Woodland Management Work (Speckled Wood)
In 2008 Ore Valley Action commenced clearance work on the network of footpaths in the area of Speckled Wood near to Old London Road. This also involved the removal of a large amount of rubbish.
In 2009 the Trust set up a volunteer team to start the process of clearing the overgrown footpaths in the lower part of Speckled Wood.
In the spring a team of young people from the Princes Trust, working over two five day sessions to clear the stream and the footpath running along the valley floor and remove decades of accumulated debris & rubbish.
Hastings Borough Council provided skips for the rubbish removal.
The Trust installed a bridge over the stream and found and cleared the overgrown and completely impassable old cross valley footpath to School Road and continued to clear other footpaths.
Advice on wildlife, conservation and woodland maintenance was provided by Sussex Wildlife Trust, a Borough Ranger and other wildlife and woodland management groups and the trust volunteer teams commenced further woodland maintenance work and started the long process of treating the extensive and invasive Japanese knotweed. A significant area at the Frederick Road end of the valley has now been successfully cleared.
In 2010 a Speckled Wood – Footpath Opening Event was organised which was attended by a number of Borough Councillors including the Council Leader.
The Trust has organised numerous tours of Speckled Wood over the years to show local people what a valuable amenity it provided.
In 2011, following requests from some of the local people who used the footpaths to walk to Ore Village, the Trust volunteer teams started to construct a series of steps to allow people to walk from the valley floor up to the Green and the Church Street track. This work has continued and to date …. steps have been provided.
In addition, responding to a number of requests, a map of the network of footpaths in Speckled Wood was produced and distributed.
From 2011 to the present, Trust volunteers have installed footpath signs at all of the entrances to Speckled Wood.
Discussions have taken place with a member of the Disability Forum about options for creating accessible paths for people using wheelchairs and other disability aids and this project will be included in any future enhancement and public amenity work in Speckled Wood
The result of this clearance work and publicity has resulted in a huge increase in use of Speckled Wood for leisure walking and as a route to Ore Village and across the valley by local people of all ages. This transformation of Speckled Wood, from what was only 5 years ago an inaccessible overgrown and rubbish strewn wood that only children and young people ventured into, to become a well used community asset demonstrates the ability of the Trust to maintain and improve woodland and green space for public use. It also shows what can be achieved if and when the Trust has acquired land in Speckled Wood and secured the funding to make more significant improvements for community use.