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Hollingbury Wood – Snowdrops

Next work session


Enjoying and caring for our local woodland


Work session


We will again be working at the top of Hollingbury Park continuing to prune the Elm Hedge which runs along Ditchling Road. This can be scratchy work, so do wear suitable clothing. We will also be clearing foliage near one of the paths in Hollingbury Woods.


Meet at the Butterfly Bank at the top of Hollingbury Park just below the recycling bins at the Golf Club entrance road just off Ditchling Road.



Saturday – 5 February 2022

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM



Covid-19 considerations


If you can bring your own tools (eg secateurs, shears, pruning saws, loppers, gloves), this will help with not sharing equipment. If you can’t bring any tools, don’t worry, as we will have spare tools on the day.


Also, refreshments and cups will be provided for tea break but do bring your own cup, if you prefer.







Recent activities and news



November and December work sessions

Sunday 7th November was our first proper volunteer session for a very long time and it was lovely to have five new volunteers come along for it. We split into two groups- One cut back North Hedge which runs along the Golf Club driveway. FHBW planted this hedge years ago and we cut it back to help it thicken, as well as to keep it off the driveway.



The second group reduced the height of the Elm hedge that runs alongside Ditchling Road. We do this because the Bark Beetles that spread Dutch Elm disease fly at a height of around 9 metres so trees above this height are more likely to get the disease. So far the hedge has remained disease free. A fun session and beautiful weather for it!



In December we had another lovely sunny day for our volunteer work session. We carried on with the tasks from November, so trimming back the North Hedge and reducing the height of the Ditchling Road Elm hedge. Again, it was great to have some more new volunteers join us in the sunshine, plus Panettone and Mince pies at tea break made for a great session.




Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods – 30th anniversary

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods celebrated 30 years of existence this October with a fantastic meal at the lovely Cleveland Arms. Our Chair, Peter Jarman, gave a speech reminding us of the history of the group which was formed after the 1987 Great Storm. Virtually all the Beech trees blew down that night and it was obvious that there was an opportunity to manage the area as new vegetation grew, creating glades to allow more light in and increase biodiversity, as well as keeping as many fallen trees as possible to decompose naturally.  A small local group got together, discussed their ideas with the Council, and FHBW was formed! The woods are completely different now; new trees have grown up, the glades have matured and are full of wildflowers, and new paths have been created so that people can enjoy the area.  FHBW itself has grown too and is now a large volunteer group with about 60 members.  We raised our glasses to all those successes. Cheers!


Update on lockdown woodland activities


In between the ‘lockdowns’ a socially distanced group of six managed to plant the wild daffodil bulbs we had ordered and some members have been collecting litter on their walks through the woods, but with our volunteers not having been able to carry out any work for more than a year there are a lot of outstanding tasks to attend to. However, it is not only the pandemic that is causing us problems in getting back to our conservation work, but Ash Dieback disease.


Sad news – ash dieback



Burstead Wood - ash bud


In 2012 the spores of this fungal pathogen were found on Ash trees in the south-east and it has now spread to all counties of England.  It is thought that the disease arrived on imported nursey stock from Europe, but the spores could also have been blown across the channel. 


Unfortunately, some of the Ash trees in our woods have already succumbed and others are showing signs of the disease.  Our Ranger has inspected some of the areas where we were going to work and declared them off limits because of the proximity of suspect weakened trees.  As there is a high percentage of Ash in our woods we are seeking further clarification from the Council’s arboriculture team who we hope will carry out a survey and assess the situation.


Burstead Wood - ash flower


However, it does look almost certain that we will lose a large proportion of our Ash trees which will dramatically change the dynamic and look of the woods.


Getting back to working in the woods


As portions of the woods are now off limits, we are identifying areas where we can work safely, such as the chalk butterfly banks and the hedges, and work sessions in the near future will be in these areas.


When the full extent of the ash dieback disease is known, we’ll draw up plans and work with the Council to restore and improve our woodlands.


For those who don’t know or remember, our group was set up in response to the Great Storm of October 1987 which toppled the magnificent Beech trees leaving only a handful standing. Our group rose to the challenge and embarked on an extensive replanting programme, increased biodiversity by introducing more varieties of trees, created glades, and planted hedgerows and wildflowers. We’ve done it once and we can do it again.




Who are we?

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods are a group of local people who look after two areas of woodland off Ditchling Road near Hollingbury Golf Course. The aim of the group is for people to be able to enjoy the area, for wildlife to thrive, and to increase biodiversity.



What we do - We meet once a month to carry out practical work in the woods, ranging from tree and hedge planting to path maintenance and litter clearance. This work is carried out under the guidance of a Brighton and Hove Park Ranger and our group’s Project Officer. 

Work sessions – On the first weekend of the month, alternating between a Saturday and a Sunday, we run work sessions from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Gloves and tools are provided and no special skills are required - just enthusiasm!  For tasks such as tree thinning and planting a new hedge, training is given.  The work is not too arduous and everyone works at their own pace. We stop mid morning for a break and a chat, with coffee, tea and biscuits provided. See the Activities page for dates and details.

How we work – We have a yearly woodland management plan with goals to:


·          Maintain the woodland

·         Support wildlife

·         Balance the woodland tree population

·         Conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the woodland

·         Encourage public awareness and enjoyment of the woods

·         Enable responsible public access to the woods

·         Deter litter, dumping and dog fouling




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Page last updated: 14 January 2022

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods