Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month: a work party day. Come and join us; we meet at 9.30am in the main car park and we work until midday. Bring thornproof gloves, sturdy footwear and a coffee mug. Looking forward to meeting you.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 30th October) is a regular work party day. Please come and join us; we meet in the car park at 9.30am and work until midday with a pause for coffee; there will be biscuits.
You will need sturdy footwear and thorn proof-gloves; the tools will be provided. The Met Office says it will be very cold.
Words and pictures by DKG:
Apologies, for not getting these photos posted earlier. It was not only Ian having a senior moment on Wednesday (Ian forgot the work party; turned up late. Ed.) for some reason my camera was not set up correctly when taking photos that day. I have had to delete several as they were not suitably exposed. There were other errors, even though they seemed ok when I looked at them after shooting. I have managed to improve these to some extent in Photoshop to make a reasonable photos.
Click here to see the results:
A few photos from Wednesday’s work party. A walk around before meeting up was once again very quiet and eerie, hardly any sign of the park’s birds or wildlife. They must be on their hols as well. Quiet, that is, apart from an annoying, continually yapping dog in the distance.
Words and pictures by DKG:
A few photos from Wednesday’s morning in the park. Work included clearing grass around the fruit trees, taking up the mats, and checking the guards and stakes. We removed the fruit to ensure stronger growth next season.
Overgrown grass and nettles adjacent to the path from the allotments’ main gate were cleared. We also cleared small areas of ragwort on the allotment boundary and the plantation at the top of Sheep Field. We bagged it and put it into the back of the little Wiltshire Council van to be taken away. Click for more
By Sarah Marsh . . .
This month’s report is all about our volunteers and the work they do. Without the Friends, the Park would be in a sorry state as the Countryside Team gets ever smaller and funding is limited. We are all unpaid and give our time willingly to keep the Park looking lovely and preserve it for future generations. But working in the Park is just one part of the Friends commitments.
Ragwort has many common names; in fact some, like stinking willie and marefart, are downright vulgar. Both refer to the plant’s unpleasant smell. Another set of names, staggerwort, stammerwort and sleepy-dose, are about to its toxicity. Then there is felon weed, swine grass and our personal favourites: scrog and weeby. Continue reading “Stinking Willie and Marefart”
The Friends, on a wet and squelchy day last week, prepared to survey the park’s slow worm population. Here is DKG’s report:
“Mats were cut and numbered for the slow worm survey with 40 mats laid in 4 areas (10 per area). These will be monitored in the coming weeks once we have some warmth and hopefully some dry weather. Areas covered included Brunts Field, Kestrel Field and Ash copse in Sheep field. The Village Green mats will be laid out during the next work party as the area was too sodden to reach.”
If you are a slow worm fan, you might like this:
On Thursday, Rob Paget, Disability Sports Development Officer for Wiltshire Council, and Chris Revill, from Wheels For All in Bath, came to Southwick Country Park to carry out a trial run on disability bikes to see if the park would be a suitable venue to hold events. Rob and Chris recently developed an adapted cycling programme in Salisbury for people of all ages with disabilities to take part in cycling on adapted bikes in a safe environment.
Rob is working in partnership with Bath Wheels for All to develop an adapted cycling session in West Wiltshire and has highlighted Southwick Country Park as a potential location. The Friends came along to help; they loved it!
Pictures: DKG on his phone.
BY SARAH MARSH
The winter weather has not been kind to the Friends and all over the Park the ground has been very boggy and waterlogged. When it has stopped raining, we had to endure bitter icy cold winds blowing from the east. However, we are a hardy bunch and only missed one session of volunteer work and that was due to Countryside Team staff illness!
Surprisingly, once we find a sheltered spot we can work well and keep warm. Again, we have been tidying around our magnificent oak trees clearing away scrub and bramble and already the signs of Spring can be seen. Snowdrops in particular have been seen all around the Park and the daffodils are appearing and beginning to bloom.
The volunteers joined the annual Great British Spring Clean this year and we gathered on Saturday, 10th March. The weather was poor and the Friends were joined by Councillor Horace Prickett.
We managed to collect 10 bags of rubbish including a worn out rubber tyre. The depressing thing about collecting litter is that a week later it all needs doing again and it is very hard to understand why people throw litter, doggy poo bags etc. in an area they like to use for leisure. As I have mentioned before our volunteers regularly pick up litter and are very grateful to the many members of the public who also collect rubbish when they are using the Park. It is good to know there are many “FRIENDS” of the Park who feel like we do and want to keep this amenity clean for all.
This article has also been published in Southwick Village News.
Hats and scarves was the order of the day for Wednesday’s work party, and hedges and ditches, out of the east wind, were the best places to spend the morning. The park, however, was getting on with spring to an accompaniment of birdsong.
Trish saw a weasel hunting through the hedge; it ran across the picnic place and the track and into the brambles. Low down in the brambles, beyond the reach of Dave’s camera, we found a long-tailed tits’ nest, half-built: a ball of moss, hair and lichen, lined with downy feathers. A weasel is dangerous company for breeding birds; it will take eggs and nestlings, particularly if it is feeding its own nestful of young.
While we drank coffee and ate home made cakes, a pair of blue tits were trying out nest holes in the very highest branches of the ash tree at Fiveways. In the oaks, above us, robins and great tits shouted loud territorial challenges at each other.
A great spotted woodpecker worked its way up the trunk of an oak tree in the hedge between Cornfield and Sleeper Field, and three green woodpeckers flew overhead towards the copse in Sheep Field. The blackthorn is in flower, primroses seem to be ignoring the arctic start to their growing season, and leaf buds are swelling on the trees. Ian says there is frogspawn in the little pond!
It’s such a pleasure to work in the park on a spring day.
Pictures: Google Images
by Sarah Marsh
One of the perennial jobs around the Park is collecting litter. Most weeks sees one of the Friends with litter picker and rubbish sack in hand. All sorts of rubbish is found especially during the winter months when the foliage dies back and it is easier to spot.
We were given three English oak tree saplings for the park. The saplings, perhaps ten years old, were grown from the acorns of ancient Wiltshire oaks: the Cathedral Oak, Cromwell’s Oak and, we were told, the Sherston Oak.
Recently you may have seen that the overhanging willows on either side of the path leading from the pond to Lambrok Meadow have been either removed or pollarded, opening up the whole area.