My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Esher Commons - restoration or desecration

In 2005 Elmbridge Council proposed and identified their plan for "restoration" of the Esher Commons areas. There was public objection to this - there still is. The plan was formulated to cover a five year period with work being completed by 2010. Some of the objections were raised in August 2007.

One of the recent reports (in late 2008) by Elmbridge states the following

Four areas have undergone restoration works this year; a block around Black Pond, a block to the east of Black pond stretching to the newly restored area cleared in the first year, together with expanding existing areas to the south of the A3 and around Oxshott Bog. (6.5 ha, 16.1 acres in total)
I hadn't been to Black Pond since last autumn - only a couple of months ago it seems. On Monday of this week I went there - I was horrified at the bare open areas around the Black Pond area which had been heavily wooded so recently.

The main thinking behind this clearing debacle is to let the ground return to heathland - to allow heather to grow back - to allow boggy areas to redevelop and attract wildlife. My question is: what about the wildlife that depended on the heavily wooded areas and the trees for the normal life?

I spoke to two or three people on my walk - they, like me, were very saddened at so much clearance and without any plan of replanting. The Council, in their Countryside booklet, have added that the clearance of the trees will allow folks to enjoy the "views". Are these cleared areas what you would describe as a "view" to be enjoyed? I wouldn't!!!

This is what I found..,..,
Ferns growing in a rivulet running through the trees. No shade from the trees = no ferns!

One of the paths between the trees which give shade in the summer, structure in the winter and creates lovely long vistas along the pathways!

This is an area to one side of the pathway from the main road to Black Pond. It used to be a thick wood. I imagine that this is one of the areas to be returned to bog land.

Here you can see (on the right) the pathway to Black Pond. This used to run between wooded areas - it's now open on both sides.

Ice on one of the ponds.

and Black Pond itself. Note the tree line around the pond - how long will that remain?


This is rather strange - a row of about half a dozen trees has been left in the middle. Perhaps they've had a stay of execution.

If you enlarge this picture you'll notice all of the three trunks is marked in red. Does this mean it will stay? or go? I'll find out in due course.


FAB said...

I haven't been there for ages & it's certainly not as I remember. Similar work is being undertaken at Bookham Common (part of a 5 year plan) & whilst it looks dramatic now there is a reason and certain wildlife will benefit in time.

Graham James said...

Hi Tricia,
One can only hope and pray that the interests of the wildlife are the reasons for this work being undertaken. Upsetting the natural ecological balance of an area is so easily done. Putting it right again is not so easy.

Stewart said...

Hi Tricia. While it does look dramatic at the moment, when the bogs become established it will create more of a much declining habitat. It should help dragonflies and marsh plants etc...

Tricia Ryder said...

Graham - fingers crossed.

Frank and Stewart. I'm sure you're right. And I certainly hope so; Black Pond (with one other) is the area on Esher Common where the Emerald Dragonfly breeds; there are also several other dragon and damselflies that inhabit the area. If the numbers were to increase (and other wildlife too) - I'd be one very happy bunny :D

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