Tree Planting Project at Four Fields

Lane End Conservation Group are delighted to announce the completion today (Wednesday 6th February) of their tree planting project at Four Fields.

750 trees have been planted with the help of Habitat Aid and the generous funding from Wycombe District Council.

The trees have been planted along a stretch of the M40 at Lane End to enhance the visual and aural screening provided by an existing thin line of trees. The trees have been carefully chosen to suit the Chilterns landscape, whilst also including a high proportion of Evergreens such as Holly, to ensure that when grown, the trees will provide a year-round barrier to the motorway. Tree planting project
Trees Planted

Trevor Mansfield, Secretary of Lane End Conservation Group said:

‘This belt of trees will, in time, reduce the visual impact of the motorway at Lane End. By selecting only those species that naturally occur in the Chilterns we are also expanding the area of woodland habitat in Lane End. We have included 10 different species of tree in the planting; this will ensure that if disease strikes a single species the overall shelter belt will remain.

‘As well as thanking Habitat Aid for their hard work this week and Wycombe District Council for the grant funding, I would also like to thank Mr & Mrs Hebbourne for allowing the project to go ahead on their land.

‘The planting is intended to complement the noise barriers recently installed at Lane End and we are grateful to the M40 Chilterns Environmental Group for their support throughout this project.

Creating Permissive Footpaths on Cadmore End Common

On request of the landowners of Cadmore End Common a new footpath was created through impenetrable undergrowth in the western woodlands of the common. Using a chainsaw a route was cut and the following Action Day a dozen volunteers cleared a new way through the woods, connecting two public footpaths.

Footpath creation on Cadmore End Common
Path Creation 2006

Another path was cleared through Hatches Wood. This area, former meadow given to the estate by the High Way Authorities when the M40 cut off part of the common. In 1992 Hatches was cleared by LECG volunteers and 475 trees (oak, cherry, rowan, etc.) were planted. Over the years almost all have grown into strong specimen. As thick undergrowth made this new wood inaccessible, a path was cleared which again connects two public footpaths. At the same time our volunteers helped by a group of sea scouts removed the now rotten protective sleeves and stakes from the now sturdy trees.

Restoration of Head & Body Pond (2004-2005)
Head & Body Pond pre-restoration
Head & Body Pond 2004

A map of 1900 shows the western part of Cadmore End Common to be rough pasture with gravel pits and clay pits. Some of the pits have become seasonal ponds: an ideal habitat for wildlife including a few less common marsh plants.

The largest pond is Head and Body Pond, a name which probably arose from its shape rather than some sinister history. Over the years the pond had shrunk in size and silted up. Bryan and Alison Edgley of Kensham Farms, landowners of the common, were as keen as the Lane End Conservation Group to prevent the pond from disappearing completely. The first step was to obtain a specialist ecological report. The objective of opening up the pond and its surrounding area was agreed. The necessary permissions were obtained and funding secured.

Head & Body Pond mid-build
Head & Body Pond 2005

Before work started, letters to local residents described the planned work, and walkers to the proposals. Local residents were allowed to collect firewood afterwards. The extracted leaf litter and silt was deposited into a deep former clay pit close-by, which was then fenced off.

After the contractors had left there was now a large open pond. The banks looked a bit raw for a few months, until new vegetation began to spread in spring. The Lane End Conservation Group replanted the uprooted bluebell bulbs and built wildlife habitat from sticks and branches collected from around the site. There was plenty of frog spawn at the water's edge in spring and dragonflies and damselflies hovering over the emerging marsh plants. Occasionally a heron explores the open water and moorhen and ducks now enjoy the natural food sources here. By opening up the pond and by allowing sunshine to reach the water we were able to create a water-based habitat for wildlife quite different from all the other seasonal ponds hidden in the undergrowth.

Head & Body Pond
Head & Body Pond 2007

This contrast in habitat should ensure a greater biodiversity in this area than was possible prior to the pond restoration. Local residents, all members of the Lane End Conservation Group, will continue to monitor the pond and, with the support of the landowners maintain this area of Cadmore End Common as a haven for wildlife.

Restoration of Foundry Pond (2003-2005)
Foundry Pond before restoration Nov 2003

The restoration of Foundry Pond was the first major project undertaken of the newly formed ACTION DAY group of volunteers. Located in the centre of the village and part of West Wycombe Estates, Foundry Pond looked neglected, with rubbish thrown in by careless and inconsiderate people for some years.

Early days during the Foundry Pond Restoration Project

After research into ownership and obtaining permission from all authorities involved a detailed project management plan was set up and funding obtained from the Lottery’s ‘Awards for All’ scheme and from WDC, whose ranger service was very helpful. Restoration took place in sections to fit in with volunteers available on Action Days.

Action Day team complete Foundry Pond project Photo: Bucks Free Press

The Bucks Free Press sent a photographer on 8th November 2003 who captured the work of a contractor supported by LECG helpers, to rid the pond of all rubbish. Tree surgery opened up the pond to more day light. Two marsh areas were planted up at opposite ends, the rusty and broken fence at the side of a new industrial park was replaced and a hedge and a few trees planted. Trees fallen into the pond were removed, cut up and stored as wildlife habitat sites at the edge of the adjoining grass land, where some ten years before LECG had planted a dozen cherry trees. Installing a sturdy oak bench on the southern side of the pond finished this project.