Common & Woodland
Chesham Bois’ Common and woodland are essential to our community. They are a significant area of amenity, as well as contributing to the character of the village and its history.
Ensuring that these areas remain attractive and safe for everyone’s enjoyment requires continual management. This is especially so, where trees are approaching the end of their natural lifespan, which is the case in significant areas of our woodland.
The Council consider it vital to conserve the character of Chesham Bois Common; we do not wish it to become a parkland landscape, but we can enhance the woodland in many ways whilst ensuring its long term viability. Councillor Clive Thomas Chairs our Common and Woodland Working Group and has developed the following plan for future management of our common and woodlands.
Management Plan for Chesham Bois Common and Woodlands:
At the turn of the last century you could see across the Common from North Road to South Road; there were a few trees and some gorse but mainly grass. When grazing stopped saplings could grow and gradually trees self-seeded and the wooded area expanded, particularly with ash, sycamore and cherry until the appearance of the Common evolved into the one we know today.
Letting nature take its course brings some difficulties: the woods are too uniform in age and species structure to be resilient with a lot of crowded trees of a similar (old) age. There is insufficient space or light for new growth in many areas.
The Forestry Commission recommends that sustainable management of woodlands is crucial to their long term future and that their social and environmental value can be improved gradually – the Parish Council share this view and in short we want to ensure that our unique Common and woods are not only still here for future generations but are also better and healthier. With that in mind we have been working with experts from the Chilterns Woodland Project, a charity with the Chilterns Conservation Board, to devise a Management Plan for the next 10 years and beyond.
There are a number of key elements to our vision:
To improve the public amenity of the Common and woodlands for formal and informal recreation
To improve the health and resilience of the woodlands by diversifying age and species structure
To protect the Common’s aesthetic appeal
To continue to encourage biodiversity and protect wildlife
To ensure the safety of the public by removing dead and deteriorating trees
To encourage learning about the natural world
The strategy to achieve these aims proposes some thinning and selective felling in some areas in order to increase light levels and therefore encourage natural regeneration. A continuous cover approach is proposed so that the best trees are preserved and new growth for the future encouraged around them.
Click here to download a copy of the latest draft of the plan. There are 9 of maps linked to the managment plan. Click on each map to download a copy. Map 1 Locations, Map 2 Common, Map 3 Tenterden Spinney, Map 4 Bois Wood, Map 5 Tree Composition, Map 6 Management Summary, Map 7 Conservation Area TPO constraints, Map 8 Right of Ways, Map 9 Open Ground Management .
Recent Improvements to Common and Woodlands
Bricky Pond: weed clearance; thinning marginal plants; banks repaired; stop grass encroaching
Tenterden Spinney: new fence at Bois Lane end, holly and laurel clearance with The Chiltern Society
The Common: tree safety – 22 trees felled; laurel clearance with Chiltern Society; holly clearance near The Meadow