The Tuesday work party was very nearly cancelled.

Thunder storms had been forecast and Wiltshire Council’s health and safety rules say we volunteers mustn’t be put in the way of such dangers. But the Met Office relented at the last minute and re-scheduled the storm for the afternoon so the usual suspects, joined by Louise and her energetic springer spaniel, Buddy, met at 9.30am in the car park. The Countryside Team sent us Tree Officer Rich Murphy to guide us through five main tasks for the morning.

Sarah and Alan led away a group with a wheelbarrow and spades, to spread wood-chippings on the footpath through the Blackthorn Tunnel.

A party set off to fix the Willow Path but it turned out not to need fixing at all.

Rich took a crew and his chain saw to cut down blackthorn stumps in the Arboretum. . . .

. . . while Pat picked litter from the boundaries between the copses and the fields.

Let’s not forget coffee-time: as a special treat Rich had brought us chocolate bourbons which quickly attracted a large brindled boxer called Lennie.

Finally the whole party went haloing oak trees in the copse between Sheep Field and Sleepers. We are always astonished at how much we can get done when we all work together; in forty five minutes we cleared away several decade’s worth of undergrowth (and over-growth) from around oak trees 5554, 5555 and 5556.  

Well done everybody!

Pictures by Suzanne Humphries

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