Environment and Sustainability

Many people are concerned about the considerable environmental challenges we all face. Some of these challenges are global, and it sometimes feels as if we can do little about them, but if we all start working to do what we can, a myriad small actions can add up to real change.

Chesham Bois Parish Council has set up an Environmental and Sustainability Working Group to look at what we can do locally.

Cow Parsley on the Common Triangle taken in May 2020
Cow Parsley also known as Queen Anne’s Lace lining the path across the Triangle

Environmental & Sustainability Working Group Remit

Our first action has been to identify areas of land that we manage that could be better managed for biodiversity. In practice, this means changing our mowing regime in certain areas to allow more native wildflowers to bloom, and therefore provide more food for invertebrates, which in turn creates more food for birds and small mammals.

Wildflowers on the Triangle
Wildflowers on the Triangle: May 2020

Next year, we plan to survey those areas monthly from February to October, to see how this plan is working. They will perhaps not look as ‘tidy’ as in previous years, but we are expecting a benefit to the wildlife of the village.  We will be allowing the wildflowers to occur naturally, we will not be first killing off existing vegetation with herbicide to sow seed, as is sometimes done.

Heron at the Pond: May 2020
Heron at the pond: May 2020

We want to involve families and local schools, though of course there are limitations on this at the moment. Many people are going out for walks, and often have a phone or other camera with them. One thing we could all do is photograph the flora and fauna of the village and upload the picture to iRecord, the Biological Records Centre site for recording. You can do this via the main website

https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/    or via an app on your phone https://irecord.org.uk/app/

Replanting in Bois Wood

The first stage of replanting in Bois Wood is almost complete, with further trees to be added following additional ground clearance.  The saplings represent a number of native Chiltern species, including oak, maple, grey willow, birch and rowan, which should offer a more resilient mix for future health and to promote biodiversity.   

 In Bois Wood this strategy has enabled us to:

Chesham Bois Councillors planting saplings in Bois Wood

• Diversify the age and species structure.  This area of Bois Wood has been largely unmanaged for some time and had a lot of poor, ageing trees.  New broadleaved native trees are being replanted

• Retain veteran “halo” trees but give them more space to thrive

• Get more light to the woodland floor to encourage more ground flora which in turn provides a food source for insects, birds and animals.  This also encourages natural regeneration of trees.

• Retain suitable standing and fallen dead wood where it is safe to do so to provide other varied habitats.  Other large logs have been sold to offset part of the costs of the project.

• Remove ash trees where ash dieback has been identified and replant with a wider range of native species.

This is the first phase of a 10-year Management Plan for Chesham Bois Common and the woodlands that the Parish Council either owns or leases.  

We have included links to some charities and organisations for further information

https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk

https://www.rspb.org.uk/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/

https://www.mammal.org.uk/

https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/news/buckinghamshire-set-pilot-national-initiative-nature/

A ‘berry’ worrying time for blackberries?