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A new woodland site at Eynsham Lock 1 May 2007 Nick Mottram reports on a new woodland being created between the Wharf Stream and the Thames south of Eynsham

A new woodland is being created between the Wharf Stream and the Thames south of Eynsham, on land owned by Oxfordshire County Council. This is just one part of a landscape and habitat creation scheme for the site, being undertaken in partnership between the County Council, the Environment Agency and the Wychwood Project.

The scheme has its origin in discussions between the Wychwood Project and local residents, who expressed a desire to create further areas of woodland accessible to the local community. The new woodland will have two parts:

  • The larger part, some 3 hectares in size, has been planted with willow, which is to be coppiced at intervals of about every five to seven years to produce wood chip. The intention is to use the wood chips to as a source of heat for local County Council owned properties - part of the Council’s drive to reduce its carbon emissions and so play a small part in reducing global warming.
  • A smaller area of woodland, adjacent to the Wharf Stream, is to be planted with a wider mixture of native tree species to increase the habitat diversity on the site.

To complement the new woodland, the Environment Agency has done work to improve the value of the small channel through the middle of the site as a fish spawning area. This has involved placing gravel along the stream bed and fencing off the banks from cattle to prevent their erosion and silt clogging up the areas where the young fish feed. A new ford has been created to allow willow harvesting machinery to cross the channel.

Some work has already been completed: fencing has been put up to keep cattle away from the new trees, the willow planted and the work to improve the middle stream channel. There are kissing gates in the fence to allow people to walk around the edges of the woodland and alongside the streams - marked KG on the map.

Please note, there are no new public rights of way through the new woodland and dogs are to be kept under control at all times. The County Council has installed a kissing gate at the main field entrance in place of the old stile.

There are also plans for other work in the longer-term. They include pollarding of the old willows and poplars, a small footbridge across the middle channel and a pond in the corner of the field. However, these ideas are entirely dependent upon new sources of funds being found and the appropriate permissions negotiated.

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