Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stonehill House, 11th May 2013

Stonehill House, on the Southern edge of Abingdon, was a new site for us. Our planned visit in March had been postponed but at least the weather was better than on that date, though certainly not perfect. The current owner of Stonehill House is keen to have community groups working there and as well as aiming to make the grounds a haven for wildlife there are ongoing gardening and art projects projects and a beautifully restored barn for events and courses.

Our tasks were to remove tree guards from young trees and to tidy up the woodland. We split into two groups with one group in the woodland clearing fallen branches, making habitat piles and cleaing vegetation from the informal footpath through the wood and the other group setting to work on the tree guards.

At coffee break time we were joined by our German friends, Bernd and Ursula, who were paying us a farewell visit before returning to Dresden. We had also found out that it was Victor's birthday so we managed to conjure up a surprise birthday cake. We swapped jobs after the break as tree guard removal loses its thrill after the first fifty or so. There were certainly far too many to be removed in a single session.

The grounds of Stonehill House are certainly a haven for wildlife. We spotted a roe deer running across the field and Sally came across a fawn concealed in the grass. There are a number of badger sets and on our way back Mark, the resident gardener and naturalist, let us look through his telescope at a red kite on her nest. It was interesting to work on a new site and we hope to visit it again soon.

Sally sawing wood

German visitor, Ursula

Victor removing tree guards

a view of Stonehill house beyond the gardens

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