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Where's Westfield Wally?

Posted: Wednesday 24th August 2016 by Communities

Westfield Wally surveys the volunteers work!

Mascot Wally inspects work of local volunteers who have been busy looking after Westfield Common, Woking by creating new glades and clearing a circular path in the woods.

It's brilliant to see wildlife and people enjoying the common more these days!

Surrey Wildlife Trust has been helping Woking Borough Council recruit and train volunteers to look after Westfield Common SNCI as part of a ten-year programme of community involvement. Whilst carrying out practical work in the woods at Bonsey Lane Westfield Common Volunteers found a new recruit living rough in the woods. We adopted the toy gorilla, nicknamed Westfield Wally, as our mascot and recently he returned to the Common to check on our progress.

Westfield Common is a mosaic of small woods, grassland and wetland that supports a variety of native plants and animals, but is particularly valued for its wet woodland habitat. A three-year community engagement plan has a vision for a Common rich in wildlife that is used and enjoyed by local people. So we have been busy cutting a new glade next to the large pond found in the Bonsey Woods, which has already been visited by mallard ducks, yellow wagtail and red kites. Wally took an opportunity recently to visit the glade for himself.

Not content with enhancing the woodland for wildlife, under the leadership of SWT Community Learning Coordinator Paul Ritchie, we then set about opening up a circular path around Bonsey Woods so that local people can enjoy the Common more easily. We cut back the ever growing bramble so that walkers, school children and parents don’t get snagged on the thorns, whilst keeping enough to produce plenty of flowers and berries next year. We plan to get some wood chip delivered so that we can tackle those really muddy spots on paths.

We stopped cutting trees and shrubs at the end of February because birds start their courtship and nesting behaviour. So we spent our usual Thursday mornings picking up litter, old and new, as part of our plan to keep the Common clean and inviting for people and wildlife. Over a month we collected about 25 sacks of rubbish and various tyres, chairs and local papers that were removed by SERCO, Woking Councils contractors. A lot of the litter had been there for a long time and it appears that our hard work has really made Bonsey Woods a tidier place.

If you would like to get involved in caring for Westfield Common and join our small group why not contact Paul or keep an eye out for us on a Wednesday or Thursday morning. You may spot his small silver SWT van or even Westfield Wally if you look carefully enough!


Geoff Pugh

Westfield Common Volunteers

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