Management Plan

 
Friends of Errington Wood
Woodland Management Plan 2014


General
The wood is a community woodland of approximately 100 Ha, situated above New Marske. It has achieved Local Nature Reserve status.


It is owned by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, who have maintained it through their countryside section.


The woodland was mainly planted in the 18th century to provide a cash crop, and extended in the early 20th century after the decline of the mining activities.
This has resulted in a predominantly coniferous situation. Only natural regeneration and intervention by the Councils resources has made any biodiversity difference.


The Friends group was formed in 2004 using local interested volunteers, in order to provide an extra resource, working under the guidance of the Council's Countryside Officer.


The Countryside Officer was replaced with a Countryside Ranger, with whom we work very closely.
It is worth noting that the Countryside Officer of 25 years, who is now self employed, is a volunteer member of the Friends and is, in fact, our chairman.




Aim
The Friends will carry on the past work of the Council in improving the biodiversity of the woodland. This by selecting areas that require coupe felling, to allow the natural regeneration of native hardwood species.
The added benefit of this type of management is that it also allows the lower woodland levels such as plants and flowers to thrive, having been given the light to do so.
If the tree level was left to nature, then we would have a woodland of long spindly trees competing for light. In fact, this is already evident in parts of Errington Wood.


We will under plant appropriate species so as to create a shrub layer. Also young hardwoods that will eventually replace those reaching the end of their life will be planted. This will also have the benefit of improving the age range of the woodland.


Specimen trees will be identified, and clearing around them will take place in order to preserve their future maturity without hindrance. They will give a greater visual pleasing to woodland visitors.


Soapwell Field is being planted in places, and there is now evidence of the appearance of copses. This will continue, mainly to the South.
Regular maintenance is now bearing fruit.


Work has been carried out to the path network. This will continue.


Grants have been obtained for the provision of entrance gates, sculptures and improvements to the area around the parking and picnic field. We will pursue this level of enhancement for the benefit of visitors.


Bench seats have been provided around the woodland so that visitors can rest, picnic, and generally enjoy the environment. We aim to continuously add more seating.
Other sites have been identified for the provision of viewpoint/picnic areas.


The plan


Car park vicinity


Provide an outdoor classroom in the Pine plantation adjacent to the car park. This will be used by the Ranger for demonstrations/presentations. Our own members will also make use of it for their own demonstrations.
We are developing links to New Marske Primary School, who could make use of this facility for an outdoor classroom.


Provide details of our group in the main car park with an information poster containing the QR code for the web site.


Bottom path East towards Pontac Rd


Repairs to the main path leading out of the car park into the wood, and the path below the picnic field require stone infill in order to level them and reduce the wet collecting places.


Along the bottom path, both North and South side, there has already been a significant amount of work carried out. Revisits will be to further thin as necessary.


Peters pond is in need of vegetation control. Reeds are becoming dense. At a time when the water level is low and at a time outside important wildlife activity. We will carry out this work.
Repairs to the revetment of the dipping platform is needed.


Pontac Rd entrance


There are mining artefacts in this vicinity. We feel that this area would be enhanced by doing much more clearing, uncovering more of the mining heritage and providing seating in the open parts.


Bottom path going East from Pontac Rd towards Quarry Lane


The area on the Northern side of the path has benefited from extensive work and will now be monitored for the next few years.
A new footpath access to the wood has been recently been created from Quarry Lane to the ruined winding house. There is evidence that this is being used and appreciated.


Along the Southern side of the path there are important mining sites and ponds that will benefit from being made accessible. This can be done by taking out some of the mature pines, taking out aggressive Sycamore regeneration and clearing the pond vicinity areas.
Work has started along here and will continue. At the Eastern end we would like to clear and define the route of the old railway track to the point where it would have gone below he road to the quarry.


Path from Quarry lane up to viewing point East of quarry


The track known as the horse path is extremely wet. We shall look to see if by gripping and re- routing it can be made more usable. At the moment its linearity doesn't help. Progress over a number of years in order to monitor the efficacy of any work done.


There is an area of Birch that needs to be thinned. Recover the ruined fence too.


At the viewing area, there have been complaints of horse riders making a way through the wall to gain access to the wood.
We plan to rebuild the wall, leaving a pedestrian gap. Further work to develop this viewpoint as a picnic and resting place for woodland users. We shall provide extra seating and possibly a table.




Along the middle surfaced path, returning to a point above Pontac Rd.


Along the Southern side of this path, not a lot is required. Work has been done in the past leaving a nice mixed woodland. Any identified specimen trees should be highlighted by thinning around.


At the Northern side of this path, the wood is predominantly Larch. There is a lot of ground vegetation including bracken, fern and bramble. This whole strip appears to be a deer habitat. Additionally, Pine Martens are being reported as being seen in the wood. For this reason, we would not wish to carry out too much work in this area. However, the Larch is visible from the A174 and further afield as a broad band. So as not to be too intrusive, we could ring bark a number of these larch and nurture regenerated hard woods over a period of years.


Along the middle path from a point above Pontac Rd to Soapwell Field.


The woodland at both sides of this path has benefited from work in recent years. Apart from identifying specimen trees and carrying out necessary clearing in the vicinity, there are no immediate plans to do anything.
There is a culvert crossing this path which blocks easily thus flooding the path. We plan to provide a larger diameter culvert here.


Soapwell Field


We need to knock back the bracken annually. Donated trees are planted in this area. The fruits of a young wooded area are now beginning to be seen.


The dry stone wall separating Soapwell Field from Soapwell Wood is in bad repair. We have plans, under the guidance of a dry stone waller, to rebuild this wall.


A stile into Sandy lane is required. We have identified where, and will provide this.


Falklands Path, running West from Quarry Lane.


Continue repairs as necessary.


Above its Southern side, there are two blocks of Sitca. These are dark and dense. We have done some work to one of the blocks, the other would benefit from crown lifting and laying into habitat piles the fallen dead timber.


Top path from above the quarry to the steps above Pontac Rd


Gorse and bracken encroach over this path making it difficult to walk along after Spring. We shall get in early to cut back and keep it open.


Near to the trig point there is an open area with wonderful views over the bay. It would be nice to create another seating/viewing area here. Seats and a bird hide have been suggested.


Path network.


This is an invaluable asset.
We shall continue to make repairs as is possible. Surfacing material is required for some of the work and we are looking into how this can be obtained.
Where timber of suitable diameter is available we shall use this for path side seating.


There is a public footpath leading from the viewing area below Marske Quarry to the top of the wood above the quarry. This was originally a stone trod, but was destroyed during forestry work carried out a few years ago. We would like to step this path as it is now very muddy. The path is on Lord Zetlands land adjacent to the wood, so necessary permissions and/or notifications would be needed.


There is a suggestion to name all the main paths in the wood.


Charcoal


With the waste wood from felling and thinning, we make charcoal. On occasions during the Springtime, we carry out this work. The public are always welcome and we do our best to encourage people along.


Other ways of using waste wood is to make habitat piles. If you are walking the woods, these can now be seen in many places.


Conclusion
The work is dynamic.
The plan as set out will be liable to amendments and changes as circumstances dictate.
Neither is the work timetabled. Some tasks are better suited to Autumn and Winter. Others to Spring and Summer. The wildlife and plant life is always at the forefront of our scheduling.








 





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