Archive for March, 2011

Sunnycroft, Sunday 27th March
The group visited Sunnycroft, located in Wellington, near Telford. This is a really lovely property consisting of a Victorian villa and gardens.

We were sorting out the compost heaps…I know, you are thinking, ‘how very glamorous’. Still,we will rise to any challenge and set about organising the three composting areas into compost for use, being composted and to be filled areas.

The question is – how many volunteers does it take to fill one compost bin? We did have 9 people in there at one point – a frenzy of digging and forking.

For those of you who read last weeks post (A little note about cake), you’ll be pleased to hear that we were well served once again – many thanks to Matt’s mum and Rachel for their home-baked treats.

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I didn’t get out on a workday this last weekend (Sunday 20th March), however I hear that the group spent a productive day at Attingham in the walled garden with NT staff Debbie and Mary.

So, there is no big story about how much work was done…no. Instead, when I spoke to various WNTCV group members, what do you think one of the main topics of discussion was? CAKE! It is becoming apparent that cake is the fuel of choice for all of our efforts and it seems this past weekend at Attingham was no different. A little birdy tells me there was chocolate fudge cake (yum), cake was also supplied by the NT (coffee & walnut and fruity cinnamon cake mmm) and there were special biscuits to celebrate Matt Hinton achieving 300 volunteer hours in one year (well done Matt). I feel sad to have missed out on this cake-fest but, dear readers, I wasn’t being entirely lazy on my day off – I was ‘testing’ new recipes for future WNTCV workdays.

The attached photo is from the archive (Dudmaston, November 2010).There are a few group favourites here: parkin, mars bar cake, legendary lemon poppy seed muffins, fruit bread….

Next week the group is working at Sunnycroft, helping get the garden into shape as the property recently opened for the new season.

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It’s been a busy weekend again for WNTCV. Three separate work sites over two days. What can I say? We are rather fabulous!

Attingham, Saturday 12th March

The hedge laying season came to an end with a final session at Attingham near Shrewsbury. I am sure after all the hours the gang have put in this year that they are nearly experts. Certainly, given the amount of cake that’s been eaten, they will be experts in National Trust cake!

Moorpool Estate, Saturday 12th March

Following on from work sessions last year (see January 2010), a number of WNTCV members joined residents of the Moorpool Estate for a day of gardening and tidying as part of an ongoing project of landscape and garden improvements.

Wenlock Edge, Sunday 13th March

How much do we love working at Wenlock Edge in the sunshine? I’d say we love it a lot! Thirteen of us, plus NT Countryside Ranger Chris, spent a glorious sunny spring day clearing scrub and cutting down trees – the aim was to link up with an area cleared by the regular volunteer group that work on this site.

The last time we were here (see November 2010) it was a little bit colder than today…in fact, I think I remember it was -10C when I left the house that morning…brrr. By contrast, today was t-shirt weather!

Spring is sprunging (?!) all over Wenlock Edge – you can read more at the Wenlock Edge Blog.

What time is it? It's cake o'clock!

We were very pleased to welcome 3 new volunteers today. Of course, we organised the good weather especially so that they would come out and join us another time!

What is the favourite time of day for volunteers? It’s cake o’clock! There was a particularly fine selection of cake today including Ron’s famous refrigerator cake and Chris’s homemade flapjacks (i think his better half was responsible for these) and toffee crispy cakes.

Can you tell I enjoyed myself today? I hope everyone else did too.

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Walcot Wood, Friday 4th-Sunday 6th March

We had a 3-day working weekend at Walcot Wood in the wilds of south Shropshire.

Day One, Friday– the day started with bacon butties for some…then working off the big breakfast with some hard graft. The group worked to open up a path that had become overgrown. Part of the site is to be used by school children as an outdoor classroom and the current work is part of a project to get the site ready for use.

As the day progressed, the sun began to shine and a good day was had by all (much enhanced by lunch + 3 CAKE BREAKS!!!)

Day 2, Saturday – started with fewer bacon butties (i.e. none!), but with a larger number of equally enthusiastic volunteers. So with 16 pairs of busy hands and Dave the warden spectacularly bringing down some huge cherry trees, the whole site was becoming much safer and more open for the school children to enjoy the stunning surrounding. The day seemed to fly by with so much brash and scrub to work on and plenty of the usual WNTCV banter (look out for some of the quotes in the next newsletter!). The only down side was that we didn’t get to see the sun and with it the fantastic views up the valley, but this was more than made up for by the delicious meal that was had in the evening over at Bishops Castle.

Day 3, Sunday – Once again working in the beautiful March sunshine, we completed our work on the main site and also cleared brash from another path leading past one of the amazing veteran oak trees. After turning our fire in once more and finishing the last of the cake, it was time to go home. However, the great news is that Peter the NT countryside manager was so impressed with our progress that he has booked us up already for the same weekend in 2012!

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