latest news
from and around West Chiltington

Asian Long Horned Beetle - local infestation!

(April 15, 2012)

The first infestation of the Asian Long Horned Beetle in this country was only recently  recorded in Paddock Wood, Kent.  This non-native species is a major threat to broadleafed woodland causing damage to trees such as Maple, Elm, Horse Chestnut, Willow, Poplar, Birch and even fruit trees.

Adult beetles are very distinctive.  They're large in size, black with variable white markings and antennae which are up to twice the body length.  More information can be found on the Forestry website - see link below.  If you think you've seen one of these beetles please notify FERA (Food & Environment Research Agency Plant Health Helpline) on 0844 248 0071  immediately.


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Monkmead Wood's historical past
Monkmead Wood is a site rich in history.  From a Roman Road which disects the site, to its connections with World War 2, it's a fascinating place and home to many species of wildlife too.
At just under 28.5 acres it can boast both wet and dry heathlands, a SSSI and varied broadleaf deciduous tree species (some of which are featured on this site). 
Some clues as to the woodland's past ownership are still visible today.  Ornamental tree planting of huge pines are thought to have been planted by the owners of Monkmead Place, a large residential house opposite the woodland, back in 18th or 19th Century.

Remains of the Candian Army camp from World War 2 are visible throughout the woodland even today, these range from ceramic telephone lines to brick foundations from administration buildings.  

The woodland itself is owned by Horsham District Council and it has been working closely with MWVG for the past 7 years to continue to preserve this site for many generations to come. 
One of the tasts that the volunteer group are involved in every year is heathland preservation.  Although the group spend many hours removing birch saplings which had colonised the area, some mature trees are a vital component of the heathland as song posts for birds and homes for insects.  If the encroachment of birch was not kept under control their coverage of the heathland would reduce the light reaching the woodland floor and seriously affect the conditions required for heathland species making it difficult for them to re-establish in the area.
The next time you're walking in the woodland see if you can spot those ceramic phone lines from World War 2!