Update: New road for Hawkenbury
After the article about the new road being built through the High Woods at the back of the recreation ground, the landowner has provided the following comments in response to the article in the Times of Tunbridge Wells and on this website.
Dear Hawkenbury Residents Association
I read in the TW Times that you have some concern with the track being hardcored in High woods. I would just like to put the record straight and reassure you there is no development going on in the woods.
High woods has been a coppiced chestnut woodland for hundreds and possibly thousands of years, The chestnut coppice has been used for charcoal, fencing and garden products. The act of coppicing involves cutting sections at various intervals, typically 15-20 years. Although it may seem brutal to clear an area of trees by cutting them low to the ground, they soon grow back and the open area provides habitat for many plants, insects and birds which are in serious decline.
The future survival of some butterflies, for example, may depend on the return to such traditional methods. In the middle ages horses and manpower were used to harvest the timber but modern extraction methods require less labour intensive systems and the machinery gets larger every year.
When we last coppiced in 2014 we had a lot of difficulty getting access to the woods and decided to hardcore the existing routes. Unfortunately one of these routes did cross the footpath and there was some inconvenience caused to walkers while we completed that section, for which we apologise.
However it is all clear now and the future construction is only on private property. I hope this reassures your association of the future of High Woods, and that you will support the farm in its attempts to continue the traditional management of the woods.
If you have any further concern please feel free to contact me.