Sunday, February 10, 2013

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 9th February 2013

It seems as if I was a little premature with my reports of the good weather on Saturday mornings on the majority of the sessions during 2012 continuing into 2013.  As the green gym assembled in the car park of the Frilford Heath Golf Club, rain and sleet fell and waterproof jackets, trousers and wellies were determined to be essential attire.  

This was our first visit to this particular site.  We had planned to work here a few weeks previously - on 19th January, however, heavy snow led to that session being cancelled.

At the car park, we met with Alison and Judy, representing Natural England and BBOWT and directing the morning's work.  We were informed that the work site - a fen, was situated some distance to the north, and so we moved our cars around to another area of the golf club.  From here we unloaded our tools and began the trek to the site.  It turned out to be a 15-minute walk or so.  On the way, another fen area, designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) was pointed out, but we pressed on to a second fen beside the boundary house area of the golf club.

The area had recently been reclaimed from heavy woodland growth, with a number of pine and beech trees having been felled and reeds subsequently having been cut.  Our tasks therefore were to clear the area as far as possible of tree branches and rake the cut reeds.  Once work was underway, a water vole was spotted - good to see that the site is already fulfilling its intended purpose for increasing biodiversity.

The conditions were boggy underfoot as might be expected for a fen, but steady progress was made in raking and stacking the reeds - creating habitat piles and in clearing the tree branches.  A bonfire had been started so that the recovered wood could be burned, although due to the weather, a roaring fire it was not!

We had failed to bring any saws to the work site, however due to some of the large tree branches needing to be sawed into smaller sections one was certainly required.  James set off back to the car park to retrieve the necessary tools, only to lose his sense of direction on the golf course and get himself somewhat lost.  Once he did eventually return, the larger tree branches were cut up and the session concluded with a very visible improvement to the environment.  A worthwhile morning and everyone was glad to have made the effort to have braved the cold and wet conditions - even if the long walk back to the car park was a little tiring at the end.  At least no-one was struck by any rogue golf balls!
-Andrew



reed raking

the work site

the boundary house - a number of trees had recently been felled between the fen and house

Andrew strikes a pose

a smouldering bonfire

tea-break

Lauren indicates our progress made during the morning

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