Monday, April 27, 2015

Cothill Fen, 25th April 2015

A return to Cothill and the conditions were somewhat milder than on our last visit here!  Upon arrival, we met with Judy Webb from Natural England and transported our tools down the path to the site before receiving instructions on the morning's activities.  A new gate had been fitted at the entrance making site access somewhat easier than previously.

The tasks were a continuation of our previous work at the fen - raking up cut reeds and stacking them into piles and cutting and removing trees from the perimeter of the site that have begun to encroach upon the wetland.  In addition there were some new sprouts from the cut trees to attend to - all necessary work to maintain this rare habitat.

While we were busy raking, cutting and stacking, Judy set about recording species around the site and conducting her survey work.  A number of plants and insects were noted and we were careful to work around the spots where the rarest and most unique of these were present.

Following the tea break, we were taken on a guided tour of the adjacent wood to see the wonderful bluebells that were in full flower.  Some interesting information about the ecology of the site was provided, including the possible threat it faces in the near future from nearby industrial development.

We continued our work following the intermission and further steady progress was made. Another successful session!

Work begins...

Dieuwke raking.

Refreshments are served.

A pile of rakings and cuttings.

A carpet of bluebells.

While bluebells prefer a slightly acidic soil, the dog's mercury plant thrives in more alkaline conditions. 

A woodland tour.

Back to work.

Kevin cuts back some tree growth by the pond area.

Some of the insects collected by Judy.

Marsh Lousewort.

Marsh Valerian.

The state of play at the end of the session.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Abbey Fishponds, 18th April 2015

A happy return to Abbey Fishponds with a big turnout! It was a beautiful morning with bright sunshine although cool. 

Kevin was leading, with directions from site warden, Marjorie. Tasks included laying woodchips on paths, cutting and slashing parables, planting and weeding, cutting and stacking wood, and litter picking. 

Also it was sad for us that it was Erin Hills last day with us. She has been a great volunteer but has now completed this part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award. 

In addition, the Green Gym Team (the Loppers and Slashers), with brains refreshed by the morning's work in the open air, won the Friends of the Museum annual fundraising quiz in the evening.

Now that’s definitely ready for some planting...

What’s this fungus up to?

The fungus made the tree unsafe and it had to be cut down.

James cutting and stacking the remains of the tree.

Rihanna and Erin, our Duke of Edinburgh volunteers, laying a chipping path.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Frilford Heath SSSI, 11th April 2015

This week eleven of us met up at Woodhaven,Frilford Heath, a lovely privately owned woodland managed by Natural England. The weather was sunny and warm.

Our tasks were to clear the fallen branches on the ground and remove any branches overhanging the paths.  The wood was then stacked into piles to act as habitats for various woodland creatures.

Our other task was to begin removing the invasive Himalayan Balsam plantsThere were hundreds of small seedlings covering the ground, and we will return later in the season to carry on with this task. The aim is to pull up the HB before the flowers turn to seed, explode, and populate even more of the woodland, thus preventing our native species of flowers and fauna to survive. 

The group at arriving at base camp

Margaret with some Himalayan Balsam

Kate cutting back a branch