The Ferrings Wood woodland management project was prompted by our 2011 dormouse survey. The wood was one of the survey sites and, while monitoring the tubes, we discovered a previously unrecorded population of violet helleborines (Epipachtus purpurata).
This was the largest population recorded in the county for many years and we discussed with the landowner how we could safeguard the plants.
The upshot was that we agreed with the landowner that the Plumpton and East Chiltington Wildlife Group would take on the management of this woodland for the benefit of wildlife.
Ferrings Wood is mixed broad-leaved woodland comprising oak, ash and hornbeam, with some conifers and exotic plants and understorey of hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn. It already contains rich ground flora, and also the remains of a pond and an area that has potential for restoration to native wet woodland.
The wood is located on the parish border between Plumpton and East Chiltington and is bisected by a well-used bridleway. It is bordered to the south and east by the Plumpton Mill Stream and surrounded on nearly all sides by intensive farmland that rotates between arable and intensive haylage production.
Fly-tipping, off-road quad bikes, motorcycles and spray drift penetration are ongoing issues. Seasonal flooding occurs in the low-lying areas bordering the Plumpton Mill Stream.
The public right of way runs through the site on a roughly east-west axis and dog walkers make some use of the wood, which may be a problem for ground nesting birds.
Our aim is to manage the wood with minimal intervention. We have been carrying out some conservation work, mainly in the winter months when the effects on wildlife are minimal. These have primarily been to clear non-native and invasive species, such as cherry laurel, bamboo and ornamental dogwood, in order to allow native species to re-emerge. We are also conducting regular surveys of the site throughout the rest of the year.
If you would like to be involved in this woodland management project, please contact us.