Archive for the ‘National Trust’ Category

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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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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It was back to gardening in the run up to Christmas, as the Group made the first of hopefully many visits to the new tenants at the Hall, in order to help Melanie and the family catch-up on some pruning tasks …

….. and were royally entertained with festive treats – thanks for those!

And as the sun shone for most of the time…..

the SSNTV’ers went home looking the same colour as when they arrived – not like in recent previous weeks!

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Workday leader Dave reports:

It was a day of two halves, glued together by mud …lot’s of mud it looks like (Ed!)

We were continuing a clearance project in the Stretton Westwood quarry, part of Wenlock Edge which last year resulted in the re-appearance of hundreds of orchids. Much cutting and burning took place removing elder, willow and diseased ash trees. With more light reaching the ground any dormant wild flower seeds will germinate. It will be interesting to go back in the Spring and so see what appears.

Rather than the usual cake o clock we had a cake decorating workshop instead! Or it may just have been cupcakes, gingerbread men, a bit of icing and some sprinkles.

Oh yes… and the day of two halves? It was lovely and sunny in the morning but began to rain at lunch time and then continued all afternoon! What fun we all had!!

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Christmas weekend saw the Group back at Dudmaston in Comer Wood clearing and thinning the largely, young birch trees, otherwise threatening to dominate the woodland.  There was much to go at, as both Head Ranger Mike and Helen followed the SSNTV’ers around with chainsaws over three days.

With Christmas dinner planned for Saturday day Two, day One, Friday was a chance for the early starters to bag the best beds and put up the Xmas decorations ready for a quiet Saturday evening.

Saturday, day Two proved to be the best weather day of the weekend as the chefs / cooking team made intermittent visits to the worksite; as well as peeled vegetables and put on the turkey.  With the main Christmas event getting nearer, there were few passing walkers and bike riders to observe the Group at work.  

Many of the birches and other small trees seem to self-seed so that there was much to thin.  As ranger Mike explained, when they reach a certain age, the trees also frequently get attacked by squirrels, damaging the bark and stopping the growth of straight healthy leaders.  So the work to let in more light would hopefully also promote a more healthy environment for different species to thrive.

Day Three of our weekend saw a great turnout of 14 members, plus Dudmaston D of E volunteer, Oliver, dodging the top-frequent showers. The numbers meant we successfully completed the thinning of the section of woodland by the end of the day, as light was fading.

Feature of the weekend was also the number of fires started to allow removal of the heaps of brash.  Such that by Day Three this became a four-fire foray.  Happily it also meant plenty of heat to keep us warm and to help us to dry off after the rain.

Having polished off Christmas and sticky toffee puddings, that didn’t stop day Three workers consuming the glut of cake, bread pudding and mince pies.  Thanks to all for those!

Not content with just destruction, by day Three a small group also started the replanting effort anew; managing to put about 50 oak trees back into the ground in the clearing created from the previous two workdays. 

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