Sherwood Forest growth impresses

From left, Brian Rance, Gay Munro, Gordon Duston, Sally Duston, Chris Rance and Ron Munro are impressed with the growth of these native trees, planted in what was a grassy paddock.

A small group of Forest and Bird members were astounded to see the recent growth in plantings at Derek's patch at Sherwood Forest, Tussock Creek at their working bee last Saturday.

Co-organiser Gay Munro said that restoration began under the Pat and the late Derek Turnbull in 2003 with the support of their family, Department of Conservation ( DoC), Environment Southland and various trust funds such as Queen Elizabeth II ( Q E 11) and Biodiversity Condition Fund.

"Much of the work has been done by volunteers giving generously of their time, following the initial work done by the Turnbulls, "she said. "Sally Duston who was at the working bee on Saturday was one of those who helped with planting maintenance in the early days and was delighted with the results now."

Co-organiser Brian Rance said there are at least ten threatened plants growing naturally there so some of the rare plants have been added in the plantings to complement these natural populations.

"Sherwood Forest is one of the larger stands of flood plain and riparian lowland podocarp forest in Southland, he said. "We noticed the growth in the height of the trees which have been planted there with some even starting to flower now, so it wont be long before the trees form a canopy and the grass will be suppressed."

The Biodiversity Condition fund enabled some paid workers to undertake weed control, especially elderberry, and plant over 3000 natives in the corridor between Sherwood Bush and the nearby DoC reserve, Marshall Bush, taking about seven years to complete this programme.

Friends of Sherwood Bush group was established in 2010 and as volunteers they continued planting, maintenance and weeding monthly through the summer until 2012.

"Pat encouraged Hedgehope and Sacred Heart schools to be involved in the restoration of Sherwood Bush," Munro said. "Both schools have adopted areas which they are planting out." 

New owner, Rod Sinclair, said he would like to recognise the good work done in the past and will keep it going. He is hoping to host overseas Willing Workers on Organic Farms ( WOOFers) to keep up the maintenance.

"We were given a grant through Environment Southland from the Southland Environment Enhancement fund  which we will use for pest animal and plant control, including hawthorn, elderberry, aluminium plant and ivy," he said. "We are keeping the track open through the reserve and enjoying the birds it brings and I can recognise four different calls from morepork near the house which is very special."