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Published on March 18th, 2013 | by Steve Budden


Update From The Commons

Although the weather has been cold and grey since New Year, it has at least been reasonably dry, which has enabled us to get on with things quite well. It is still far too wet to resolve the problems around BrightonLake, in fact a new spring is still gushing out of the ground at the north end of the lake but we have been able to make good progress with our tree work.

We have carried out work to push the woodland back from the edge of Major York’s Rd and Bishops Down, and have started to tidy up the woodland vandalised near Common View last Summer. More dramatically, we have re-opened the rest of the second Terrace Walk path above BrightonLake and have cleared holly and scrub at the top of the 101 Steps to open up the view along the steep slope there and re-expose the sandstone outcrop at the top of the steps as well as a very nice oak tree there.

We have also done a fair amount of planting on the areas between London Rd and Castle Rd that we have opened up over the last few years. About 200 saplings of native trees such as Field Maple, Hornbeam, Rowan and Elder have been planted around the edges to enhance the woodland edge which is currently dominated by Holly, and we will shortly be planting two groups of Scot’s Pines, which should dominate these areas in years to come.

We have already started on the grass cutting and have prepared the section of grass next to London Rd below Church Rd for planting with a thousand wildflower plugs, as well as seeding it with Yellow Rattle and Ox Eye Daisy. The plugs will consist of species such as Cowslip, Birds Foot Trefoil, Betony and Devils Bit Scabious. This was done in early March with the help of the Britain in Bloom group and TWBC and should really start to enhance this area. I don’t suppose all of these will flower in their first season, but I am sure that we will see the difference over the next few years. All the areas above Church Rd that were involved in the experiment last year will revert to standard cutting but we are going to extend the experiment to the other side of London Rd next to the coach park this year. This area should be much more suitable, so we will leave it uncut through this summer to see what comes up and if it proves worthwhile, we will probably be introducing more wildflower plugs there next spring. If we can get this process right, I suspect we will be looking at several other areas across both Commons in the coming years.

It doesn’t feel much like spring at the moment and things are definitely later than they have been in recent times but it cannot be far away now. I can’t wait for the frogs to appear in Fir Tree pond and the first Brimstone butterflies to emerge. If it does stay reasonably dry, we could have a fabulous spring and summer with so much water available in the ground. After the year we have just been through, I think we deserve it; keep your fingers crossed.


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