Ramblings from Finemere Wood

English oak leaves in autumn by Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Charlotte Karmali brings the latest news from the volunteers at Finemere Wood

Autumn is here with its glorious spectrum of deep warming colours, from yellow through golds and oranges to purples, magenta and reds.

The Finemere Wood volunteers have cut and raked grass endlessly over the summer months and are more than ready to swap their rakes for sharper weapons; the winter work of clearing scrub and trees can begin.

Long Close Meadow, the ancient meadow in the midst of the wood, is the first site to feel the force of the fearsome Finemere volunteers. For too long this feisty group have been held back by rakes. 


Volunteers at Finemere Wood by Charlotte Karmali

Birch trees dominate here. Fast growing and producing a mass of seeds, this opportunistic species would quickly colonise the meadow if left unchecked, reducing the conservation value of the habitat.

The exuberant team set forth to tackle these resilient trees, none too big nor tough to take on.

The silver birch drop one by one, revealing other species in their midst; amongst them, slow-growing, slim oak trees. In this newly open environment, selected oak trees will be able to spread their branches and flourish in all their majesty.

English oak

English oak by Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

The English Oak (Quercus robur) with its broad open canopy, spreading far and wide when unobstructed, will stay slim in a forest. Reaching 20 - 40m in height, the oak can live to well over 500 years. Acorns are not produced until the tree is at least 40 years old, the oak reaching its peak of fertility between 80 - 120 years old.

Quercus robur provides a number of very rich habitats and can support more species than any other native tree.

Hundreds of invertebrates will inhabit a single oak tree and this attracts many insect eating birds. The flower and leaf buds are the food plants of the purple hairstreak butterfly. Acorns are a rich food source for mice, jays and squirrels. The holes and crevices provide homes for bats and some species of birds, and the fallen leaves produce a leaf mould which supports an array of invertebrates and fungi.

Come and join the Finemere Wood volunteers.

Email Charlotte for more information

Next Work Party Dates: Thursday 25 October; Thursday 8 November; Thursday 22 November; Thursday 13 December; 9.30am-3pm