Two Pines Fen Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Frilford Heath Golf Club was the venue for yesterday's re-scheduled Green Gym session. We work here with Natural England (the government's adviser for the natural environment in England), who are happy for our socially-distanced work parties to go ahead during the current lockdown period. Their operational update regarding activities during the ongoing coronavirus situation can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/operational-update-covid-19
Sally took on the leadership duty and instructed the 15-strong group on the jobs to be carried out after we had assembled at the ground-staffs' compound. After completing the signing-in form and the risk assessment, we set off for the fen, a short walk to the end of the nearest fairway.
The principle task involved raking up reeds that had already been cut during previous sessions and those that were cut during the morning. These were then stacked in piles by the track at the edge of the fen for later collection. As some of us raked, a trio took up their scythes - leader Sally, Adrian and new member (green) Jim. In addition, shoots of new willow or alder growth were lopped back and added to the brash pile at one end of the fen.
We have worked on this site for a few years now, but it requires quite a lot of attention at the moment following a period of relative neglect after the first lockdown. Our sessions here have previously been held during the week since it lies squarely within an active part of the golf course and the increase in flying balls on a busy Saturday morning can be a real hazard! Since the course has had to close for the time being, now is the ideal time to get our work completed safely. It is also of sufficient ground area that a reasonably-sized group can spread out and work in socially-distanced manner.
As we progressed, we found numerous golf balls amongst the reed bed. A collection of around 100 had amassed by the close of play!
It was apparent that despite our many hands and our good work rate, there was no way that we would be able to complete the task within the allotted time. Especially as there is a secondary area of reeds that also requires attention on the other side of the main track. Not to worry - we will return here again next Saturday to pick up where we left off and may have an all-day session, though this is yet to be decided!
|Sally's leader's speech.|
|The tool arsenal.|
|The 'before' picture.|
|Distancing during the break.|
|A snowy waxcap mushroom.|
|A patch of sphagnum moss on the fen.|
|More of the golf ball haul.|
|The two pines.|
|The 'after' photo.|