Jubilee Woodland
First, where is this Jubilee Woodland?
The entrance to the Woodland is on the northern side of Tadworth Street next to the railway bridge. There is only a narrow frontage and so it is easily missed but, even if the gate is shut, the site is always open.

The land is in the ownership of the Council but is now permanently designated as open space under the Queen Elizabeth II Playing Fields initiative.

Work on the site began in 2010. The Tadworth and Walton Residents Association had complained in the past that there were no playing facilities for young children in Tadworth nor any public sitting out areas. When Councillor Broad broached the idea of developing the derelict site for community use, the idea was welcomed. A small management committee was established, which is chaired by Councillor Broad. Councillor Rachel Turner is also on the committee. We have been very fortunate in obtaining grants from several organisations to pay for structures like fencing and paths, and also for the support from our ward councillors and Council officers, particularly the rangers who have done magnificent work in felling trees, organising bonfires and putting up bird and insect boxes.

In the last few years, considerable progress has been made in clearing the dense under-storey of laurel, leaving a high canopy of mature trees. Much of the site is still shaded which adds to its attraction in hot weather.

The site has been divided into 2 parts. The front half is open to the community and laid out with paths, play facilities for young children and seating. We are gradually introducing bulbs and improving biodiversity by encouraging native plants and providing habitats for wild life. As there is little top soil and the site is very shady, it is taking time to introduce more colour and plant variety.

The area to the rear is fenced off and is being developed as a nature conservation area. We have a pond, which has been planted with aquatics, and are now creating clearings in the woodland to encourage more light-loving indigenous plants. At present most of the laurel has been cut down but it is taking time to burn because of the vast quantities. There are a large number of self seeded maples which still need clearing. Although the main mature trees are oaks there are a variety of other trees including holly, yew, wild cherry, larch and sycamores.

The front area is well used by families with young children and also by schools on a regular basis. There are occasional events. Apart from local children planting spring bulbs this October, the next major attraction will be carol singing on Saturday 20th December. This will be led by the choir of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Refreshments will be available and every one is welcome.

We would like to see greater use made of the facility and so would welcome new ideas on how we can increase its attractiveness. One idea is additional play equipment which will appeal to slightly older children, but any ideas will be much appreciated.

Initially a few local residents had been concerned at possible vandalism but this has not proved to be a problem. Our main concerns now are keeping on top of the brambles and ivy, and reducing the impact of the new housing currently going up on the adjacent White Lodge site. We are creating a tree barrier as a screen but some of the new units will be very close and we may lose the current feeling of seclusion.

Recently our energies have concentrated on cutting back and burning the laurel at the rear of the site. Although hard work, it is very enjoyable. There is still a considerable amount of work to do in this area and decisions will need to be made on how much of the tree cover to retain and how we can attract more wildlife.

New volunteers are always very welcome. Some of the original enthusiasts have had to give up for various reasons and so now we need more man and womanpower. We normally work on Saturday mornings about once a month from about 10 am to 1 pm with occasional working mornings during the week when the Councils' rangers assist. However, anyone can come in and do some 'weeding' at any time. The woodland has a very peaceful atmosphere and those who help enjoy the tranquil setting. One word of warning. We are trying to encourage a varied ground cover of native plants by removing invasive brambles, ivy and young saplings but this means retaining many of the plants we normally consider as weeds. A change in mind set!

If you would like to be involved, please contact us on Jubilee_woodland@yahoo.com or gbockmeulen@hotmail.com We will be delighted to provide more information.
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“A very successful carol singing event was held in the Woodland in December 2015. The evening was mild and dry and over 200 residents came to join in the singing led by the Church of the Good Shepherd choir. Mulled wine, mince pies and excellent hamburgers provided by the local scout group helped the proceedings along.”
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