Wednesday’s work party task for the Friends was to cut back the tussocks in the set-aside at the top of Kestrel Field and to slow down the advance of the brambles from the hedge between the set-aside and The Arboretum.
They loaded Gemma’s Wiltshire Council Land Rover with the hedge trimmers and the brush cutter, the warning signs, rakes and loppers. With the Land Rover parked at Fiveways, the team started from the entrance to the set-aside near the loving seat at the top of Kestrel Field.
First, they walked over the grassed area marked for cutting to ensure that there were no slow worms or other creatures that might be hurt by the power tools, and spent some time to make sure there were no birds’ nests among the bramble designated for trimming. Satisfied that everything was clear they set to.
The grass tussocks were hard work because of the underlying thatch but an area was gradually cleared while the brambles were cut back. When everybody stopped for coffee and looked back at the area they had cleared, they were amazed at how the new power tools have transformed what a small working party can do. The same sort of area, just using hand tools, had taken a bigger working party some six sessions in the past.