Petersham Common – Spring and Summer 2024

Welcome!  This is the regular bulletin of what to look out for and what is happening in this woodland. 

Spring is Early

The lesser celandine and primroses came out in early March; bluebells started to emerge in late March rather than late April / early May; In Spring we will see red campion, red robin, cow parsley, May flower, wood forget-me-not, wild garlic. In late Spring / early Summer we should see a recently sown native wildflower meadow grow through the grass verge near the traffic light junction on Petersham Road.

Works Completing and Scheduled

In 2024 we started to lay a hedgerow along Star and Garter Hill using native (sapling) trees planted in 2016/17 with the help of Russell School and Deutsch Schule London.  Hedgerow laying is an ancient heritage skill that is highly beneficial to native songbirds; is aesthetically pleasing to many people; will encourage native songbirds to nest; and will become a valuable habitat for native animals.

We continue to improve the Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) to help reduce soil and path erosion whilst enhancing the habitats.  We will establish a natural swale (a very shallow damp pond area) near the bottom of “Dysart Rise Path” and create a seasonal wet area using rainwater from SuDS.  This will help to manage flood water and offset water shortages as well as provide a valuable habitat for numerous species.  It will be lined by Richmond Hill clay - established when this land was a moraine in the glaciation period c10,000 years ago.

Once bird nesting season is underway works are limited to routine maintenance – cutting verges; managing trees / ivy / brambles; controlling non-native invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and winter heliotrope; and reviewing infrastructure such as benches.

Finally, we recently commissioned a short drone film of the woodland to record the changes during the seasons.  This will be used for our website and presentations.