The month began with a special visitor to Wenlock Edge on Sunday 1st April. Beccy Speight, Regional Director for the National Trust in the Midlands, joined us for a workday. The location was the old railway line. The weather was fine, the cake was good and Beckie got stuck in with the work, felling trees and clearing brash. I hear that Ron soon signed her up as an apprentice firestarter!
We continued work at the same site on Friday 6th April (Good Friday Bank Holiday). It was Laura’s turn to be firestarter, under Ron’s watchful eye. Verdict: uses too many matches, has a lot to learn before she is ‘black belt’ firestarter. Max the dog worked hard and was too tired to walk home so he commandeered Ron’s car (see photo below).
It’s possible that April 2012 will be remembered as being very wet and we got a full helping of rain on Monday 9th April (Easter Monday Bank Holiday), Dudmaston, where we worked with National Trust Ranger Mike Annis to work on tree and scrub clearance at the Big Pool Dam. It rained in the morning…it cleared for lunch…it rained in the afternoon. We had two fires going which helped to cheer things up, but it did get a bit muddy underfoot and it’s hard to stay cheerful when your waterproof trousers cease to be waterproof and a dog steals your jacket to lie on (poor Matt). A feast of Easter Eggs boosted morale.
We just can’t get enough of Wenlock Edge. Our next session was Sunday 15th April. A different site this time, at the footpath running along the edge of the old quarry. In sunshine, we worked on path clearance and fence repair. This is a popular walking path for locals and visitors to the area. Our job was to cut back the overgrowth at the edges of the path and repair the fence on the quarry edge, improving path access and safety. If you are ever in the area, I can highly recommend the walks in and around Much Wenlock and along Wenlock Edge.
The weather for Sunday 22nd April didn’t look promising but SSNTV are never put off by the forecast and there was a good turnout of volunteers at Wightwick Manor & Gardens. The work for the day was in the bridge garden, which had become overgrown with laurel and other tall shrubs. There was once a productive fruit garden in this part of the property and in the future it is hoped to return the garden to its former glory. With luck, we avoided the rain as we worked. It did rain, monsoon style, at lunchtime but we managed to take cover in a marquee to eat lunch and wait for the skies to clear.
We didn’t have any luck with the weather on Sunday 29th April. Our visit to Morville Hall was cold and wet. It was raining as we arrived…it rained all day….it was still raining at the end of the day. Unperturbed, a hardy group of SSNTVers joined Morville Hall tenants Chris and Sarah. We braved the wind and rain to work in the garden, carrying out a list of tidying and maintenance tasks in preparation for the annual open weekend at the property and surrounding gardens. The upside of rainy days at Morville is that we are allowed to eat our lunch in the Elizabethan hall – very grand indeed! We stopped work only when we couldn’t get any wetter. Chris and Sarah provided tea and cake. This was much appreciated at the end of this damp workday.