Category Archives: Latest News

Reciprocating Mower Training

Four members of ACG have successfully completed a course on the safe use of pedestrian mowers.

On a course run by Rob Fletcher Training Ltd, four members of ACG have successfully obtained certification for safely operating a reciprocating mower. Held in John Pears Field in Ashurst Wood, the meadow area was mown under Rob’s supervision. The grass will be raked up by Gatwick Greenspace volunteers in a couple of weeks, after it has dried and drooped its seeds.

We will now be able to mow the Ashplats Wood meadow using a mower appropriate to meadow management.

During to mowing, frogs, toads and voles were spotted running for cover. We also found some large Araneus quadratus spiders,  females full of eggs to be laid on cocoons which will hatch next spring.



Meadow Raking Task Review

Septembers task was raking the grass from the recently mown meadows: Rutland Meadow and The Glade.


The crabapple tree was well-laden with fruit, a result of the regular rains over the summer.


This year the grass has been cut using a conventional ride on mower, instead of the usual reciprocating mower. Ride on mowers process the grass into shorter lengths, making it harder to rake and roll into bales for convenient pitchforking. The task took longer than previous years, and time was too short to rake The Glade.

Ready for raking.
Raking into lines.










Barrow full of grass.

We used wheelbarrows and builders sacks to transport the cuttings to the piles. In previous years we have been able to pitchfork bales directly from the ground and carry them into the woodland.

One of the grass piles.

The final result was a bit ragged where the mower had missed some long stems. The mower had cut some patches very short where the ground undulates.

After raking

More information on managing wild flower meadows can be found on the RHS website.



More Path Improvements

As well as the Gill Steps boardwalk installation, Mid Sussex District Council have also made improvements in the southern part of the woods, with bridges over the stream, and boardwalk/path  branching off of the Sussex Border Path.



Bridges have been revamped and the banks reinforced where the two streams converge in the south of the woods.



Beech Path and other paths have been improved where they cross the stream running parallel to the Sussex Border Path.


Bluebells Emergent from the Time Lapse Camera

ACG member Brian recently installed a time lapse camera in the woods to capture the emergence of the bluebells.


Brian observes: “You can see that it is a race against time before the bluebells are smothered by surrounding undergrowth. The video was edited to avoid night time and sunlit images.”

The camera will next be used to capture wildlife images.

Car Park Improvements

MSDC have installed posts around the car park to prevent further damage to the grass from cars driving on the soft ground.





The damage was extensive, and appears to have been done intentionally. The area between the hut and the play area was worst affected. Tracks were also found on the far side of the field.2016cargrassdamage4