Archive for the ‘National Trust Volunteering’ Category

Groundhog Day ……in a good way……as workday leader Mags recounts:

Sunday 15th saw us at Kinver Edge … again. Eleven in total, each of us had already been to a post-lockdown workday at the site, so were used to, but very mindful of the instructions on social distancing and sanitising hands and equipment.

The day was a continuation of the work from a fortnight before (see Nov. 1st post) – the tumbril still in place for our bonfire.

As leader, I missed being able to provide cake, but we still had a “no cake o’clock” after about an hour’s work. I was also keeping an eye on the weather. It was bright when we arrived, and for quite a while thereafter. Useful for checking which trees needed to be removed to allow the sun into places where adders might bask. But we could see very dark clouds threatening over the ridge. When they arrived, thankfully they only delivered short showers. Not enough to noticeably dampen the spirits, nor the fire – but enough to create weather to catch the eye!

Working beyond last time’s glades into the scrub, it was not difficult to get lost. Honing in on the fire, armed with brash, easy enough; but returning to your spot to carry on thinning was not so straightforward. It was too easy to follow a track too far down the slope or go beyond the same place in among the trees. By the end of the day all was cleared and burned; every tool accounted for and newly sanitised.

Assistant Ranger Tom also took the chance to vary the chainsaw action, trying his hand at the creation of standing deadwood for habitats, rather than felling and clearing – as the pic’s show.

All in all, well worth getting out in the fresh air … and the smoke!!

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Ed’s PS: After the missed get togethers of the recent virtual AGM and cancelled Bonfire stay-away workdays, Sunday was also the chance for Chairman Chris to hand out socially distanced SSNTV annual awards for last year: Hours Prize (Leela) and Special Mentions for Workday Leading (Russell, Peter and David B).

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Follow this link to the programme on BBC Sounds

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The Group’s expert with a billhook reports from regional HQ’s estate:

The weather forecast was grim, but still eleven people signed up for the first hedgelaying of the season. In line with current guidelines the day started with a Covid safety briefing. Before we could start on the hedge, a little coppicing was called for, to provide us with the stakes and heatherings (bindings) we needed for finishing the hedge. Hazel is the best for these as it naturally grows straight and there is nothing worse than a bendy stake!

Onto the hedgelaying: this was our first socially distanced hedgelaying task. Fortunately we have around 250m of hedge to work on, so that was not a problem. This year’s hedge is a maiden one, having never been laid before – so a good one to start on. With 11 of us beavering away much chopping was done. That said the actual length of hedge actually laid was only about 20m, but another 50m has been pre-chopped and will lay no doubt in no time when we return next in December. Can we finish the full 250m this season???

Despite the forecast, the weather gods were kind to us almost until the end, with the heavy rain not arriving until just as we were finishing. It was as they say, a good day had by all.

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Can’t get out to cut and burn this weekend….. Then why not catch up with the Trust’s news

Follow this link to the NT site from where the webcast will be broadcast,8878eabb,884c7050&p1=NTAGM1020&s=vBnsjd8WTsW0s75lTLJYrKziKCB8bYndSKsz5fBU1c8fa

There’s a recording of the event, which was held on November 7th, on this page which is still worth a listen.

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Workday leader Helen reports:

A happy, lucky band of SSNTV volunteers assembled at Kinver on a marvellous, sunny Sunday morning, ready to work with Ranger Tom.

Our mission: to help save Kinver’s important vertebrate residents, the baby adders that will come out in the Spring, from starving to death! 

This happens because when baby adders hatch, they desperately need to bask in the sun to warm up and generate enough energy to enable them to hunt and eat. Unfortunately, too much dense, scrubby undergrowth on the Heath and naughty, downright badly behaved dogs force them back into the shadows. There they stay, too frightened to come out, getting colder and colder and gradually starve to death. A very sad story. 

So SSNTV volunteers to the rescue. Their weapons: bowsaws and loppers! 

Their task: to clear little glades in the scrub of oaks and birch – to discourage errant dogs from rampaging through and still allow enough light and warmth to permeate the ground storey –  just right for baby adders. If even then, they do still get scared and look to hide, there’s enough cover close at hand! 

A wonderfully warm but socially-distanced time was had by all thanks to the Covid regulations and the moveable tumbril. Things couldn’t have got much better (except if there’d been cake!).

Thank goodness for SSNTV!  Here’s hoping we get out again soon – fingers crossed!

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Sunday 1st Nov.Kinver Edge
Friday 6th Nov.Dudmaston Estate – Bonfire Weekend
Saturday 7th Nov.Dudmaston Estate – Bonfire Weekend
Sunday 8th Nov.Dudmaston Estate – Bonfire Weekend
Sunday 15th Nov.Kinver Edge
Friday 4th Dec.Dudmaston Estate – Christmas Weekend
Saturday 5th Dec.Dudmaston Estate – Christmas Weekend
Sunday 6th Dec.Dudmaston Estate – Christmas Weekend

@ 22.10.20…with current COVID restrictions, always subject to confirmation. More details to follow from programme lead Helen and our workday leaders.

@ 05.11.20 LOCKDOWN UPDATE – following English lockdown decision pending further guidance on whether any November / December workdays are feasible, we unfortunately have to cancel Bonfire weekend events. Keep watching this space for more news!

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There’s a communication to volunteers here (same p/w) as previously

There’s also a document you can read which is a summary of what conclusions this review has reached

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After twenty-eight weeks with no workdays SSNTV final rescued the tools from their enforced hibernation as on Sunday thirteen members ventured out to the southern point of Staffordshire, at Kinver Edge to resume the work they most enjoy – destruction in the woods!

To break the group back in gently, the task for the day was clearing brash and thinning sycamore trees on the Trust land at Gorse Covert, creating wind rows or dead-hedges with the material instead of a burn.

This work aims to increase light into this dense wooded area – ever noticed how big a sycamore leaf is – to encourage natural regeneration of the florae along with increased migration of  wildlife from the adjacent fields.

In keeping with current times, the day started with a return to work induction and COVID reminder from Ranger, Tom. After that a fully social distanced workday followed…..

Lunch was taken with us all sitting around the five litre container of hand sanitiser – radiating out its protective powers, rather than with heat from a more traditional bonfire!

The day was broken up into one hour working sessions enabling the group to survive this first day back, as numerous aches and pains developed as the day went on.

It’s amazing how much brash a group can generate and have to move around if there’s no fire! After a full day however, the sun was beginning to creep through the reducing canopy – so that our efforts were starting to bear fruit!

Fingers crossed – further workdays are arranged for the beginning of November and December at nearby Dudmaston and hopefully more will soon be added to the embryonic program.

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…So we can’t get out to cut and burn…but we did manage a remote Annual General Meeting this evening from sofas at home. Thanks to Chairman Chris for that.

(….and most of those in shot at least, did not wear their workday scruffies…)

Can you spot Guy getting ready…there’s faint talk there might actually be an event or two before 2021 – so watch this space!

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Following press comment about Reset Programme:

Enter TRUST at the prompt

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