This morning two members of the Friends group met with Paul Highman (Park Manager), Robert Roach (Contracts and Services officer) and Joe Ogunbiyi (Quadron) to discuss various aspects of Dog Kennel Hill Open Space and Wood.
The Friends of DKH Wood have asked if we can take over the management of the wildflower meadow from Quadron for a test period of two years. The thinking behind this is that the harsh mowing that machinery does is not conducive to meadow management. One member is keen to learn scything techniques and this method is much more likely to yield good results than the pulping action of the council mowers. The plan is to section off the meadow into two areas and cut these at slightly different times. The cuttings will then be left on site and turned for a period of 7 days before being removed and placed in the wood to rot down. Quadron will continue to maintain the wildflower verges within the park and this will provide us with an interesting benchmark to see if our scything is making any difference or not. We will contact the council team to report every 6 months so that any concerns arising from our management of the meadow can be addressed.
We have often wondered why Stephen Charles the original contractors planted three oak trees in the middle of the wildflower meadow, next to the orchard trees. As tehse grow they will crowd out the fruit trees and block out the light so the meadow will not grow. We discussed the possibility of these 3 trees being moved in Autumn and re-planted in DKH Wood before they get too big.
The second willow dome is not doing so well. A lot of the willow is dying (see the brown bits) whereas a few areas have survived and are sprouting. The main problem seems to be the lack of water. It is not ideally placed either, being under a tree which will suck all the water out of the ground. We agree that the approach should be that the Friends tighten up the current structure by tying string and adding coppiced holm oak so that the dome does not fall apart. We will then consider using potted willow plants to bulk up the willow content: as these already have roots they are more likely to survive.
The resin path that runs through the orchard towards Sainsburys is cracking up again (see Path Repaired July 2013). This may be out of contract in which case the council will need to repair it. We warned the park manager about the imminent arrival of 3000 students in the nearby Kings College halls of residence and the impact this may have on the fragile path!
The 3 bins in the park are often overflowing as the park has proven a popular spot with the contractors from the Kings halls of residences. This rubbish then gets spread about the area by the local foxes. It’s lovely to see the park being enjoyed and used but if the infrastructure can’t cope now, it’s probable it may not cope with the influx of students mentioned above. The current bins are emptied daily already by our friendly park binman. Adding more bins is an option, or emptying them more than once a day. The situation has been noted and we will keep an eye on how things pan out.
Two panels of the green metal fence around the wood have buckled due to the weight of a falling tree. This has been noted and the council repairs and maintenance team will investigate.
It has been noted for some time now that certain “adult” activities have been taking place in the far corner of the wood nearest the fence with Sainsburys. This in itself is not a problem.. what IS a problem is the amount of litter that these people leave behind: used toilet paper, condom wrappers, beer bottles and fag packets. If anyone involved is reading this PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEX LITTER HOME! The Safer Neighbourhood Team will be informed and park liaison patrols will be stepped up.