Showing posts from January, 2015

Tolworth Orchard Apple Store

Does this building look familiar? Would it surprise you to know that, not only is it in the borough, but it is in public ownership. This does not mean there is public access, as it is located on a site that is leased to an organisation that has no use for it.  Damaged brick work Missing roof tiles It was probably used for storing apples when the area was an orchard. Unfortunately the building is in a state of disrepair with damage to the brickwork and missing roof tiles. The windows are boarded up at the  northern elevation. It would make a pretty fantastic bat roost, as it has many features that are of interest to bats, including being part of a treeline. There are signs that bats have been using it, as we found some tell-tale droppings on one of the windows. Its just a case of getting agreement so that we can weather proof the building and then add some access bricks and bat roosting features. Dropping-like smuts on a window, typical of bat droppings

Tolworth Court Farm Hedgerow Survey (2)

Surveyors from Kingston Biodiversity Network During the final hedgerow survey at TCF, we  began along this ancient drovers road, which is the only area to exhibit the characteristic double hedgerow. With a track the width of two horse and carts, it would have once run from Malden Manor to Tolworth Manor and through to Cox Lane (see previous posts). The survey method is quite complex and follows the DEFRA guidelines. It requires an assessment of both sides of the hedge, topographical descriptions, width measurements, height of perennial vegetation, species breakdown, management observations, whether or not invasive or introduced species are present and nutrient loading assessments, phew! An 'orse Scalloped edges There is also a section that includes management of land adjacent to the hedge and in this case it is grazed!  The edges are scalloped, which increases the value of the habitat, creating sunny patches. Once a 'node' is reached, this is de

Kingston Riverside: Mink and Seals

Kingston Riverside is changing fast and it's latest residents will make more demands on the riverside environment. This will mean an increase in light pollution, whether it is due to light spillage from these windows or by an increase in lighting specification brought about by the inevitable health and safety requirements. Trees are always casualties of the latter and some are exhibiting the painted spots identifying their future execution. There is a new pathway onto Canbury Gardens and wear and tear suggests that here will be the next tarmacadam or bonded gravel pathway. And so more of the natural environment is eroded as the urban gradient increases. 4lb bream caught today Part of the trick is to enrol the new residents in support of local environmental protection. Some of the wildlife is obvious such as the large bream regularly caught by the fisherman, the small fish sought by the kingfisher (as well as the cormorants who regularly turn Stephens Ait into a scene f

Kingston Cemetery and Cambridge Road Estate (CRE)Part 3

Kingston Cemetery is nowadays a splendid place for wildlife (see earlier posts for fungi, birds etc.). Over previous winters we have undertaken  winter bird surveys and last years results are posted on the window at the cemetery office. Both night roosts and pre-roost gatherings of several bird species are of interest: Jackdaw, Starlings, Ring-necked Parakeets as well as small passerines. These song birds are  using trees in the environs, including the Cambridge Road Estate, where last night we counted a tree roost of >32 Goldfinches. The birds could be attracted by the 'Cemetery effect ' as well as the warmth around the buildings on the estate. It demonstrates the importance for wildlife of large trees in the urban environment. Tree damage caused by dogs Many large trees have been removed from the estate in recent years and some will die slowing as a result of trenching operations and vandalism. The council have belatedly placed tree guards around some of the trees