In terms of tree management both the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Corporation of London, who actually manage the heath, both now follow a relatively hands off strategy.
Good woodland management, says the former’s Heath Vision, is careful control, balancing planting and replacing trees and shrubs with the equally important thinning and coppicing…. Many areas are dense with saplings that require rigorous thinning to enable the best specimens to flourish and grow into well-formed trees and in order to maintain the shrub layer.
The Society advocates the gradual creation of a mosaic of habitats suitable for the maximum range of flora and fauna, with the addition of a few more glades…. Woodland edges provide valuable screening and support a rich and distinctive variety of wildlife… Careful management of the woodland edge entails cutting back scrub and brambles, plus uprooting saplings on a rotational basis.
Although they do not refer directly to it, the management policy also includes leaving fallen trees where they have fallen, unless they are actually dangerous or are obstructing a path. This results in some wonderful tree ‘ruins’ and provides fabulous habitat for the smaller and less visible inhabitants of the woods. And, of course, a load of photo ops! Like this elderly gent, pointing the way down the path to the Vale of health pond.
(What looks like the top of a tree in the background is actually a mini tree growing out of the heart of the stump. Is it the old tree regenerating or an new one which has planted itself in the bowl?)
Just across the path is a somewhat gloomy area which has been taken over by massive serpentine rhodedendrons which, rather than growing up to the light seem to have chosen to arch themselves across the woodland floor. Distinctly spooky.
So, a couple of walks. A short one through those woods on the other side of the Kenwood lake that are now blocking Mr Repton’s ‘magnificent’ view.
(If you want to see the video you will need to click onto the blog as the email notification does not include the video.)
And a second one, but only for those who really do like imagining themselves walking across the heath as this one is quite long – and is just down a path…. A very nice path – but just a path. Although it does have a rather fine fallen tree about a minute in.
My daily blog now has an Instagram account! WalksonHampsteadHeath – the idea being to widen the circle of people who might enjoy a daily ramble across the heath. Please follow us and pass on the news!!
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