Archive for August, 2011

Dudmaston Estate, Sunday/Monday 28th/29th August

Bank Holiday weekend….what to do? Relax? Take it easy? Read a mind improving book or 3? No, No, No! What you really want to do is get up early, drive to Dudmaston for a 9am start, pull out lots of rhodis and BURN THEM!!!! Then on day 2: repeat.

And so it was that 8 of us met NT Area Ranger Mike Annis at the Dudmaston Estate Yard in Shropshire at 9am on Bank Holiday Sunday. From there it was a short drive to the work site which was, if you are familiar with the estate, between the big pool and the main road. Our workday leader quickly got a fire started and the rest of the group soon made good progress on clearing the area of unwanted rhodis. If possible, we rip the rhodis out by the root. The aim is to prevent any regrowth.

Mike tells us that, in the past, this area was planted with colourful specimen rhodis and azaleas and would have been quite a pleasant walk. In the long term, it would be good to replant the walk for the benefit of visitors.

While some of the group seemed to have enough energy to continue on into the evening….it was decided to call it a day at 4pm. A small amount of clearance work remained to be done and we made a note to finish that work on the following morning before moving to another nearby site.

Sunday morning, early again (groan!). We finished work on site No.1 and sent workday leader Ron over to site No.2 to start a new fire. The group (6 of us today) worked hard to clear rhodis at the new site. Ron kept us motivated by feeding us chocolate-fridge-cake. Just when we think that the end of the rhodis is in sight…we see more in the distance. This is not a bad thing – we need some future work to look forward to.

We were fortunate with weather on both days as it stayed dry throughout.

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How observant are you? Did you notice that our header and web address have changed?

This change reflects the recent decision of the group to choose a new identity which better reflects the geographic areas in which we work and the areas from which our membership is drawn.

The former group name ‘Wolverhampton National Trust Conservation Volunteers’ (WNTCV) served¬† us well but it was felt that it wasn’t really representative of the group as we increase the number of NT properties at which we work. So, the WNTCV name has been retired¬† with full honours and we have an all new identity in ‘Shropshire and Staffordshire National Trust Volunteers’ which we will abbreviate to SSNTV.

Of course, no name is perfect as some of our worksites are outside this area….and some of our members live outside the region! In reality our name could have become a bit cumbersome if it included our work site in Hereford and working holidays in Northumberland and our members who live in Manchester and Scotland! However, the core of our work and membership is centred around Shropshire and Staffordshire and so the new name was born.

It will take some time to update all of our publicity material and sources. In the meantime, the main thing to remember is that we are still the same friendly, hard working group of people….and that we still like to reward ourselves with cake at the end of a workday!

If you want to follow our website updates, why not add our new web address to your ‘bookmarks’? You can contact us via the email address on the contact page. We can also be found on facebook.

What do you think of the name change? You can leave comments using the ‘leave a comment’ link.

 

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Sunday 14th August

Following on from the blog post for our visit to Morville today, the following photos show the new sundial garden. Work began on this project in March 2010. Chris and Sarah, tenants of Morville Hall, designed the garden and WNTCV helped bring the project to life and I think we should be proud of what has been achieved. The two photos show the garden in March 2010 and today.

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Morville Hall, Sunday 14th August

It has been a few weeks since we updated the news section, have you missed us? We haven’t been lazy during our absence. In fact, we have had several Sunday workdays (Attingham, Moseley Old Hall, Dudmaston) and some of the group headed north to Northumberland to spend a working week at NT Cragside.

Today we find 22 of the group, including 2 new members (hello Shelly and Kate!), at Morville Hall in Shropshire. WNTCV members know this property well as we visit at least 4 times per year. Non-members should have a look at our news archive and photos for details of previous visits.

We had such a successful visit today. There was a list of tasks, including:

  • stage one of a new project – converting the 1960s swimming pool into a natural pond
  • cutting back the clematis adjacent the new sundial garden
  • trimming the top and sides of the laurel hedge
  • tidying the area around the pond
  • cutting back the hawthorn hedge
  • preparing areas near the old swimming pool for planting

There seemed to be tasks to suit all. The ‘heavy’ team set about shifting 7tonnes of pebbles and slate into the base of the old swimming pool – the pool had already been lined prior to our arrival. They then positioned half barrels in the pool, which were filled with soil – these will be planted with water lilies in phase 2 of the project. The ‘heavies’ were left to their sweat and toil while the others formed small teams to attack the rest of the task list. The weather was perfect for working: not too warm, not too sunny, not too dull and NO RAIN.

There was cake….oh yes, a LOT of cake….we do like cake. Thanks Sarah and Chris for your hospitality – we had a great day and look forward to visiting again later in the year.

If you’d like to leave a comment regarding the above, please do so using the ‘comments’ link.

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