Archive for January, 2020

Workday leader Mags recounts the tale of last Sunday:….

The weather wasn’t kind, but the volunteers were out in force. Ten turned out on a rainy day, and achieved lots! We were again working over the Chinese bridge by the tennis courts. Remember the huge amount of brash that ‘we’ dragged and burned last time … This time it was digging over the border upon which the brash had been piled.

First, there were logs of all shapes and sizes. The rangers too were still in action creating more from felled trees.

Smaller logs made it over the bridge. Larger sections were rolled a short distance to where they later became seats and tables for alfresco lunch.

Other SSNTV’ers started on the day’s other main task – preparing beds ready for planting. Being careful of course to leave the emerging snowdrops!

The third task was to cut down the bamboo at the edge of the ornamental canal, opposite the Chinese House. Bags and bags were dragged to the next fire site for other volunteers to enjoy a huge bonfire. Chairman Chris decided I was hefty enough to climb into the bags to do the compressing – thanks for that!

Perhaps not a workday to “write home about” but despite the weather, we made a big difference. I’ll be back later in the year to see what has been “painted” on these blank canvasses!

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Workday leader David explains the Group’s latest efforts on the Edge:…..

An intrepid hard core of eight SSNTVers travelled to Kinver undeterred by the patchy fog and frost on Sunday. Luckily the fog didn’t hang about and by 10.00 am it had cleared to reveal a beautiful clear blue sky which remained for the rest of the day.

We worked about half-way up the dip slope not far from the Ranger’s base clearing gorse in an area Kinver’s own volunteers had already begun to open up. Our tasks was to create more gaps and passages through the very dense gorse to create spots for the resident adders to bask; and to bring in more light to help the heather to regenerate.

In the sunshine it was quite warm, although there were shady patches where the frost never melted so the adders were sensible enough to stay in hibernation below ground! We kept warm by working hard!

Pete did sterling work driving the pick-up from the cut site to the burn site by the Ranger’s base where a small number burned the gorse. It took a while for the damp material to ignite, but of course we weren’t going to be defeated and the fire eventually consumed it all! 

Thanks to Ranger Keira for being with us today – and special mention to the incredibly well-behaved Rufus!

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So as well as a chance for an impromptu birthday party (an earlier post..), Sunday was a day for a lot of trees as the Group returned to one of its typical winter tasks of woodland management, coppicing the largely willow bank on the edge of the Benthall estate, which overlooks what is left of the Ironbridge power station.

The work to cut back mainly old, damaged and decaying trees aims to rejuvenate the woodland an promote new growth.  It was also a chance to harvest various timber products – large logs to season and store before burning; long straight willow supports as beanpoles in the Hall garden; and shrubby branches, pea sticks to support young plants.

The recent wet weather and steep slope meant that most SSNTV’ers were unintentionally on their backsides for at least part of the day!  Still with plenty to go at, there was still much brash to burn and clear by the end of the day – so plenty for another workday.

With work focussed on the north-facing slope, sun for much of the day and the sizeable fire just about offset the slipping and sliding, as the worksite gradually crept downhill.

Special thanks to Maggie, who almost single-handedly catered for the massive number of 17 with mince pies and cake at “cake-o-clock” elevenses.

Doubtless we’ll be back for more!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY NT – as many have been writing – it was TODAY……

In this our Group’s 40th year, 18, – no, last minute correction, 17 SSNTV’ers made it out to Benthall Hall today to help with that recently announced NT plan to plant millions of new trees to combat climate change….so, we need to cut and coppice a few of the existing trees and there were plenty of those on the woodland ridge on the edge of the Benthall Estate, overlooking the fast disappearing, nearby power station today…..

Full workday report to follow, but in the meantime…

HAPPY 125th BIRTHDAY once again NT

….oh, yes and thanks to Gardener in Charge, Nick for the birthday cake.

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Workday leader Peter reports:

For the first Sunday of 2020 SSNTV returned to Morville Hall to complete some of the tasks which we had started the Sunday before Christmas (…now seems such a long way off!) and remove some new ones from the long list of jobs which the new Hall tenants have!

With a good weather forecast and armed with prior knowledge of the drinks and fabulous homemade cakes that would await us from Melanie’s kitchen, no less than fifteen SSNTV’ers came out to help restore (or was it cause destruction) in the garden.

Soon work on four tasks was underway:

Taming rampant roses bushes was the main feature of the day’s performance – with at least five large overgrown bushes spreading across the site.  In two of these cases, the shrubs were also climbing over head height and so came down to within 50cm of the ground (was that a bit much, Ed!!) – which meant a constant supply for the fire all day.

We lit the bonfire held over from our 2019 visit with sterling work to get the fire established, as volumes of material keep arriving and the damp stuff was conquered, not least with help from two large Christmas trees from the Hall.

Beside the old swimming pool, we also tackled an overgrown hedge that spread its tentacles both skywards and outwards in enormous proportions – even its roots were not safe from attention, as slabs were lifted and pickaxes wielded.

The final task was to dig over four former herb beds and reveal their brick edgings. This unfortunately proved beyond our capabilities on the day, despite Mags putting in a sterling effort, with little sign of where she had been toiling!

With two stops for cake a good day was had by all – thanks to our hosts for that!  Melanie and Andrew expressed themselves pleased by the day’s work, as well as by how much we had achieved – hence they are already looking forward to our next return visit!

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Not content with last weekend, those eager beavers with the billhooks made it back to Attingham again on Saturday – one more time than published in the programme – but for good reason as Dave reports:

Another hedgelaying day without rain!

FANFARE…..!!!!! With a good turnout we have finally finished that hedge, after four years. It is now laid with the heathering (binding) along the top.

There is still one more hedgelaying Saturday to go at Attingham, on 1st February. We will be starting a new ‘maiden’ hedge. That is, one that has never been laid before.

And then…for anyone getting withdrawal symptoms…..there’s more to do at the orchard at Morville (along with tree pruning) later in February

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Happy New……..

Hello existing & potential new volunteers…


There’s a new SSNTV programme of work just been published at

its SSNTV’s 40th anniversary year as well as the Trust’s 125th, so what better way to burn off that turkey & all those mince pies!

Not back at work yet, then why not head to Morville Hall, near Bridgnorth this Sunday, 5th to start off this New Year’s resolution with a bit of light work!

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