The Spinney

The Spinney is a small, ‘L’-shaped Local Nature Reserve that is also known as Nightingale Road Bird Sanctuary.

 

Although nightingales (Luscinia megarynchos) are not present in the bird sanctuary, there are several breeding bird species, including dunnock (Prunella modularis), wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) and blackbird (Turdus merula). Previously managed by the  London Wildlife Trust, The Spinney is an overgrown remnant of a shrub / hedgerow boundary along a meadow that existed until at least 1935. The meadow is now a housing estate.
 

Wildlife & Habitats

This site is composed mainly of mature sycamore (Acer pseudoplantanus), some London plane (Plantanus x hispanica), with some wych elm (Ulmus glabra), planted hazel (Corylus avellana) and elder (Sambucus nigra) understorey. The mix and structure of species within this site is generally of low quality; ivy (Hedera helix) dominates the ground flora. Within the tangle of ivy though is butcher’s broom  (Ruscus aculeatus), an unusual stiff, evergreen shrub. The name comes from when the woody branches of this plant used to be bound into bundles and sold to butchers for cleaning the meat from their chopping blocks. Although widely planted outside its native areas, this species is still fairly uncommon in London. The spiny tipped ‘leaves’ are not leaves at all but are derived scales called cladodes. The bright red berries are useful food for thrushes, like blackbirds.

The standing and fallen dead wood is likely to be great habitat for many species of wood-boring beetles, whilst there are at least a couple of fox earth’s on site.

Site Management

The main management on site involves keeping the invasive snowberry (Symphoricarpos rivularis) in check, through pulling and cutting, as well as clearing the rubbish that piles up on site. From time to time, the large trees on site need reducing to ensure that they are not a threat to neighbouring premises in the event of gale force winds.

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