Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cothill Fen, 16th February 2013

Following the snow and freezing temperatures at Frilford last week, rather more pleasant conditions were observed as we assembled in the car park of the Merry Miller for another session at Cothill Fen this Saturday.  We had sought permission in advance to use the pub car park since our usual parking spot had been fenced-off with some construction works taking place there.

We were soon joined by BBOWT session leader, Nicole Clough, who outlined the morning's tasks.  Tools and kit were then carried down the lane to the work site where we established our base before being instructed by Nicole and carrying out the necessary risk assessments.

The eleven-strong team divided into sub-groups, some of us transporting the branches from the fen to the area where the hedge was to be laid, others building the hedge itself.  Some difficulties were initially encountered - namely that the ground was very boggy and difficult to traverse and perhaps most significantly that there was a small but fairly deep stream between fen and hedging site.  A temporary bridge of sorts had already been built across the stream and I was initially nominated to stand (rather precariously!) on the bridge as we formed a chain to move the material across.

A number of the piles were shifted before the tea-break - those nearest to the construction site, and the hedge had begun to take shape.

Following victuals, we shifted our emphasis to the tree cuttings further away, and for this we required a second bridge crossing and a few more hands to transport the material itself.  A big push was made to ensure that the majority of the piles were removed and the hedge finished. This we achieved just before the end of the session at 12:30pm.  

As it happened, there were a number of left-over cuttings after the hedge was in place and so these were used to create a number of habitat piles within the woodland.  A quick photo-session then occured, before we transported ourselves and our tools back to the Merry Miller, where a number of the group then enjoyed a hard-earned pub lunch!

photos by Ursula and Andrew:

tree stumps and cuttings

site of tree removal along the fen boundary

a makeshift bridge across the stream

hedge-laying begins

a section of the completed hedge

looking along the new hedge

base camp
the green gym team!

Nicole and team in post-hedge construction elation!

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