PETERSHAM LODGE WOODS
NOVEMBER 2015: RESTORATION & MAINTENANCE plan
Richmond Council - working in conjunction with Petersham Environment Trust - agreed the following goals for the woods:
- Restore the wood to make it an attractive leisure and environmental asset for locals and visitors alike.
- Embrace the specific ecology of the wood (e.g. regular flooding) with appropriate planting to ensure sustainability and support biodiversity.
- Enhance the Richmond riverside by creating an attractive natural space which invites exploration.
This plan considers the wood’s history, hydrology, ecology and visitor use; it draws together existing data on its trees, habitats and species with new surveys; it sets out objectives and the prescriptions to deliver them and maintain the woodland over the next ten years.
The woodland was formally a landscape garden with a significant tree avenue on the eastern approach to Ham House. It has been in the care of the Council since 1902 partially for the purpose of preserving that section of the Richmond Hill view and is now managed as public open space and nature reserve
- Nature conservation:
Restore, maintain and improve existing habitat quality to ensure optimum conditions for key species and groups.
- Floodplain woodland transition:
Create and develop wet woodland in the area currently impacted by flooding.
- Visitor access:
Restore, maintain and improve the entrances, boundaries, pathways, furniture and cleanliness as well as the links and views to adjacent areas to ensure a good visitor experience.
- Landscape history:
Preserve the wood’s remaining historical elements.
- Education & information:
Communicate the wood’s history and ecology through information on site and on-line.
- Management planning:
Monitor key factors, review management regularly and look ahead to the next plan period.
The wood is a small conservation site located on the corner of River Lane and the Thames towpath, opposite Petersham Meadows. It features dense woodland, hazel coppice and an avenue of trees leading from Petersham Lodge to the river.
The whole of the woods including the central path have now been cleared and the views opened. The arisings from the clearing have been removed and taken to the Leg o’ Mutton Reservoir in Barnes for hedge construction.
Next steps are to consider ways to screen the water mains, fix the fencing alongside River Lane and look at options for bins and seating.
The tree, hydrology and ecology surveys will also be completed and a master plan drawn up taking these findings into account.
The woods have been neglected for quite a number of years. Paths are overgrown, fencing is broken and there are many damaged, dead - and potentially dangerous - trees.
As a result the environment discourages visitors and encourages anti-social behaviour.
The 2014 Petersham Open Gardens event was dedicated to fundraising to restore and maintain the wood to it's former glory. Members of the trust met with representatives of the LBRUT Parks and Open Space Department to explore how best to manage the restoration project. We agreed the following goals: