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Burton on the Wolds, Cotes & Prestwold Parish Council

Serving the people of Burton on the Wolds, Cotes & Prestwold

Clerk: Stephanie Massey
7 St Andrews Close, Burton on
the Wolds, Loughborough, Leics
LE12 5TJ

Tel: 01509 889770

Burton Fishpond Plantation

The wood on the east side of Towles Fields was purchased in 2004 as an amenity for the villagers to enjoy. The cost was met by donations from residents (£13,000) and grants from Charnwood Borough Council (£5,000) and Leicestershire County Council (£10,000).

The Plantation is managed by a committee of the Parish Council consisting of parish councillors and local residents and it is maintained by volunteers and Friends of Burton Plantation.

A volunteer Sunday is held on the first Sunday of the month between October and April. Please come along and lend a hand.

2017/18 Volunteer Programme.

10am-12.30pm: All Welcome

Sundays

1st October, 5th November, 3rd December, 7th January, 4th February, 4th March, 8th April, 3rd June

Thursdays

12th October, 16th November, 22nd February, 15th March

For more information, please contact Lyn on 01509 889700 or subscribe to the newsletter by e-mailing lyn_cooper@hotmail.com

New volunteers are always welcome, tools and training are provided; no previous experience is necessary and there are tasks for all ages and abilities. Meet at the Pavilion at 10am. We are grateful for any help that you can offer, even for just an hour.

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful Plantation volunteers who have worked so hard over the year to keep this beautiful woodland in shape.

If you are interested in purchasing logs please contact the parish clerk.

Plantation Newsletter

Plantation News, 7th June 2017

We were lucky with the weather last Sunday morning, falling as it did immediately before some pretty awful weather for June. From a quick walk round the Plantation earlier today, it looks as if there has been remarkably little damage given the strength of the winds. Lots of leaves and twigs on the ground but the trees themselves seem to have survived despite the extra weight of a full set of leaves. Perhaps we are now reaping the benefit of removing so many of the dead and diseased trees, which were always the ones most likely to fall.

Usually, at this time of year, the main job is to clear the cow parsley, brambles and other vegetation which has grown or fallen across the paths. It wasn't as bad this year, and a combination of new equipment and our volunteers having an efficient routine for this, meant that we were able to do quite a lot of other work too.

Another key task was to check the many trees and shrubs which have been planted since September to make sure they are not overcrowded by other vegetation and have enough water. The good soak they have had over the last few days, should also help see them over the summer.

The wildflower seeds sowed at the Charnwood end in April are germinating nicely and after a good weeding should now have the space to thrive. We only used about half of the seeds so we can re-sow there if necessary in the Autumn, and if not, use the remaining seed elsewhere in the wood.

I have been asked about the composition of the seed mix so that people know what to look for as the area develops, so I have attached an identification sheet, showing what was included in this particular mix. Do let us know if you spot any of them, though many will not flower in their first year.

There was a limited response to the log sale, as we rather expected, but some logs were cleared and a donation towards the funds collected.

Some snowberry was removed but, to minimise disturbance to the wildlife, we kept to the areas near paths, which meant that the lamium (yellow archangel) was easier to get to and clear. This invasive garden plant has grown back into areas we cleared previously and our aim is to stop it from spreading further into the Plantation.

Plans for tackling this and the snowberry will be considered at what has now become an annual site visit, this time on 10th July. The aim of this site visit is to review progress on last year's plan, update the long-term planting plan and decide on priorities and projects for the 2017-8 season, both for our volunteers and for those from outside, such as Brooksby and Santander, who will, we hope, be offering to help again.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on how the Plantation could be improved or developed, then please let us know before 10th July so we can consider them. All ideas welcome.

The tools have all been cleaned, assessed, listed and put away for the summer, and it only remains for me to thank everyone for everything you have done to support the Plantation again this year, wish you a happy summer and look forward to seeing everyone again in October.

