Archive for December, 2016

How do you feel about pests and diseases? | 06th Dec, 2016

Dr Julie Urquart from Imperial College is running a project about ash dieback.

She is trying to better understand how the public feels about ash dieback, a disease of ash trees that is currently quite widespread in East Kent. The findings from our project will provide useful feedback to government agencies in order to improve the way they communicate to the public about plant pests and diseases, and other environmental or public health risks.

Sylva-persistent-ash-leaves-due-to-ChalaraOur research involves asking respondents to sort a series of statements about ash dieback (and tree health more generally) according to how much they agree or disagree with the statements. This will help us to identify particular ways of thinking around these issues and whether ash dieback is affecting the way that people enjoy the countryside near where they live or how they manage their land.

We are currently seeking woodland owners in the East Kent area to take part. The process should take no longer than 30-45 minutes and takes place in your home or a location that is convenient for you. Most respondents find it quite enjoyable!

In the meantime, if you would like more information about the UNPICK project, please visit our website:

Ride Improvement Scheme – Update | 05th Dec, 2016


Ride Clearance Work Party – Plattershill, West Sussex

The track improvement pilot scheme in the South East is now nearing its end.  It was an initiative instigated by to help owners with shared tracks maintain and improve the utility, structure  and biodiversity of their tracks and rides.  There were applications from about 15 groups of owners in the area and woodlands were able to fund work in about half of these.  See the March edition of the newsletter for more details.

We will shortly be gathering some feedback from owners who have been  directly involved in the scheme and we will post this in the new year.  Apart from the physical improvements to the rides, one of the greatest benefits of the scheme in my view has been that of  bringing owners, who may rarely meet, together to collaborate.

Well maintained, functional rides are important for all owners and wildlife.  It is inevitable that if nothing is done, over the years the trees will close in, shade the tracks and their usefulness will be lost.  Hopefully this scheme will have highlighted the issues and given everyone involved an idea of how to go about tackling the problem.  As with most projects, the hardest work is usually necessary at the beginning, but if  plans are in place and  works are scheduled each year, the job will become easier and the benefits obvious to all involved.

Many hands make light work –  Owners and contractors clearing the main ride at Plattershill Wood in West Sussex. December 2016

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December 2016 Newsletter | 01st Dec, 2016

dec2106December has swept in on an icy draught, and with it a SWOG newsletter to warm the cockles.

Don’t miss the chance to win a place on a coppice course – enter the SWOG Big Picture competition. Send us your selfies and photographs of people enjoying the woods.

There are plenty of festive downloads – useful freebies for tree-lovers, including a chainsaw maintenance guide from Makita.

Season’s Greetings from the SWOG team!

Say trees – SWOG’s big picture competition | 01st Dec, 2016

cleared-at-last  gregory  building-eeyores-house

We’d like to see the best pictures of your family and friends enjoying time in the woods.

Show off the wood’s best side, and make sure you include people in the shot: climbing, running, hiding, strimming, chopping, eating, sleeping, making a fire, or just smiling. Don’t forget to say ‘trees’.

There will be a prize for the best photograph: Phil Hopkinson of Malvern Coppicing has kindly donated a place on one of his two-day coppice course in Worcestershire. There are two runners’ up prizes: a subscription to Living Woods Magazine and a Storm Kettle.

Entries close on 17 January 2017. The competition will be judged by the distinguished photographer Graham Wood, formerly of The Times.

There are some tips for winter woodland photography here.

Full terms and conditions are here.

The winning entries can be seen here.

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