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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2012 at 8:43am
Keith did Fred write a book on badgers? I have one possibly by him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2012 at 9:05am
They are damaging the SSSI!!! adders, grass snakes, lizards, slow-worms, common frogs, common toads, palmate newts, smooth newts and great crested all come under the 'interest features' of the SSSI. 

Natural England now have civil enforcement powers http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/news/2010/030210.aspx

They came into force this year so why not get them to use it in relation to SSSI damage at Epping Forest?

of course these powers are worrying to the people which are not immune from the Wildlife Legislation

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2012 at 11:00am
I wonder if NE should have this form of power.

In a democratic society can we afford for an organisation to have such power when it is open to abuse and that organisation has consistently displayed double standards?

For example, a householder who removes weed from a garden pond is very likely to attract the attention of NE and a prosecution (oh yes it has happened) - whilst a large land owner or conservation organisation can trash huge swathes of land with apparent total immunity from prosecution.

It really is about time the ARGs and other herp groups got a handle on this Jon, surely it has gone on long enough now for us all to realise the 'education' route is simply not going to change a thing.

Pressure needs to be put on NE to play fair, the current situation of a double standard is simply not acceptable.


Edited by GemmaJF - 22 May 2012 at 11:01am
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 May 2012 at 8:46pm
Hi Suzy quite possible he wrote about allsorts Poachers keepers tracks etc and I knew he had a couple of brocks at the High Beech centre in the Early 60s and I new him and used to take the odd adder for the centres reptile display that was the days when there were plenty you could even see adders just yards from the Kings Oak pub High Beech not any more due to all habitats that been swallowed up in concrete parking etc as Rob knows.

Edited by AGILIS - 22 May 2012 at 8:50pm
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Madfossa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Madfossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2012 at 8:28pm
Thanks everyone, especially Rob for all that info. 

I am so new to the area and lack the local and historical knowledge, although i am getting to know the area slowly.
I am out when i can and slowly getting around different areas constantly looking for reptiles.

I have been in touch with the senior ecologist and the volunteer co-ordinator and had replies back from both of them. The senior ecologist has told me he has to talk with the conservation manager before he can comment on this.
I have sent links to this forum to both of them and invited comments :)
I have asked to meet up with them again, Rob V if you can/would like to be there as your knowledge/experience will be invaluable.
I will let you know if i receive a reply. 
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2012 at 5:21am
Question is how come the places that get trashed have remained almost the same in landscape and foliage features for decades, then some paper waving cretin decides it needs altering to fit their idea of how a text book health and safety sanitized wild habitat should look for our dog walking visitors ?????
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Madfossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2012 at 6:40pm
Hi all

An update from Andy Froud, acting senior ecologist regarding the works at Rushey plain.
I received this today and makes interesting reading.

"Thank you for your e-mail of 22nd June following up our meeting and your earlier e-mail. We 
have now read the range of comments posted to the website during May, which you pointed 
us to when you first e-mailed on 23rd May. The comments on the website have been 
generated by a first posting that presents an inaccurate picture and implies an indiscriminate 
approach. 

 

The area of work photographed is part of a wood-pasture restoration programme supported 
by Natural England. This work last winter centred around the old Oak and Beech pollards in 
this area that have been or are being killed off by over-shading Birch infill. Every ancient 
pollard in this compartment of the Forest has been mapped and the distribution and health of 
these trees, coupled with information from old OS maps, aerial photos and field visits, inform 
our wood-pasture work. Much of the work involves .haloing. around the old pollards – 
clearing a ring of the competing trees from around them. In addition, we also aim to re-create 
glades and increase edges and lengthen transitions between open and shaded habitats to 
provide/restore a much greater variety of conditions. Such work is aimed at arresting the 
increasing homogeneity of parts of the Forest and declines in its structural diversity and 
openness. Its focus is to restore the Forest‘s complex wood-pasture mosaic from which its 
rich biodiversity springs. 

 

The heathy/grassy areas stretching between Rushey Plain and Sunshine Plain used to be 
larger and better inter-linked than they are today as old OS maps and aerial photos reveal. 
The majority of these grassy areas have been lost over many years, not only due to the 
cessation of pollarding creating a closed woodland canopy but also due to dense secondary 
birch infill shading out the ground flora. The remnants of these glades and corridors can still 
be seen as a sparse Purple Moor-grass ground flora or tall Bracken patches. The glades and 
small open areas that we have opened up around and between Sunshine Plain, Wake Road 
and Rushey Plain since the 1990s have allowed long dormant seed-banks to come to life and 
much scarce heathland flora has re-appeared along with more edge habitats. 

 

To create this variety of habitat the prescription for each task is quite specific. In this case 
work was carried out this last winter to halo Oak pollards and link the areas between them 
and to expand the main heathy glade that was originally re-created by volunteers and staff in 
the 1990s and which has been maintained by active work ever since. This main heathy glade 
itself developed from the re-pollarded area of Hornbeams to the south, which were re-
pollarded in the early 1980s. 

