Sunday, September 1, 2013

Frilford Heath SSSI, 31st August 2013

Nine Green Gymmers assembled on a bright and sunny morning at Woodhaven, Frilford - the final day of August and perhaps our last trip of the year to this site as the balsam-pulling season reaches its finale. Among our number, it was good to welcome back Robert - a regular member in the past, returning after an 18 month absence. 

Few tools were required to be carried to the work site, the glove bag and tea kit were the priorities. Off we set then, from the parking spot down through the meadow, over the little wooden bridge across the stream and into the woods. We were greeted by a dense thicket of Himalayan Balsam. Plenty then for our volunteers to get stuck into.

As well as the balsam, due to the exceptional summer weather, many other plants in the vicinity appeared to have flourished. Certainly, there were abundant quantities of water mint, imparting a lovely, fresh aroma and attracting many bees and butterflies. Other creatures spotted during the morning's activities included caterpillars, dragonfly and even a mole!

Everyone found their own area of balsam to clear and largely worked alone throughout the morning, reconvening for the tea break and then again when packing up to go home. It proved difficult to assemble everyone as we had all disappeared in different directions and were often out of sight and earshot of each other as we gave it one last push to rid the area of the balsam for this season.  

Unfortunately with the balsam being so widespread, it was not possible to eliminate it this time, but we can only hope that we have further reduced its coverage.  Perhaps, upon our return next year, we will face less of a daunting task.

Kevin and mole

close-up of mole!

Ursula and Carolyn prepare the refreshments

taking a break

Andrew attacks the balsam

balsam, trees and blue skies

water mint and butterfly

the end of the session
large dragonfly on car tyre

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