The reserve is the farthest-flung of our regular sites, but is well worth the long trip out. It occupies a lovely spot close to Goring-on-Thames and sits alongside the river itself. The session started a little later than our usual work parties, at 10am, giving us additional time to get there.
Upon arrival, we discovered that the usual car park was closed, meaning that some tricky manoeuvring was required along the narrow track to get to the alternative location. Once this unexpected issue was dealt with, we met up with Withymead wardens Dorothy and Keith and were instructed on the morning's tasks.
Two separate jobs kept us busy from the off - the first group was involved in raking up grass outside the main house. The grass had been removed by means of a rotorvator, before it was required to be transported to a compost heap. The purpose of this was to develop areas of wildflower meadow in place of the current lawn.
The second activity was to deal with the removal of some recently felled willow trees close to the river. Some of the brash and smaller sections of timber were taken straight to a bonfire for burning. The fire had been lit prior to our arrival and was already well ablaze.
The larger logs were either transported to a wood pile for seasoning, later to be used for fuel or alternatively taken to an area close to the house. These sections were to be incorporated into a sculpture that one of the Withymead volunteers had begun to fashion from a dead tree.
Refreshments were served in the property itself, although most of us decided to take our tea and coffee outside and bask in the warm autumnal sunshine!
There was plenty of work to keep us busy right up to the end of the session at 1pm. Indeed, with the reserve being as large as it is, regular work parties are required year-round to keep on top of all the many jobs. No doubt we will return soon to offer further assistance.
|Off to work...|
|Let the raking commence.|
|Choose your weapon.|
|Kevin sorting out the log pile.|
|A roaring bonfire.|
|Dieuwke at the compost heap.|
|Raking beside the main house.|
|Some of the volunteers taking time out.|
|Refreshments are served.|
|Another of the log piles.|
|Victor transporting some of the logs to the woodpile.|
|The beginnings of the tree scultpture.|