Vegetation Management

Swanage bay c 1900

Swanage Bay View is a very green and lush park, with lots of shrubbery and flora. This is, of course, much friendlier for the wildlife we have on the park.

We surely do not want a park that is all neat and straight lines of caravans with a bit of cut grass around.

We continue to discuss vegetation management with Darwin – some accounts of previous discussions are included below.


  • Update April 2014

Overall it is, as feared, disappointing in that no action has been taken this winter (2013/14). On the other hand, let’s be positive in that it is now apparent that Darwin has assumed responsibility for this side of the work, and also Andy at least is keeping us updated. On the other side it is disappointing that the errors or delays have been on the side of DWT and/or Forestry Commission so we have no gripes against Darwin. On the DWT side, I hope that the listing of the Northern (correct) and Eastern (incorrect) sides is an error.

Also they do appear to be making the point that they will take responsibility for the work itself but expecting an outside funder to pay the bills. I know that Andy was hoping to save money by doing some of the work with Park staff. Approval for the felling of the large sycamores has been obtained and this work will take place under Andy’s direction in September 2014.

John and Eva

  • Update March 2013

Despite the efforts of the Association, there are just as many large sycamores at the bottom of the Townsend Nature Reserve as there were at the end of last autumn so no improvement this year in sea views for those in the lower areas of the Park.

Andy Bennett departed – or just sort of faded away – before any winter work could begin and Anne Foulkes did not arrive until too late to get anything much done before the bird nesting season started on March 1.

Nevertheless we have had some positive exchanges with both Anne and Dorset Wildlife Trust and they have had a meeting to try to plan work for next autumn.  A further complication is that Swanage Town Council is responsible for the 5-metre strip along the lane to the old tip but they seem in favour in principle.

An on-site meeting of all concerned is to be arranged.  Why do such simple things become so complicated?           John Sutton

  • Report on Sycamore Management day in October 2012

One of the attractions of the Park is that, on the east side, it is right next door to the Townsend Nature Reserve.  Hope you do make use of it – there’s lots of wildlife to enjoy all year round.

A downside of the Reserve is that it has large and ever increasing numbers of sycamores which block the sea views of many owners.  Fortunately the Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) who manage the Reserve agrees that the sycamores are a problem as an invasive, non-native species.  So, from different viewpoints, we both want to reduce their number.  For the past 5 years a small group of owners has met on one autumn morning every year with support from DWT to fell as many of the sycamore saplings as possible.  This year nine of us, together with two DWT staff, spent a damp Sunday morning at the end of October for the annual cull.  The photo shows some of the working party, bedraggled but still smiling, on their way home.  Many thanks to all participants. It’s all good fun, so if you feel like joining us, we will be looking for more volunteers next year.

We do keep in touch with Andy Bennett about all of this. We are hoping that this winter Darwin will collaborate with DWT to fell some of the larger trees which are way beyond our abilities. Time will tell. But wouldn’t it be great if we could enjoy similar relations with Darwin about other matters.   John and Eva Sutton

  • 20th September 2012: A report on John & Eva’s recent meeting with Andy Bennett is available by clicking here.

Sycamores are actually a bit of a thug on SBV itself, popping up everywhere growing very tall and blocking our views and light. They are effectively an invasive species, native to central Europe, but they have been in Britain for many centuries. Despite their invasive reputation they do have some pedigree, particularly in Dorset – the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Tree is a sycamore.

We should be resisting the temptation to do any hedge or tree chopping/ trimming between the months of March and September due to bird-nesting, so is better to do this in the autumn or winter.

Unfortunately, there is Japanese Knotweed, a very invasive species, in various places around SBV too. It appears there is quite a lot in Swanage. If you have any around your caravan please contact reception who will give any message to Andy Romsey SBV Supervisor. We understand the park has developed a programme to combat Japanese Knotweed.

There are orchids in some of the park grassy areas – which is not surprising as SBV is situated right next door to an orchid nature reserve and have the same aspect and ground conditions. We understand that some of these orchids may be being strimmed away during the regular ground maintenance. We need to identify the spots and talk about this to Darwin. If you know of any orchids growing around your caravan let us know and we will try to preserve these patches of valuable flora.

There are Badgers, Deer, Foxes Pheasants and numerous birds around the park you may be lucky enough to see. An abundance of butterflies inhabits and visit every year. The Painted Lady descends upon the Buddleia from the Continent most years.


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