Williams Hall Spinney

The principal objective is to actively manage the Williams Hall spinney in such a way that the abundance and diversity of wild animals, insects, invertebrates, birds and plants is increased.  

Secondary objectives include:  

  1. An opportunity for community engagement in a long-term environment project;

  2. Provide a place where groups of young people can locate wildlife habitats and bird feeding stations;

  3. Provide a place where all members of the community can observe wildlife;

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The Williams Hall spinney comprises an area of small trees and hedgerow plants, about 75m long and 8m wide, on the south-west boundary of the village hall area.  It contains a number of species, but it is dominated by Hazel.  The spinney was planted soon after the construction of the Williams Hall (2006) primarily as a ‘sound barrier’ to protect the occupants of adjacent houses from any noise emanating from the village hall.

    Apart from periodic trimming of branches there has been very little management of the site.  

    Many tree species have thinned or died.  

The potential for the spinney to support wildlife has been critically compromised and was in danger of becoming an ineffective ‘sound barrier’.  A programme of active management will ensure its primary purpose is achieved and it goes on to be a healthy and biodiverse community area accessible to all.

Based on the survey report produced by Sara Shuttleworth, low-level coppicing and trimming has started - before the growing season starts in March 2022.  Some ground clearing is also taking place to encourage grass and stinging-nettle growth – both of which are essential to several species.  The area will also be staked out to preserve a grass boundary that remains uncut throughout the summer period.

    The Hazel coppicing and clearing will produce materials that can be recycled and are ideal for construction.  A series of dry hedges will be constructed within the spinney boundary where ‘waste’ materials will be used to create natural habitats and shade.  Some of these materials will also be used to make bird feeders.

Signage will be produced, as the site develops, informing visitors of the work being undertaken and the species that are supported in the rejuvenated spinney.

    Due to the amount of coppicing and trimming necessary, the project will be long-term, and the spinney will require routine maintenance for several years.

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A grass buffer strip will be formed along the eastern edge of the spinney. This will be left unmowed and will support invertebrates (beetles, bugs, moths and butterflies etc).  A further 0.5m will be left unmowed from April to end of August every year.  This will give some security and cover to small mammals and insects that need to venture out beyond the tree boundary.

    Areas of longer grass and extra nectar resources will greatly enhance the biodiversity of the spinney as many invertebrate species need a diversity of habitats to support each life stage.  This in turn will increase the number of insectivorous species like birds and mammals.

 This will follow with: nest boxes and feeders; slowworm habitats (old corrugated tin sheets); (solitary) bee habitats; owl box.

    There will then be signage to inform visitors of the work being undertaken and the range of species being supported by the spinney.

Come along and join in. Let's all share this little bit of managed spinney.

Get in touch envirostoke@yahoo.com