BVCT RISES TO THE CHALLENGE – AND DELIVERS

Over the last year the Trust has been working with Rushmoor Council to develop a project to address a lack of tree cover in their urban areas.

Rushmoor targeted the Urban Tree Challenge Fund administered by the Forestry Commission. This offered 80% of costs to plant larger trees (to give instant impact) in areas that were short of them. Larger trees are much more expensive to establish with the extra protection and watering required to make sure they survive in urban areas.

Rushmoor identified 14 areas across Farnborough and Aldershot that could take a total of 200 trees with a budget of £156,000, but this required match funding of 20% – which is where the Trust stepped in. As possibly the only body in a position to ‘bridge the gap’ we submitted a bid for the necessary £26,000 to the Farnborough Airport Community Environmental Fund, which Rushmoor themselves would be unable to do – and were successful.

After a wait Rushmoor has now heard that their grant bid has also succeeded, with two years to plant all 200 trees. At time of writing 30 trees have been planted in three sites across Aldershot; Ivy Road Recreational Ground, Redan Hill Gardens and Whitchurch Close.

Look out for further details for the 24/25 planting season as all help will be welcomed.

Steve Bailey

Tree management in the Blackwater Valley

Coppicing and Pollarding 

Coppicing is a traditional method of tree management that involves repetitive cutting of the same stump (Stool), near to the ground, allowing the shoots to regrow. This is to provide a supply of small-wood for fencing/hedge laying, wattle, charcoal, furniture, and other uses, most recently for bean poles.

Coppice regrowth. ©: Emma Jolly/ WTML

Most coppicing would be in particular woods which would have large “standard” trees and other trees which would be coppiced. The most common was Hazel but Sweet Chestnut was also coppiced.

Hazel coppice stool.

Rowhill Copse is still managed with rotational coppicing, done by the volunteers, it produces open areas where the woodland flowers can flourish after the cut. It is well worth a visit in Bluebell time.

There are a few abandoned coppice trees along the Valley like this one near Farnborough North Station.

 

Pollarding

Pollarding is a similar management tool but involves the regular cutting of upper branches to encourage regrowth of dense foliage at the top of the tree.
The cut branches can be used for firewood, building materials and other coppice products. Pollarded branches were traditionally used for animal fodder. When woodland trees were pollarded it opened up the canopy in the same way as coppicing.

There was a very large Black Poplar in Shepherd Meadows, Sandhurst but it became too large and fell apart. Nearby there is a Weeping Willow which has been pollarded within the last ten years. You may find abandoned pollards along the valley as they are no longer used as in the past.

Black Poplar before collapse.

The next picture shows a Pollarded Oak tree alongside the Blackwater at Swan Lake Park, the very swollen top shows that it has been pollarded over many years, although this is unlikely to continue today.

Happy Holidays from the BVCT!

However you choose to spend your festive period, we hope you have a wonderful time with family & friends and can find opportunities to get out into the Blackwater Valley, perhaps to work off the Christmas lunch!

We look forward to sharing more of how we're working to improve the Valley in 2024!

Small Grant Scheme

BURSTING WITH IDEAS?

Small Grant Scheme

Small grants helping you kickstart your project

We love the Blackwater Valley.

It’s our mission to protect our wildlife habitat, enhance our environment and provide a great place for the public to enjoy.

Many groups and organisations along our 22-mile valley share our dreams and goal. Full of great ideas on how to improve their local area, often they just need a little help to get started.

To help kickstart your project, we have introduced a small grants scheme to fund projects for like-minded organisations or groups in the Blackwater Valley.

Together we can achieve more, faster.

Examples of projects we may fund:

  • to provide equipment for groups to use for working on local nature areas
  • to improve access to recreational facilities and the countryside;
  • to create new wildlife habitats and species recording;
  • to provide signage/information about our natural environment; and
  • offering educational opportunities to the public

Find out more:


Small Grant Application v2-2 Final Web

 

Download application forms here:

Join our management team!

Would you like to help us to protect nature in our beautiful Valley?

We’ve a great team at the Trust and 2 roles we’d like to fill soon – a treasurer and a fund raiser. Each role involves a few hours a month.

There are opportunities to get involved in other interesting activities, if you wish.

If you’d like to know more about either of the roles above, please contact us.