Deer's Leap Wood - Reserve Officer's Report

November 2015 - Our Reserve Officer, Paul Stephenson, reports on what we have achieved this summer.

The original stalwart Friends of Deers Leap who were formed 30 years ago are still involved with the reserve and manage Deers Leap Wood by keeping paths open, managing habitats and access and planting and weeding native trees to replace the Lombardy poplars.

The Deers Leap Residents Association and Street Watch group has been very involved in helping to keep an ongoing input into clearing litter and years of accumulated rubbish. Focusing on the area alongside City Road and Roebuck Road the area is much cleaner with the roadside vegetation cleared to give clear access, the original fence mended, anti-social behaviour prevented and signs placed to show that this is part of the reserve. Part of this area has been opened up to remove cherry laurel and planted with native hazel and woodland groundflora plants including primroses. The residents have undertaken a tremendous amount of area wide activities to help improve the estate and the Deers Leap site.

This has been a memorable period as most of the dramatic works have been undertaken and we are now moving to a more established phase. The log piles which were the result of large numbers of Lombardy poplars being removed were chipped and removed in one day by an awesome chipper ( one of the largest in the country) which was pulled by a 400 horsepower tractor. It filled a ten ton load in ten minutes and they took away 140 tons of woodchip. This area has had debris cleared and then species rich green hay from Illey Pastures SSSI south of Halesowen, spread, which will re-establish a colourful meadow and hopefully over the next few years see rare and wonderful grassland species such as orchids appear.

Much surrounding work on the new estate has been completed with fencing and new gates around the reserve being installed by contractors. Other important access improvements have been new lengths of boardwalk near the pool installed, whilst further improvements are required and in the pipeline, so that gradually full access will be created.

Over this coming winter more tree and hedgerow planting will be done and native woodland plants will be planted, whilst step and footpaths will be restored.

Finally a new Deers Leap sign has been installed near the entrance by the small pond and meadow.