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

Newsletter archive

Plantation Volunteer morning, Sunday 4th June 10 to 12.30

As usual at this time of year, the main task of the morning will be clearing the vegetation which is growing across the paths. It's not too bad at the moment, but after another ten days' growth it will need doing. We also need to check on the trees and shrubs we have planted this year and make sure they are not dry or overcrowded by other vegetation. Then there's the lamia which is growing apace and will spread even more if it isn't contained.

There are signs that the wildflower seeds at the Charnwood end are germinating, though I suspect we will need to repeat sow in the Autumn. A bit of maintenance there to remove the crop seedlings and the 'fence' will be needed too. A nice light job for the less energetic?

More of a workout will be barrowing logs to the Pavilion entrance – again.

As you know, we try to keep a percentage of the felled wood as habitat piles for the local wildlife, but following the winter work we still have more on the ground than we need.

Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

Plantation News, 3rd April 2017

The weather was beautiful on Sunday morning as we gathered for the last Sunday morning volunteer session of the season before we leave the Plantation to the wildlife for the Summer.

Most of the volunteers spread chippings and gathered logs for the log sale which followed and which raised a very useful £130 for the funds for the maintenance of the Plantation.

A group of three prepared the area in front of the bench at the Charnwood end and sowed a woodland wildflower mix, which will hopefully give a good show of flowers later in the year.

Two more prepared the refreshments, so with thirteen of us in all it was a decent turnout to finish off the season. As always, there was a lot more we could have done with more volunteers, so if you haven't managed to join us over the winter, please join us next season if you can.

In the meantime, we will be meeting on 4th June (please note the change of date from 11th) to do a few maintenance jobs which can be done from the paths.

Until then there will be plenty to enjoy in the Plantation as the celandines and violets give way to the bluebells, and the birds sing their hearts out as the trees burst into leaf.

Happy Spring!

Lyn
Lyn Cooper – Volunteer co-ordinator

The Plantation round the year

Plantation Management Committee

For details about the Parish Council's Plantation Management Committee, including committee members and meeting dates, please see the Committee page of this website.

Friends of Burton Plantation

Becoming a Friend of Burton Plantation is a way to your show support for the plantation. The plantation relies on the support of volunteers and the funding raised from Friends of Burton Plantation goes directly on the maintenance of this valuable asset.

Much of the work in the plantation is carried out by volunteers, your donation will support this work through items including the purchasing of tools for use by the volunteers and the cost of hiring a chipper.

If you enjoy using our beautiful woodland and would like to support this important community asset you can become a Friend of Burton Plantation by contacting the clerk to the Parish Council.

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Plantation Photo Gallery

Archive news, volunteer days and events at the Plantation

Biodiversity

The Fishpond Plantation supports a large range of species of plants, fungi, invertebrates, amphibians, birds and mammals. Over the past 10 years a number of groups have carried out various surveys to identify the full range. The Wildlife Trust and the Botanical Survey of Britain and Ireland being the two main contributory agencies. Many of these results have been published on Leicestershire's Nature Spot http://www.naturespot.org.uk Nature Spot allows members of the public to record what they see. It is easy to register and add what you have identified to Burton's species list.

Plantation Trees and Kretzschmaria deusta

Plantation History

The History of Fishpond Plantation

At a first glance the Plantation looks like quite a young wood with lots of thin spindly sycamore trees. Closer inspection reveals that its history must go back many centuries. The thick carpets of snowdrops and bluebells in the spring indicate a long established woodland. There is much to be discovered about the history of Fishpond Plantation and several theories abound.

The accompanying map shows that in 195 4the woodland was considerably bigger than its present 3.96 acres. Prior to the building of Burton Hall it may have covered an even larger area. One assumption had been that the name Fishpond Plantation related back to medieval times. The fishponds themselves are difficult to date. They were obviously there before the trees, hence the name of the plantation, but they have been inspected by two of the County archaeologists and neither believed them to be medieval.