 

It is important to note at this point that the work photographed and discussed on the website 
only involved the felling of Birch, the removal of the felled logs and wood-chippings and 
stump-grinding of selected stumps – using a single access route in and out. There were no 
bulldozers used and no soil was removed or scraped; there was no .planing. of the site. 
Standing and fallen dead wood were carefully left in situ as can be seen from the photograph 
1 below, which is similar to the photograph on the website. 

 

 

 

 

Photograph 1 – the new glade creating an extension northwards from the main glade at 
Rushey Plain. This photo shows the long-fallen dead wood retained in its original positions. 

 

To create this new glade we felled a 2-acre area of dense Birch infill in order to recreate the 
conditions for the recovery of a heathy, wood-pasture mosaic. The ground flora within this 
area was very sparse due to the lack of sunlight reaching the woodland floor and consisted 
mainly of thin patches of bracken, bramble and purple moor grass. Therefore, the lack of 
ground vegetation in the photos posted on the website is not due to the ground flora having 
been mechanically scraped away but due to the former shade suppression by the closed 
woodland canopy. No work was carried out within the already established grassy glade. 

 

The works at this site are identical to the recent works at Sunshine Plain extending the 
heathland by birch removal and stump grinding. Again, the ground flora within this area was 
also very sparse due to former shade suppression and initially looked very bare compared to 
the rest of Sunshine Plain but it is now beginning to establish itself, thereby extending this 
valuable habitat and allowing colonisation by scarce species of heathland flora that otherwise 
would be doomed to ever decreasing pockets and eventual loss. 

 

The photographs below are taken from the north of the new glade at Rushey Plain. The first 
photograph Photo 2) shows the type of Birch infill that has been felled with its shady 
conditions, leaf litter layer and Bracken. The second photograph (Photo 3) is a few paces 
further south from Photo 2, at the north edge of the newly-created glade. It shows the 
Bracken layer and litter and it also shows the =framework‘ of Oak pollards and standards 
around which the work of Birch felling has been carried out. 

Photograph 2 – a few metres in to the north of the newly-created glade, showing the type of 
Birch infill of the original wood—pasture habitat that has been felled to create the glade. 

 

Photograph 3 – a few metres south from the position of Photo 2, this shows the new glade 
from the north, with its Oaks pollards, retained fallen dead wood/trees and bracken layer. 

 

The older grassy glade to the south of the new glade, created by volunteers in the 1990s, has 
become a fantastic example of a mosaic of habitats ideal for many species including reptiles, 
rare saproxylic insects, many other invertebrates and scarce, declining flora. It has provided 
damp, heathy habitat, a threatened resource in the Forest and allowed new, young pollards to 
be created as a successor generation to the ancient trees. The new glade extends this area and 
as the brackeny and grassy vegetation develops will provide part of the structural variety of 
the mosaic upon which a large range of specialised biodiversity has depended and which 
makes Epping Forest outstanding. 

 

In the context of the above, the comments on the website are unwarranted. Unfortunately, 
some of your comments, including references to .napalming. and prosecution, are highly 
inappropriate and offensive. Given that this type of work in wooded areas significantly 
changes the outlook and reference points of the site, creating many new ones such as the Oak 
pollards that have now been revealed, it initially could create disorientation and make it 
difficult to recognise where you are within it. Therefore, I am left to wonder whether this has 
caused a certain amount of confusion and the expressed concern".

 

 

Andy Froud 

Acting Senior Ecologist 

Conservators of Epping Forest 

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Madfossa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Madfossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2012 at 6:42pm
If anyone wants a copy of the 4 page pdf with photos please send me your email address to
madfossa@gmail.com, indicating your name and forum name
Ian
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2012 at 11:36pm
Can you ask Andy Froud, to forward me all the results of the  pre-works reptile surveys?

I would be most interested as the Essex County Recorder for Reptiles and Amphibians in the information and the consideration given to reptiles during the works. Reptile surveys were of course carried out considering this is a known hot spot for several widespread species?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2012 at 7:48am
Congratulations to the extensive reply from Andy Froud about the clearings done within the Rushey Plain area of HB as the clearing of dense birch certainly does need to be controlled as like the feral fir trees on southern heaths that have blanketed out heath land,Provided this is done by hand and not the use of heavy plant machinery that flattens ground level habitats that have existed for many years such as the bad example by the RSPB at Hyde heath at Stoborough near Wareham in Dorset that I reported to no avail .As I have said before I have known these places for well over 5o years and have seen some heart breaking destuction of once tranquil prolific sites in the country caused by over zealous managements ignorance of the habitat situation. keith

Edited by AGILIS - 30 Jun 2012 at 12:26pm
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