ANNE’S PIECE

Looking back is sometimes a valuable exercise. Here’s a piece from March 2020:

IMPORTANT: THE PATH ON THE BROADWOOD SIDE OF THE BRIDGE HAD TO BE CLOSED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS FROM MARCH 7TH. HOPEFULLY IT WILL HAVE RE-OPENED BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, BUT ONLY IF WE’VE HAD ENOUGH DRY DAYS TO MAKE THE PATH WALKABLE AGAIN. PLEASE DON’T BE TEMPTED TO GO OFF PATHS TO TRY & FIND DRIER ROUTES – THIS CREATES DAMAGE WE WANT TO AVOID!

This year is not the first time we’ve had to close the bridge, or faced extremely wet conditions, as you can see here in the winter of 2012, just as the bridge was being completed. What has changed now is the number of people using the woods, increasing the wear and tear on the paths, with the consequent widening of the paths as walkers try to avoid the mud, and the destruction of the flora at the sides of the paths.

In April 2022 Simon wrote about the impact of this on another similar woodland in the area, and estimated that in 5 or 6 years the loss of wood anemones and bluebells was about 30%, and pointed out that “this means 30% less pollen for insects, 30% fewer insects for birds and bats to eat.

This is not doing “our bit” for wildlife.” He went on to say that “Protecting sensitive habitats is not easy. A small minority of visitors feel they have a right to walk wherever they like. * Most people however will stick to main paths but even these are not designed to take large numbers of walkers through the wet winter months. Fencing or making log barriers is time consuming and there is no financial support from the Government for doing this. The public footpath system is linear, and most walkers want a circular route so where should people go for their daily exercise? Who should pay to provide and maintain these routes?

Starawoods*I should point out here that there is only one public footpath, and that runs from the entrance to the woods to the stile up by Colpit Cottage. All the other footpaths, including all footpaths on the Broad and Treovis side of the bridge are DISCRETIONARY. This means that the committee have the right to close off access wherever and whenever necessary for the well-being of the woodland. We do this as little as possible, as we want the community to be able to enjoy the woods, but in return we need your respect and cooperation in enabling us to keep the woods well maintained and managed for all, especially the flora and fauna for whom the woods are home and essential for their well-being and survival.