For this session we ventured farther away than usual, to Withymead Nature Reserve near Goring. This is one of our favourite sites. It's just a pity it's about 20 miles away! We had chosen the right weekend as the Loddon Lilies, for which this riverside site is famous, were in full bloom.
Fifteen of us turned up and we were pleased to welcome a new member, Kristine, who had seen our group mentioned on the Cothill Fen notice board. It was also the regular Saturday for the Withymead volunteers.
The main tasks were to move earth from the nettley future wildflower garden and pond site to the area outside the Study Centre. Paving has recently been laid there and we needed to make a smooth slope up to the paved area. It wasn't easy to dig the stony soil and we had to hack at it with mattocks. In doing this we were asked to make south facing "cliffs" so masonry bees would be encouraged to nest there. We transported the soil in wheelbarrows and the Withymead volunteers set to work to make it into a smooth slope.
Some Green Gymmers went to another area to make a hedgehog house. This was done by making a wigwam of willow branches and covering it with conifer branches so the appearance was that of a small cone shaped leylandii.
The earth moving work was quite strenuous and we were glad when it was tea break time. Ursula had made a delicious carrot cake to fortify us.
After the break,warden Dorothy took us to see the Loddon lilies which, as usual were really spectacular. We also saw an "otter cam" attached to a tree by the river bank, which has taken photos of an otter and cub. We returned through the woodland area, where they hope to replace the sycamores and horse chestnuts with native trees. Our tour was so comprehensive that, by the time we got back it was time to pack up and go home.
Photos by Eleanor:
|The new paving outside the Study Centre|
|Shifting the soil|
|The first stage of a hedgehog home|
|Carolyn dumps a barrow load|
|Young volunteers make the slope|
|Just before tea break - running out of steam|
|Close up of Loddon Lily|
Additional photos by Sally: