Welcome to our Website
This site is run by the Urban Habitats Conservation Group based near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England.
This website describes some of the conservation activities we have carried out at the location, and contains details of some of our projects. Why not join our free newsletter mailing list to learn more about what is going on at Hicks Farm Wood? You can join the newsletter by clicking on the link in the side bar to your left.
Where is Hicks Farm Wood?
Hicks Farm Wood can be located on this Google Map.
Managing Hicks Farm Wood
Hicks Farm Wood was re-defined in the Local Plan as a Green Space in January 2004, after a campaign to change its status from Residential Zone. The large re-development project which has replaced the old Star blocks site in the vicinity has increased its value as open space for local residents.
In the years since the re-designation of the Wood, the Group has worked hard to increase its value for both people and wildlife. The biggest challenge is to balance the three different habitat types that are present in the Wood to optimise the biodiversity of the site.
The site consists of a valuable mosaic of woodland, scrub and grassland and collectively these are of much greater ecological value than they would be individually and this type of habitat is being achieved with proper management.
The scrubland areas are being worked on to remove large stands of bramble, hawthorn, blackthorn and dogwood to produce a mixture of these native trees and bushes together with native fruiting trees such as bullace and cherry. The scrub is being developed to produce patchworks which will vary in height and density.
The edges of the scrub will be designed to meet the meadowland as much as possible as this area between the two habitat types is one of the most valuable for wildlife. The hedge on the southern side of the site is being worked on to make it more diverse, with hazel, holly, whitebeam, cherry and hawthorn. Thickening of the hedge will be encouraged to make it suitable for nesting birds.
The woodland area needs to be thinned of some non-native sycamore (some will remain as they are an excellent food plant for insects) as they are a very dominant tree species. Native trees, and especially those which are found in the local area will be planted, these will include oak, holly, hornbeam and whitebeam. Although a native tree and characteristic of High Wycombe, beech will be avoided, as it casts a very dense shade, which will be to the detriment of plants on woodland floor. Beech is also shallow rooted, creating a potential falling hazard as the trees age.
There are two types of grassland areas on the site
Calcareous Lowland Grassland
The calcareous lowland grassland, is the most important part of the site, due to its threatened status, with 97% being lost in England since the 1930s (State of Nature 2013). Over the last eight years of management, efforts have been centred on restoring as much of the calcareous grassland as possible. This has encouraged a greater complexity of both flora and fauna on the site.
Although coarse grassland is not a rare habitat, it is nonetheless valuable, as a variety of wildlife species rely on it for food and shelter. It is also very useful in the hot summer months, being a source of shade and dampness for frogs and toads. The thatch, which is the dried dead grass blades, enable voles to make tunnels within it.
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