For the 2nd time and the final task of the year, we visited one of our favourite sites that we have worked on for many years – Hempsted. It was very well attended with the best turn out of the year with 13 of us including 3 new volunteers.
Hempsted is maintained as a nature reserve as its original function as final water treatment settling lakes is now redundant leaving a wildlife haven with an abundance of wildlife attracted to the man- made lakes there.
Much of our work has involved maintaining the edges of the lakes freeing them up from decaying old trees, which have grown out into the water, becoming rotten and mouldy. This stimulates more diverse plant growth and improves the visual appeal of the lakes and this was our main focus again this task. To see the abundance of new growth come through over the years is very satisfying.
We continued with this task focusing on the next section along the bank with some particularly dense thickets of trees, requiring some sawing through of established tree trunks and branches growing out into the water… most if it covered in moss and algae, careful to negotiate the smelly waters edge which could quickly rise above the welly line!
Several volunteers attended to some path clearance and one member saw to some maintenance of the on site shed which was leaking from the roof and I and the warden cleared much brush and vegetation from around a small row boat which has not seen daylight for quite a few years! The boat used to be used years ago apparently by someone who used to conduct bird surveys
We are hoping to get the boat back in action to row around the lake for volunteers who would like to venture out on the water!
Driving a passage through to the lake
The kettles were fired up for a hot drinks and mince pie break which I combined with lunch at 12 p.m as our day wrapped up at 1.45 – a shorter day than usual but because of the cold and good progress due to the numbers we had out, it made sense.. Tools also have to be returned to the stores in the light so our days in Winter are a little shorter.
Our energetic volunteers carved through the undergrowth like a cyclone
Another successful and enjoyable task, meeting up with friends to conclude our activities for 2022
We spent today at the SSSI site of Juniper Hill near Stroud (Wick street), working for Natural England. The grassland is an important habitat for rare butterflies and is in the danger of becoming a forest, due to an army of ash saplings eager to grow and take over.
To restore the grassland, which has started to be grazed again, we cut the ash saplings while a member of staff from Natural England treated the stumps (that’s what the man in the green suit is doing!). We left any hawthorn or black thorn alone because of their habitat value.
We had a good bonfire going!
Although the day was grey, it was dry and it was nice to spend it outdoors in this amazing scenery!
This task was mostly about clearing brambles in various areas of the site at Llanthony Secunda Priory in Gloucester. Thankfully the weather was dry for most of the day, which allowed us to get a lot done, to the trust’s delight. We also got not one but two bonfires going! Lighting them, especially the first one was a challenge because everything was damped and we didn’t have much dead wood to burn.
Some of the bramble clearing was critical to allow some archaeological recording to take place.