by Ian Bushell
We met on Wednesday morning, the 29th of December, in the car park but those third helpings of turkey and plum duff had depleted our numbers sadly. No Joan or Patrick, Simon, David, or Trish.
Pat, our champion litter picker, is resting up after a cataract operation so Frank, on light duties, and Alan went off and did a wide ranging litter pick whilst Clive, Sarah and I went to the copse we have been working on for the last couple of work parties – that’s the one running down along the hedgerow between Cornfield and Kestrel, from the picnic area down towards the stream.
 Cutting down trees killed by ash-die-back.  Clearing blackthorn among the hazel that needs to be coppiced.
There is a lot of diseased Ash to cut down and dead wood to remove from the Hazel and we have to carry out crown lifting on some of the Oaks to increase the clearance between the ground level and the lower branches. Sarah has been doing a great job clearing Bramble so that we can get at the Ash.
No maintenance has been done on this copse since it was planted , probably in the 1990’s, so apart from the diseased Ash, the trees are far too close together and badly need thinning to allow the better ones to develop.
 Ash-die-back  crown lifting
The Hazel needs coppicing to promote new growth and the Blackthorn, where it has encroached, needs removing entirely. We are hoping that Rich, when he gets back from paternity leave, will go through this and the other copses marking up trees for removal or for leaving as standing deadwood for wildlife habitat.
We all met up for our coffee and biscuits and a post Christmas chat at the picnic site and, fortuitously, we were already packing up by the time it started to drizzle.
Please come and join us in 2020.
The header picture is of Sarah clearing brambles so that Ian and Clive can reach the dead ash trees