LOCAL NATURE RESERVE STATUS FOR FOXBURROW WOOD

Along with other residents backing on to Foxburrow Wood, I have recently received a letter from the Legal Department of Med way Council, announcing that at long last Foxburrow Wood has been declared a Local Nature Reserve in recognition of the significant nature conservation interests within its boundaries. Foxburrow Wood has records and maps going as far back as the early 17th century and has many ancient woodland indicators such as Herb Paris and Bluebells. Foxburrow is a remnant of a large ancient woodland stretching from the River Medway to Queen's Down Warren on the North Downs.

It was virtually devastated in October 1987 whcn Hurricane Herbert hit the south east of England. The Foxburrow Wood Restoration Group was formed by myself and other local residents to replant and restore the woodland to its former glory. The collaboration between Gillingham Borough Council and the Group was thought to be the first of its kind in the country. As many of you will know the Group assisted in planting 12,000 young trees involving local school children and 140 residents. Over the past 10 to 14 years we have had the pleasure of seeing the woodland blossom into the woodland we see today, with the return of much of the flora and fauna that were present before the devastation.

Unfortunately many of the residents who formed the restoration group have moved away and the few remaining have only been able to 'keep an eye' on the woodland and record the birds, plants, mammals, butterflies and insects as they have returned to the wood. In their letter, the Council asks us to enjoy and respect this small 'reservoir' of wildlife, ensuring all garden waste is either composted or taken to the tip and all dog mess is removed from the site. --On Tuesday 11 th June Peter Crawford (Med way Countryside Development Officer), Simon Bellinger (Ranger) and a small group of local residents walked around Foxburrow Wood noting the special fauna and flora within the wood and also formulating a management plan for the wood. It is the intention that a Woodland Management Committee will be introduced later in the year to include all the woodland sites within the Borough. 

Anyone mterested in playing their part in the future of Foxburrow Wood will be invited to join this committee. Can I say what a particular pleasure it is to walk . around the woodland, knowing that 14 years ago a small group oflocal residents and school children planted the trees and helped with the restoration of the woodland. I would ask any of you who have some spare time to telephone the Council and indicate your interest m the health of Foxburrow Wood and the flora and fauna within it. 

Carole Nixon

Foxburrow Wood Restoration Group 

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