Friends of Streatham Common Volunteer Tom Frankfort has been busy on the community’s behalf, working with the Council’s plan to plant a new line of 16 Oak trees along the North side of the Common, roughly between the bus stop and Hopton Road.
6 of these trees are funded by FoSC. There is the possibility we are to fund more, in collaboration with the Council, in future years.
We are constantly looking at the health and long-term sustainability of the Common and as our resident trees age, we need to think about replacements long in advance to ensure our common stays vibrant and environmentally relevant into the future.
Ecological importance: Within its native range Quercus robur – The English Oak is valued for its importance to insects and other wildlife. Numerous insects live on the leaves, buds, and in the acorns. Q. robur supports the highest biodiversity of insect herbivores of any British plant. The acorns form a valuable food resource for several small mammals and some birds, notably Eurasian jays Garrulus glandarius. Jays were overwhelmingly the primary propagators of oaks before humans began planting them commercially, because of their habit of taking acorns from the umbra of its parent tree and burying them undamaged elsewhere.
In England, the English oak has assumed the status of a national emblem. This has its origins in the oak tree at Boscobel House, where the future King Charles II hid from his Parliamentarian pursuers in 1650 during the English Civil War; the tree has since been known as the Royal Oak. This event was celebrated nationally on 29 May as Oak Apple Day, which is continued to this day in some communities.
‘The Royal Oak’ is the third most popular pub name in Britain (541 in 2007) and has been the name of eight major Royal Navy warships. The naval associations are strengthened by the fact that oak was the main construction material for sailing warships. The Royal Navy was often described as ‘The Wooden Walls of Old England’ (a paraphrase of the Delphic Oracle) and the Navy’s official quick march is “Heart of Oak”. In folklore, the Major Oak is where Robin Hood is purportedly to have taken shelter. Furthermore, the oak is the most common woodland tree in England. An oak tree has been depicted on the reverse of the pound coin (the 1987 and 1992 issues) and a sprig of oak leaves and acorns is the emblem of the National Trust. [source Wikipedia]
To ensure the FoSC are able to keep the common sustainable for now and future generations – join us! A years subscription runs to the same total as a cup of coffee and a cake these days. You will be investing in your community and to the environment, protecting and supporting our local wildlife.
A joint walk by London Wildlife Trust and South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) on 15th April saw 97 people exploring fragments of the Great North Wood from Streatham Common to Crystal Palace. The six-mile route took in six different sites over four hours, led by Sam Bentley-Toon and Edwin Malins from the Trust’s Great North Wood Project and Roy Vickery from the SLBI.
Once a large complex of coppice and wood pasture, fragments of the Great North Wood still remain across south London and it also lives on in place names such as Norwood, Honor Oak and Penge (meaning ‘edge of the wood’).
Starting from the Rookery Cafe, the walk passed through Streatham Common Woodland, part of the Local Nature Reserve managed by the Streatham Common Co-Operative (SCCoop). The group discussed the issue of compaction and erosion in the woodland, and the management solutions that SCCoop are implementing in conjunction with the Great North Wood project.
The route then crossed into the Borough of Croydon, winding through Norwood Grove and along Covington Way to Biggin Wood. This is an ancient fragment of the Great North Wood where London Wildlife Trust has been working with Friends of Biggin Wood to remove invasive plant species such as cherry laurel and also improve the path network. Roy Vickery talked to the group about the delicate patches of wood anemone and the importance of oak trees in these woods.
Further east, the group stopped for lunch at Spa Wood, once the site of the Beulah Spa. This is another site where the Trust’s Great North Wood project has been working with a friends group – the Friends of Spa Wood – to remove invasive plant species that are damaging the health of the woods. Pausing to marvel at the largest oak tree in this part of London, the walk then continued into Grangewood Park and across South Norwood Hill to Beaulieu Heights. London Wildlife Trust’s Emma Pooley then gave a talk on her work surveying London’s hedgehogs with the Urban Urchins project, before the walk continued onwards, concluding at Crystal Palace Station.
Come and see which beautiful (and not so beautiful) moths have been trapped overnight in the Streatham Common Community Garden. The moth trap will be opened at 9.30am in the Community Garden – entrance door in the brick wall near the sundial in the Rookery’s Old English Garden.
According to the Guardian “Moths are vanishing from our skies at night, declining in southern Britain by 40% over 40 years. Three species have become extinct this century already, following the permanent loss of 62 species in the twentieth century.”
It goes on to say “The moth-phobic may wonder what they have ever done for us, but moths pollinate plants at night, are snapped up by bats, and their caterpillars are a crucial source of food for almost all garden birds. Broadcaster Chris Packham, the vice-president of Butterfly Conservation, said: “The general public’s hearts are not going to be bleeding for the Double Dart moth, but they would be bleeding for all the birds that feed on its larvae.”
Streatham Common Community Garden is a historic walled garden situated within the Rookery public garden. Formally a kitchen garden of the Rookery (the last manor house that stood at the top of the hill, built in 1786), the site of garden was also used a Council nursery, supplying plants for parks and green spaces across Lambeth, before falling in to a state of neglect.
If you missed our wonderful Spring Bird Walk – no fear, the birds haven’t gone away. Come with our resident bird spotter Peter Newmark and stroll around the Common looking and listening for our resident birds as well as summer migrants.
Children welcome, dogs not!
Meet by the Rookery Cafe at 9.30am.
The walk will end around 11.00.