Launching our very own Woodland Wildlife Project

We couldn’t be more excited in telling you about our new exciting venture. Happy Habitats has finally got its very own Woodland in the heart of Cornwall. It’s situated in mid Cornwall and purchasing this woodland will allow us to showcase our woodland management to potential clients, firstly for wildlife habitat and secondly for good amenity purposes and enjoyment. Whether coming to visit or keeping an eye on our online diary, we will keep you posted with the work and progress that help us coexist with nature.

Our first day was spent celebrating after the completion of the purchase, so we went  straight down there to see what we have and need to achieve. Oh but how lucky were we! Although a bit bittersweet, we definitely felt bad about intruding at times but the most reddest of deer jumped out in front of us as we explored. The deer was a female, very red/orange in colour and quite large. We cant be sure if a Roe or Red so we have put our plans into place to find out more.

Our new Browning trail cameras have been put up and our first trial started. We placed one where the deer knew an obvious route of departure. It also appeared to be a resting spot with a fair amount of flattened shrubs and ground. The second was placed where we observed ample badger latrines, a large circle about 3 meters diameter of dug out pits with a neat poo in the middle, these are calling cards which communicate to other badger sets “who goes here!” We will see if our observations of where we placed these cameras are correct next week. Watch this space for fails and successes in our future diary posts.

On our first day of ownership, a day of mizzle 11/09/18, colour didn’t fail. Among the green and brown of this ancient oak wood, as well as the bright reddish orange of the deer we also came across the turquoise blue of the green elf cap (green wood cap) mushroom. What a beautiful find, such vibrant colours of nature. Normally one only sees the turquoise staining of the wood but the saucer shaped fruit bodies are seen far less.

green-elf-cup-woodThe dead decaying oak wood and conditions here at the Happy Habitats Woodland Wildlife Project seem to be just the ticket for the little cups to burst out. A great find as it doesn’t appear to be observed as much in the South West as in the South East of England..

We were also delighted to find a group of Aspen (Populus tremula) whilst exploring. This is a great find as Aspen are less common in Cornwall, apart from the East – Bodmin to the Tamar Valley.

So what have we got planned for this wood and for our potential clients?

Firstly we will be observing the wildlife that call it their home and encouraging more by increasing the ground flora and fauna over the coming months and years ahead.  We will start by surveying and creating our own management plans which will include a five and ten year plan of works. This will require a small amount of thinning to allow light to get through the most closed canopy areas, managing the sycamore at the far end and the bramble along the trails. We will ensure the ground and shrub level is maintained for wildlife habitat. We will be planting native woodland shrubs and wild flowers where we feel it will benefit the fauna around the borders and the lighter, less closed canopy areas. Observing what is in situ first, we will manage a little of the more dominant bramble and see what pops up in Spring 2019. Importantly we intend to plant seeds that are indigenous to Cornwall and the local area. We are looking into how and where we can collect those seeds.

We are also lucky enough to have a stream at the bottom and a small amount of marsh too. We cant wait to see what we find there and again as soon as we have surveyed, we will do everything that is good for our wood!

Our objective is to make this a wildlife haven to be enjoyed with very little disturbance and we intend to leave no trace behind us. Somewhere we can coexist with nature and to show others how to create land that will be the most naturally species populated and at the very best of its successional stage.

About the author: Angie Cruse

As well as working hard on the ground here in the UK, Angie has spent ample time volunteering in conservation abroad and continually studies habitat management in conservation.