Woodland Project

Charney Field Woodland Renovation Project

Charney Hall and Field Trust (CHAFT) is working on a major project for the safe management and redevelopment of the Charney Field woodland over the next few years.

The first phase involves the felling of all the aspen trees along the southern side of the Charney Field. We have been aware for some time that the aspens are, quite simply, the wrong trees in the wrong place. They are now elderly, too close together and are producing weak growth, necessitating increasingly frequent emergency work to deal with broken branches. Given the proximity to housing, bridle way and footpaths and the children’s play area, this situation is just not safe, so the first step is removal of the aspens while retaining the other tree species present.

This decision to remove these aspens has not been taken lightly. The Forestry Commission have issued a felling licence. Reports from woodland specialists have been obtained and there has been a great deal of research and debate on the best way to prepare the land for replanting, balancing effective clearance with environmental concerns. Experience and advice have shown us that there is no sustainable mechanical method to eradicate the aspen suckers which are proliferating and choking the woodland area and we have regretfully accepted that the only effective way to remove them permanently is by carefully-controlled, professional spraying of glyphosate directly to the leaves of the suckers.

The fell will commence on Monday 28th September 2020 and last about two weeks. Our appointed contractors, Wessex Woodland Management and EJM Tree Services, will carry out a full site survey before the fell to identify any areas for protection, including archaeological, wildlife and protected species needs.  While work is in progress you may be asked to wait briefly as you use the bridle path or footpath if the contractors feel this is necessary for your safety. Alternatively, you might prefer to access the Charney Field and the bridle path via the footpath from New Road or the trackway from the Buckland Road. The Children’s Play Area and the part of Charney Field closest to the woodland will be closed for the duration of the work as an extra safety precaution.

We recognise that the loss of some 50 trees will have a significant immediate impact on our village panorama but this clears the way for the next phase of the project: the opportunity to create, at the heart of Charney Bassett, a small woodland consisting of a blend of English native trees, underplanted with native shrubs, that will provide a biodiverse habitat and which will, over time, form a backdrop of differing textures and colours to the Charney Field.

We will be seeking community involvement in the design and future layout of this beautiful area and proposals for how, together, we can encourage and enrich flora and fauna in the new woodland and make Charney Field part of wildlife corridors throughout our village. Wessex Woodland Management will be providing whips of English native trees, along with protective stakes and guards, to meet replanting needs. These young trees will need monitoring and care as they grow to become established woodland.

For more information on the Woodland Renovation Project and on the rationale underpinning the approaches chosen for the different phases, please go to our FAQ page.

If you have further questions, please do email me on gildersleeveslucy@gmail.com

Lucy Gildersleeves

Chair of CHAFT (until 14th October 2020)  (Management Trustee Body for Charney Field)

For the latest information on the project please contact the Interim Chair of CHAFT David Sibbert  charneychaft@gmail.com

Sylva Consultancy Report on Field and Woodland Area

The work identified under Tree survey data (App. 2 of the report) has now been carried out. The Management Committee, in liaison with the Parish Council has also agreed option 3 to the report (Clear Fell) and a project plan is being prepared.