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Our work sessions - spring and summer 2016


As the leaves change to hues of brown, red and gold - falling from the trees and carpeting the woodland floor - we reflect on the closing of another season. What have we achieved? What did we get right? And what didn’t work out quite as we’d planned?


Although spring and early summer this year were very wet and not great for humans, our trees and shrubs loved all that rain. The Hazel in our coppice glades has put on so much growth that we should be able to take our first cut this winter. The branches are cut off near to the ground to produce poles or rods which we can use in the woods.  Cutting the branches off near to the ground does the trees no harm as new shoots will soon emerge starting the whole cycle off again. Until the trees grow tall enough to shut out the light to the woodland floor, the sunlight flooding in will stimulate dormant wildflowers to flourish again and provide nectar and pollen for the insects. 


The small trees and shrubs such as the Hawthorn, Guelder rose and Dogwood, with its colourful bare stems in winter, also benefited from the weeks of wet weather and are now well established along the western edge of Hollingbury woods.  In our September work session our volunteers cleared the area around each tree and shrub to give them room to breathe as the nettles and blackberries had also flourished and they were beginning to smother the young trees.  The blackberries produced an abundance of fruit this year and are loved by birds and small mammals such as wood mice and voles, and of course they are great in a crumble with custard!


The recently created butterfly and bee banks, especially the large one at the top of Hollingbury meadow, has flowered prolifically. There is perhaps a little too much of some species – such as the rampant Ox-eye daisy which has rather swamped smaller species like the yellow Kidney Vetch and Birds Foot Trefoil which were planted to attract specific butterflies.  


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Woodland projects


Chalk banks


Our Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods group created a south-facing chalk bank at the top end of Hollingbury Park just below the golf club access road. The purpose of this bank is to encourage the growth of downland wildflowers which support some of the rarer downland butterflies and bees.


We planted seeds and wildflower plugs into artificially created piles of chalk, and were extremely pleased that by mid-summer the banks were a riot of gorgeous colours with red poppies, yellow corn marigolds, white ox-eye daisies and blue cornflowers

Hollingbury Woods - chalk banks





Our group planted a long hedge along the golf club access road. If you walk along the hedge from east to west, you'll see the difference between the oldest part, which is well established, and the newer sections near the recyling bins off Ditchling Road. We have also made a smaller hedge along the southern boundary of Hollingbury Woods in Hollingbury Rise West. This attracted good feedback from local residents who said they appreciate the work we do.


South Downs National Park


The boundaries of FHBW woods have not, we think, ever been formally defined.  However, in practice we have taken the road to the Golf Clubhouse as marking the northern limit of Hollingbury Woods, and we have not been active beyond the east-west path at the northern end of Burstead Woods.  In discussions with the Council and Hollingbury Golf Club, we now have authority to manage these two further areas. As each of these areas fall within the boundary of the South Downs National Park, we are delighted.


National Park Wood – Hollingbury Wood - Tree planting and new coppice


To the north of the golf club access road, we have defined a path, planted bluebells, cleared a glade, planted a number of native trees, and planted a hazel coppice. 





Butterfly Glade – Burstead Wood – Clearance and wildflower planting


A new circular path was built by this new glade at the north end of Burstead Wood. This glade is in an especially sunny part of the wood, and it should attract numerous butterflies. We’ve cleared some of the growth, leaving the nettles in place, and planted native wildflowers that are beneficial to butterflies.



FHBW Newsletter


The friends group produces a newsletter twice a year – spring and autumn. These newsletters are sent out electronically, with printed copies sent to members not on email. If you're a member and not receiving your newsletter, please let us know by emailing or speaking to a committee member at a work session.


Spring 2018 Newsletter





Ash dieback


Ash dieback has now been reported in the Lewes area, and we need to report any ash trees in Hollingbury and Burstead Woods that look as though they might be infected. Please see Brighton and Hove Council's Trees web page Brighton and Hove Council Trees for more information. Any concerns can be raised via a tree report form on the Council web page.



Woodland Management Plan


A 5-year management plan for Hollingbury and Burstead Woods was put out for consultation by Brighton and Hove City Council in early 2012 and was approved in the summer of 2012. See details on the Council website.


The goals over the next five years are 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


The key themes in the plan are:


·          Creating a butterfly glade and new path at the north end of Burstead Woods in the South Downs National Park

·         Increasing the woods slightly at the edges of Hollingbury Park to encourage more wildlife

·         Increasing wildlife habitat by felling a few larger trees due to the reduced amount of lying dead wood

·         Safeguarding and nurturing a few key large old trees as “Veterans”

·         Thinning young trees that have grown after the 1987 storm – to increase diversity

·         Deterring litter, dumping and dog fouling – and other anti-social behaviour







Page last updated: 30 May 2018

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods