Work Party

words by Ian Bushell
pictures by Gemma Thorpe

Contrary to dire weather forecasts, the morning was warm with blue skies – most pleasant.  We met up as usual in the car park and we were joined by Countryside Officers Ali and Gemma.  

Joan and Patrick arrived to consult about and explain the new map Patrick has been working on. From walking the ground and using Google maps 2021, he has been able to make a more informative and up to date map of the reserve in which the copses and paths will be much more accurate. 

Working with power tools to clear the tussocks from the set-aside in Village Green

Last week we had agreed, weather permitting, to reduce the tussocks and the spreading young Blackthorn in the set-aside near the footbridge into Village Green, with the aim of making a better habitat for the slow worms and invertebrates.  To this end, Clive had brought the STIHL cordless Brush cutter and I brought the cordless Hedge trimmer plus our warning notices. 

All this kit, particularly the batteries for the machines, together with rakes, pitchforks and helmets is quite heavy, so it is very useful to be able to load it all into Gemma’s  Land Rover which took it down to the footbridge leading to Village Green.  Clive, Phil, Frank and I met Gemma, offloaded the kit and began working the set-aside.   What a difference power tools, as opposed to hand  shears etc., make.  Rotating use of the tools, we had soon cut down the Blackthorn arisings and cleared and broadened the path access to the area. 

Clearing blackthorn suckers from around the bench at the top of Village Green.

Happy, we moved up to the set-aside area at the top of Village green and cleared the Blackthorn bushes and tussocks in the area near the bench.  By now it was 11 o’clock, the batteries had lasted well but were now drained and, more importantly, Frank was beginning to fret for chocolate biscuits.   We loaded the Landrover and all moved to the picnic area and joined Sarah and Alan, returned from their litter picking, and Ali who had completed a Ragwort survey.  Refreshment taken, news exchanged and next weeks tasks discussed.

All in all a most satisfactory mornings work.

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