Author Tom Simpson
Gatwick Greenspace Project Assistant People and Wildlife Officer
Last week Gatwick Airport was awarded the Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark Award
As the temperature has steadily dropped over the last few months, bizarrely, the numbers of volunteers have steadily increased and Gatwick’s woodlands in particular have reaped the benefits of this conservation drive.
Upper Picketts Woods, located in the land to the east of the railway line, is a typical low weald woodland. The abundance of multi-stemmed hazel in the understory suggests coppicing has been practiced here for some time. This traditional technique of cutting Hazel and allowing it to re-grow produces a healthy crop of straight, strong and flexible poles, and diversifies the woodland structure to support a variety of wildlife - an all-round good practice.
With this in mind we recently set to work on a neglected coppice compartment. Over a three-week period from late October, our volunteers helped to manage a healthy woodland habitat by coppicing hazel stools, grading and sorting the usable poles (into hedging stakes and binders), and creating habitat piles from the left-over brash.
The Biodiversity Benchmark Award is a great way to round-off the year. It shows just how important the input from GAL and all of the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership's volunteers has been. We’re all looking forward to building on Gatwick’s conservation credentials as we head into 2015.