West Wickham, Bromley, London – Newsletter Feb 2024

Volunteers back in action, thinning holly and enhancing woodland diversity

Kickstarting the first conservation work party of 2024, the volunteers gathered on West Wickham Common to assist the Ranger in thinning the woodland understory and addressing a dense pocket of holly. While holly is a native species, it can easily dominate the woodland understory, negatively impacting the growth and population of other trees and woodland plants.Armed with bowsaws and loppers, the group steadily worked their way through the patch of holly to open up the area. By doing so, the aim is to allow more light to reach the forest floor, supporting a greater diversity of woodland plants and providing space for new saplings to thrive.

We’re always welcoming new members to the group, so if volunteering with us is something that you would like to try in 2024, do get in touch
Sustainable solutions: West Wickham Common’s new recycled noticeboard

Visitors to West Wickham Common might have noticed the new noticeboard next to the car park; some of you might even be looking at it as you read this newsletter! Slightly different from the old oak board that stood in its place, this new noticeboard is made from recycled plastic but designed to resemble wood. It is crafted to outlive the oak frames that typically succumb to the elements eventually. We hope that this will reduce the need to replace these boards. The board is 100% recyclable, so even at the end of its life, it can be reconstituted into something useful.
Late winter wildlife and signs of spring

With the season shifting and the promise of longer hours of daylight, the birds are noticeably starting to get louder. It is a good time to spot common birds such as robins, blackbirds, and blue tits, but also some winter visitors and rarities, including redwings, which can appear in large flocks to feast on any berries still hanging on.

We’ve yet to spot any on the West Wickham Commons, but another winter visitor, the waxwing, has been seen close by. These Scandinavian visitors don’t always arrive in the UK, but occasionally do in large numbers called ‘irruptions’, and it looks like 2023/24 will be the biggest ‘waxwing winter’ for at least a decade. Numbers like the ones being recorded have not been seen since 2013!

Although it might not feel like it just yet, there are some clear signs in nature that spring is on its way. Head to the woods at Spring Park, and you might start to see bright green shoots of bluebells poking their way through the soil, ready to emerge in their full glory in a few months. As the seasons begin to change, you might also spot a few early wildflowers joining the fray such as common dog violet, wood anemone, and lesser celandine.

We are still welcoming new volunteers and looking at growing our volunteer group. If you are interested in joining or want to know more about what volunteers do on Spring Park and West Wickham Common, please email us and come along to find out more!

Friday 23 February 10am-2pm 

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