The freezing weather seemed to keep a few volunteers away although Mark and Julie, Judi, Ruben and Mick made it, along with Nicholas who has been in the background monitoring our elm tree project and also on the watch for ash die-back. The main task was to thicken out the northern hedge of the Blue Beck Copse with some hazel, along with planting some in the copse itself. Despite the cold the ground was relatively soft.
One could clearly see the excellent binding job on the eastern hedge. Many of the blackthorn suckers extending onto the grassland were cut back.
Whilst there we also put replacement collars and stakes, along with straightening, on the two elm trees planted in there a few years before that had suffered from cattle trampling.
After that we relocated to the southern hedge of the Copse Meadow further north to chop off the top of the hedge plants to encourage them to thicken out, whilst interplanting two hazel and removing spirals from the trees that will now be approaching ten years old. We tidied the brash onto the bramble pile along with some other branches that were lying around.
Judi and I had walked the site with Martin, our ecologist, on the previous Friday and whilst we have a lengthy task list there is nothing new or onerous, and with the absence of a big flood for two years now (so far) we have little flood debris to worry about.
Given that winter is still likely to be with us on Sunday 25th March the next work party will focus on Cricket Field Copse at the south of the site, over the Barrier Bank from the main Pond. There we will be cutting off most of the self-seeded elder saplings to leave space for the hazel and elm saplings, pollarding a willow that is pulling down the fence, clearing brash and trying to repair the fence and stile. As the clocks go forward on the Saturday midnight – don’t forget – we’ll still be starting at 10:30 BST.