A return visit to Edge Common nr Painswick to assist Natural England in maintaining the limestone grassland habitat. Six of us were removing Ash saplings – either by pulling up using the wonderful tree-poppers or sawing. The stumps were treated to prevent regrowth. We burnt the cut material.
Couldn’t have asked for better weather either.
Edge Common is one of the ‘strongholds’ for Duke of Burgundy butterflies; along with being home to an important suite of plant species specific to limestone grassland.
After a foggy start it soon burnt off and proved to be a bright and warm day. We joined Butterfly Conservation volunteers on their reserve near the Masts on Cleeve Common, to help remove a small amount of bramble and hawthorn encroaching onto the limestone grassland. This is a wonderful reserve for it’s flora and invertebrates so anything that extends the grassland is helpful (although a certain amount of scrub is left as this too is important habitat).
An exhausting but satisfying day.
Today, with a small crew (4 volunteers), we managed to clear back and weed the hedge we had planted in March. It had become quite overgrown with nettles and bindweed, fortunately nearly all of the trees had survived and looked healthy. We then added more chippings as mulch.
Back to the chippings pile again we barrowed loads onto the path that leads to the pond. Roger happily strimmed back the nettles further away from the hedge and tackled bramble that was clambering over the fence by the entrance.
Our other task was to try and remove logs that had found there way into the pond, probably by local gremlins – who’d clearly eaten their weetabix as we couldn’t shift some of the much heavier logs.
Anyway, a pleasing day’s work and hoping the hedge can now breathe again and grow on.
Working in a woodland planted 40 years ago on a former arable field. There are several fenced plots in the wood with wildflowers that came from a Worcestershire Wildlife Trust site. Unfortunately some of the bluebells are of the Spanish variety and one of our tasks was to remove these to allow the native species to thrive. Our other work was opening up one side of a ride to allow light in and encourage wildflowers. Great care was taken to ensure there were no nesting birds where we were working.
Nearby are some man-made lakes – former gravel pits- with a hide, so we took the opportunity to sit in and watch the birds and a few dragonflies.
Hosted by the National Perry Pear Orchard at Hartpury, four of the group attended an Emergency First Aid Course. This covered CPR (resuscitation), bandaging, cuts, burns amongst other aspects of First Aid. Well organised and run with a great Tutor, we were also well fed and watered.
An essential part of conservation tasks, we now feel more confident in First Aid should the need arise.
Today we were planting a hedge alongside the fence by main entrance to site. Using native species (Hawthron, Blackthorn, Hazel, Guelder Rose and Field Maple), we managed to plant all 50 ‘whips’. There were 8 of us so should have been an easy task but this was slightly hindered by builders rubble a few inches down, so mattocks and picks were the order of the day. We also cleared a stretch of bramble that was covering the rest of the fence. A successful day, hopefully the plants will grow well and we look forward 15 years to maybe laying the hedge.
Five of us spent Sunday morning walking through Lineover Wood near Cheltenham trying to identify the trees. With a wide variety of native species including small and large-leaved Limes plus a magnificent ancient Beech, Lineover is an excellent resource for improving our ID skills. We were looking at the buds, bark and twigs to help distinguish the different species.
Altogether a worthwhile time if a bit muddy/slippy in places and hopefully those who took part will have learnt how to identify a few more species.
A follow up day will be organised for identifying trees when in leaf, in Spring or Summer.
Another visit to Aldwick Wood Kemerton to try and remove the rest of the fencing from the site. A good turn out of 5 volunteers and weather generally dry with a few odd showers. A brilliant effort from all to nearly complete the task, the remaining fence was mostly amongst thick bramble or covered in soil. That should be our last task on this fence.