Archive for April, 2011

Dudmaston Estate, Monday 25th April

WNTCV don’t do things by half measures – if we are going to have an Easter weekend workday, why not have two? This was the crazy logic that dragged us all out of our beds early on the morning of the bank holiday. Perhaps it was the promise of homemade cake…perhaps it was the desire to burn off some of the calories consumed during yesterdays “egg o’clock” (see Easter Weekend part 1). Whatever the reasoning it was a happy bunch of WNTCVers who met at Dudmaston to attack some rhododendrons. Ron, our resident firestarter, got the flames going while the rest of the crew got to work clearing areas of rhoddies, bramble and brash. We started work at this particular site towards the end of last year and we have been progressively working our way along the edge of the two pools removing rhoddies as we go and, as a result, opening up the views.

The work at this site today was very rewarding in that we could clearly see the effects of our efforts. The area really opened up with lots of sunlight reaching the woodland floor and the view through to the pools beginning to appear. We are back at this site next weekend to continue the project. I think that visitors using the woodland path through this area will see a big difference now that the rhoddies are being cleared.

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Wenlock Edge, Sunday 24th April

Back to Wenlock Edge today for some hard work and easter eggs. National Trust Ranger Chris met us at the entrance to Lea Quarry and we headed up to the work site. The group has worked here many times over the last year or two (see Feb 27 2011) and it is great to see the transformation continue. No need for too much discussion before we started work, just a brief safety talk and we were up on the slope cutting brash and trees, passing them (with the help of gravity!) to the slope base where a fire was started to get rid of the cuttings.

Instead of “cake o’clock”, today we had “egg o’clock”. Our normal cake break was replaced by a little easter treat or two, kindly supplied by Matt. We did have our very own easter bunny…or a very confused looking Max the dog who puts up with us silly humans and our craziness – as you can see from the picture he looked super cute with his temporary pink ears.

This was the group’s first ever Easter workday – we usually don’t work on bank holiday weekends. We all agreed that it had been a really worthwhile outing and hopefully we can make it an annual event.

Max "Easter Bunny" Harrison

before.....

....during....

....after

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WNTCV has two workdays this coming weekend.This is unusual for the group as we don’t normally work during bank holidays. Our keen members fancied some extra work however so we thought we would keep them busy with not one, but two additional workdays.

On Sunday 24th April we are at Wenlock Edge, continuing scrub clearance at Lea Quarry as part of the restoration of limestone grassland. This could be the perfect way to either:

a) burn off calories after eating too many easter eggs

b) build up an appetite to eat more easter eggs!

On bank holiday Monday (25th April) we are working in the Dudmaston Estate on one of the the group’s favourite tasks – attacking the invasive, non-native species rhododendron ponticum.

For existing WNTCV members, please contact the workday leader as usual. Non-members are also welcome on any of our workdays – if you want to join us, please follow the email link on our CONTACT or EVENTS pages and we’ll get back to you with further information.

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Morville Hall

Morville Hall, Sunday 17th April

First things firstĀ  – a ‘plug’ for the good people of Morville and their annual festival, being held over the three days of May bank holiday (30th April – 2nd May). Have a look at theĀ  Morville Festival 2011 website where you will find details of the flower festival, garden fete and open gardens. I can highly recommend a visit – the cake alone is worth the journey!

Morville Hall

Now to news of our workday. As I was driving over to Morville today, with sun shining and blue skies, it struck me that I can’t remember having a day of bad weather at Morville. Morville Hall is a very impressive sight in any weather, and particularly fine in the sunshine.

We were warmly welcomed by our good friends, Chris and Sarah Douglas, who had prepared a list of gardening tasks for the group including planting lavender in the new formal garden, dry stone walling, erecting fence posts, hedge trimming and general garden tidying. After tea and biscuits we headed out into the garden to start work.

Planting in the new formal garden

Workday leader, Mags, kept us motivated with homemade maple syrup fudge and we were soon racing through the list of tasks.

Here’s me (below), doing some work for a change instead of taking photographs! Repairing the wall was a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – we were sure that all of the stones that had fallen from the wall were in the pile, we just had to work out what went where.

At the end of the day, we were served tea with a delicious spread of cakes (thanks Sarah!).

Wall repairs (me doing some work!)

Cake Oclock

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Well, we aren’t really going on a bear hunt…..that poem has just been stuck in my head for the last few days.

We are REALLY going to Morville Hall, this coming Sunday 17th April (where there are unlikely to be bears). Morville Hall is a favourite venue for the group – we always have a great turnout for our visits. It is a stunning location, there is a wide variety of gardening tasks to choose from and we are always warmly welcomed by Morville Hall tenants, Chris and Sarah Douglas.

Of course, there will be an update on this site after our visit but why not come along and join us instead?

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Walcot Wood, Sunday 10th April

With sun shining the group spent the day at Walcot Wood. You may remember that we had an earlier working weekend at this site in March of this year. It was lovely to return to this beautiful part of south Shropshire, with spring in full swing. Trees were bursting with fresh greenery and blossom. The floor of the woodland was covered in wild primrose and violets. We’ve helped the regular Walcot volunteers over a number of years to cut back the tree canopy to allow these wild flowers to return. In time, it is hoped that grassland will cover the slopes – the National Trust flock of Hebridean sheep are drafted in to keep the regrowth under control.

So, back to today. We continued the work from our last visit, preparing the area for school children to visit later in the year. Two fires were lit to burn brash – I know we are a bit weird having fires on the hottest day of the year so far! It was a sure sign that summer had arrived as Laura had her shorter trousers on, Matt was sporting a sun hat, sunglasses were much in evidence and a couple of bottles of sunscreen made their appearance.

Needless to say, the challenge of working in the heat had to be balanced by frequent breaks for cold drinks…and maybe a slice or two of cake to boost energy levels!

It was so beautiful working here today. Clear blue skies, warm sun, good company, cake – perfect day!

The site where we worked last visit - looks good doesn't it?

Woodland floor covered in wild primrose

A fire on a hot day - crazy!

Looking towards the work site - two paths open and clear of overgrowth

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Attingham, Sunday 3rd March

Compost seems to be becoming a theme with WNTCV – Sunnycroft last week and Attingham this week. And why not!

Today, 6 members of WNTCV were working in the walled garden with NT gardener, Kate.

The task: moving a HUGE pile of leaves into pre-prepared areas for composting. After the first hour of work it seemed that the task could not be completed in one day. But WNTCV will not be defeated!

A system of digging, barrowing, tipping and stomping was set in place and the ‘WNTCV machine’ soon got the job done. (more…)

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