RW' will need to develop a formal constitution that has a Treasurer and Secretary with audited accounts. Charitable status may be more difficult to manage and will probably not be sought. Other funds may be available from local or national governmental bodies.

To drive through the vision we have of the woods (and meadow) we may need to liaise with the group that carried out the woodland planting at Sherborne (Slot Bog I believe). They have ideas and experience with setting up a locally initiated plan. Another helpful group may be S.W.A.N. (South-West Action Network). The web-site that Steve has been developing will be an important point of contact with other groups, allowing the possibility of sharing links. A good contact in Weymouth is Neil Arnold who has been involved in LNR's and wildlife studies in Dorset. I believe his knowledge will be useful. I think it would be a good idea if we (Neil, Cathy and Steve) meet very soon to take advantage of the impetus we and the DCC have given the wood.