It has been noted that the ground in the wood is very disturbed and irregular and shows no signs of early cultivation such as ridge and furrow. A look at a geological map gives a clue. The East Midlands has long been known for its deposits of Gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) Old disused 'plaster pits' are a common feature locally where gypsum deposits are found close to the surface in the glacial clay known as Keuper Marl. It is likely that the ponds were created from disused mine workings. A fine granular variety of gypsum called alabaster was greatly sought after up to the 18th century. Parts of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire were well known for alabaster carvings for local market and export. Perhaps Burton on the Wolds was one of the suppliers for this industry. Certainly after mining had taken place the land would be unsuitable for agricultural use. Adding weight to this theory the geological survey of 1900 marks the fishpond area as "clay pits".

The ponds themselves were probably constructed in the 18th Century by the Mason family who lived at what is now Manor Farm and owned the Burton Estate prior to the building of Burton Hall. The ponds would have supplied fish for the house and also ice. The remains of the ice house can still be seen in the garden of 41 Barrow Rd alongside the footpath that runs from Barrow Road to Springfield Close. Leaving speculation aside, the more recent history is easier to prove. Ann Mason's grandson, John Noon, built Burton Hall towards the end of the 18th century. John left the estate to Charles Godfrey Mundy who transformed the modest country house into a modern "mansion" in 1824.

Charles also laid out the gardens and plantations (the Packes were renowned for their woodlands so it may have been a case of trying to keep up with his somewhat richer neighbours). He probably had areas cleared, planted more trees (mixed woodland including conifers) created paths and maybe even had the long shallow pond dug as a feature. Charles was forced to put the estate up for sale in 1834. He said at that time that the Fishpond Plantation was ten years old. (so 2014 was actually the Plantation's 190th birthday!)

The Estate was bought by the Somerset family in 1838. The Somersets were great sportsmen so it may have been during their ownership that the woodland was planted with the snowberry as cover for game. The Somersets sold the estate to the Earl and Countess of Huntingdon in 1920

The south end of the plantation was felled during World War II because it was in line with the north-south runway of Wymeswold Airfield. An aerial photograph of 1945 shows this quite clearly. As you explore the wood, you can spot the large conifer tree stumps remaining from this time. During the war there were military huts close to the area of the present car park and it was to serve these that drains were installed that run through the wood.

The Countess put the estate on the market in the spring of 1954. When the estate was dispersed some of the cottages went to sitting tenants and the Plantation was bought by Mr W.V. Harlow of Harlow Brothers, timber merchants of Long Whatton, for £1,250.

A large part of the plantation was lost in the 1960s when it was cleared for houses and a new village school. The cottage shown on the map (in lot 3) still remains as number 23 Barrow Rd.

In 2004 the Plantation was bought by Burton on the Wolds, Cotes and Prestwold Parish Council on behalf of the village with villagers' donations and grants from Shires and Charnwood Borough Council for £26,100.

It is now managed by a sub-committee of the Parish Council. Residents are encouraged to participate by becoming Friends of Burton Plantation, helping raise funds to maintain the wood and volunteering with maintenance tasks in the winter months.

The management plan for the wood lists the following objectives:

  • maintain and enhance wildlife habitats
  • encourage public access
  • provide interpretive material for educational purposes.

External recognition of our progress in these aims is demonstrated by

a) designation of the woodland as a Wildlife Site by the Borough Council and Leicestershire Wildlife Trust

b) receiving the Michael Brayshaw Biodiversity Conservation Award in 2007

Much of the woodland comprises of self-sown sycamore with an under story of snowberry at the western end becoming a denser shrub layer to the north east. There is a succession of woodland flowers including snowdrops, celandines, violets, wood anemones, bluebells, red campion and cow parsley. To date, surveys of flora show over 60 species. More than 30 species of birds have been observed. The Plantation is also known to be the home for amphibians including the Great Crested Newt.

Cath Thomson

Heritage Warden August 2014

If you have information to share or would like to become involved in discovering more about the local history and the natural history of Burton on the Wolds the Heritage Warden would love to hear from you.

Contact Cath Thomson email cathomson50@hotmail.com or phone 07887996293