Report T09 *****

Problem: Old docks in parkland / limestone-brash
Where: Stanton Park, Wiltshire
When: December 17th – 21st 2002
Status: Countryside stewardship / Community Forest Project
Area: 5.66 hectares (14 acres)
Detail: Demonstration Clearance / Swindon Borough Council. (160 man-hours)

Well established Docks in 14 acres of old parkland pastures (5.66 hect).

This park was owned by Swindon Borough, and was part of a Community Forest Project. It was managed under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, and had only been very lightly grazed by sheep. Most of the grass was long.

Many local people remembered them ‘dominating the park’ for more than ten years, and when our workforce arrived, the Docks were fully matured and shedding seed in the wind. Some bigger ones stood 5 ft. tall, and they were well rooted into the limestone brash soil.

Assessment of Dock clearance at Stanton Park. Dec 2000.

Community Forest Park / old grasses / wildflowers / herbs / limestone brash,

It took four men and a boy, one long week to clear this 7 hectare site, finishing on Christmas Eve. When we left, the outcome was by no means certain. The land had been brown with large infestations of mature dock, some of which stood five foot tall. Removing those massive root clusters from the stony ground often took our full strength, and we were both fearful of the seed being scattered and of too many roots being broken. While working, we were encouraged to find a white grub enjoying destructive burrowing in some of the dock roots. After the clearance, there was no ‘follow-up’, and the rangers in charge were slow to clear the piles of brown plants. In the spring, the land was very lightly grazed by sheep, leaving plenty of long grasses (and cover). Normally, most weed control measures require ‘follow-up treatment’, especially after major clearances.

Result: An inspection in 2002, found very few dock plants (less than 10 observed) growing in the cleared area. A more recent inspection (in summer 2004), found enough visible docks to occupy two men with L-Ds for a day. Given the extent of the original infestation, we should count this as a remarkable success. Remember, there was consistently good crop cover. Remember also, the little white grub which was forced to concentrate on the reduced rations of re-growth and root-ends, left by the clearance. (Length 1.5 cms. Who was he ?) Photos of site before & after.

Labour Cost: £1029. + Vat.

Travelling Cost: £200.+ Vat