News Autumn 2022
Coppicing reintroduced to Cucknell's Wood
Volunteers organised by Surrey Wildlife Trust have started some coppicing work in Cucknell’s Wood. Historically this wood was coppiced, as a way of harvesting the wood, providing stakes and binders for hedge laying and wood for heating.
Coppicing work is only carried out during the winter months, outside the bird nesting season and is a great alternative to a trip to the gym; good exercise in a lovely environment. If you would like to volunteer, register as a volunteer on the Surrey Wildlife Trust website and then you will receive weekly emails listing volunteering opportunities and a link to register for any event.
Cucknell’s Wood has not been coppiced for many years and today the focus is more on creating habitats to encourage biodiversity. Many woodland plants and animals evolved in such woodlands relying on sunlight reaching the ground. Surrey Wildlife Trust has erected a sign to explain the benefits of coppicing.
Results of this year's Big Butterfly Count revealed
Gatekeeper- this year's success story
Many Shamley Green residents took part in this year’s Big Butterfly Count, which ran from 15th July – 7th August. Butterfly Conservation has now released data on the numbers of species recorded.
The Gatekeeper, a Southern species often in hedgerows, woodland rides and gardens, was the most spotted butterfly this year: welcome news as it had its second worst Big Butterfly Count result in summer 2021, and it’s the first time since 2017 that this species has had the top spot overall.
It was good news for the blues as well – with both the Common Blue and the Holly Blue faring well in 2022: these species bounced back from a 2021 low, with the numbers increasing by 154% for the Common Blue and 120% for the Holly Blue.
But unfortunately the overall trend for butterflies across the UK remains a declining one, with the results of the Big Butterfly Count 2022 showing an average of just under 9 butterflies seen per Count, which is once again an all-time low in the thirteen years since the citizen science project began. Species that saw a worrying decline from last year include some well-known favourites, such as Red Admiral, Small White and Meadow Brown.
To see the full report click here.
October 2022 Update on Ponds and Ditches
It was sad to see the village ponds dry during the drought this summer. Lots of Surrey ponds suffered the same fate, but we did discuss with Waverley the land owner and other pond experts whether there were any emergency measures that might alleviate the situation. We were advised not to disturb the ponds during the summer when most plant and animal life including amphibians is most active.
Duck Pond dry in July
Interestingly, although the water had gone there were still froglets in the silt on top of the clay lining in the Duck Pond. Happily, water had returned to both ponds by August.
Water returns to the Duck Pond! Photo taken August 26th
We have used the summer to better understand the pipes and ditches that feed the Duck Pond so that work can be done to clear them and reduce the chances that future droughts will lead to the pond drying up, and to monitor water levels in the Duck Pond more closely. The usually muddy footpath next to Mellow House that runs up to Woodhill Lane was also investigated and found to have a blocked storm water pipe under it, which if cleared could improve the flow to the Duck Pond.
We have consulted some local residents, plus a local water engineer and amphibian and plant experts, and agreed on the clearance of ditches and some of the vegetation around both ponds, and we are going to remove the cover from the rotted Crassula pile and allow vegetation to grow over it.
The rotting upper layer of wood revetment along the Woodhill Lane side of the Duck Pond also needs replacing to hold the bank in place: the Parish Council will commission this when funds are available.
There have been suggestions that silt should be removed from the Duck Pond. This may need to be done at some stage but is not urgent - a layer of silt protects the clay lining from cracking in times of drought - and it will require permission from Waverley and probably Natural England.
Wildflower diary closes for this year
Wood anemones, Birtley canalside, April 22
The Autumn edition of our popular Wildflower Diary is now out, and will be the last this year.
For readers of the October edition of the Shamley Green parish magazine, the wildflowers pictured in our article were wood anemone and yarrow, both featured in past editions of the diary.
Thanks to everyone for your contributions and enthusiasm in 2022!
Court House Green,
The Results of The Big Plastic Count are in - Here are the key findings
How much plastic do we throw away in the UK?
UK households throw away approximately 96 billion pieces of plastic packaging a year.
This figure is based on the fact that, on average, each household who took part in the survey threw away 66 pieces of plastic in just one week. A quarter of a million people took part.
How much is recycled?
Just 12% of the UK’s household plastic packaging waste is likely to be recycled at reprocessing facilities in the UK. Of the rest 17% is exported to other countries to deal with, creating environmental and human health crises, a quarter ends up in landfill where it slowly degrades and releases toxins and microplastics and 46% is burnt in incinerators where it releases toxic gases and greenhouse gases which fuel the climate crisis.
Update - The Shamley Green Swift Project
Back at the beginning of the summer the Shamley Green Swift Project was set up by Kate Elmes Rudd. This simple initiative’s aim is to ensure swifts can continue nesting during the breeding season by increasing the number and density of nesting sites in Shamley Green. The initial goal was to gather expressions of interest from 20 households in the village who each volunteered their eaves and agreed to one, or ideally two, boxes given swifts’ gregarious nature. We are excited to report that this goal has been met and the project has been given the green light for autumn installation. Kate will be in touch shortly, and is hugely apologetic for not being in contact over the summer, she had an accident just before the summer holidays and is still in hospital with some rather impressive metalwork on her leg in particular. She’ll be back home, and back on her laptop very soon.
If you signed-up your eaves, Kate’ll be in touch. There was so much interest Kate’s hoping to arrange a phase two at a later date so do contact email@example.com if you would like to take part in that.
Swift populations are rapidly declining due to the perfect storm of far fewer airborne insects, climate change, and dramatic habitat loss, resulting in their numbers halving in recent years. It’s fantastic to be able to do something simple, yet effective in our village to help them.
For more details about the project click here