Archive for the ‘National Trust’ Category

On Sunday April 27th we were joined by Marcus Halliwell, General Manager of Dudmaston Estate, who presented some of the group with National Trust Long Service Awards.
Four members completed a massive 20 years of volunteering and still going strong. Two members achieved fifteen year awards, one member ten years and five have clocked up five years.

Each person received a NT pin and the awards emphasises how much value the National Trust places on the work done by volunteer groups like ours.

PicMonkey Collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Weir, Hereford, Saturday 22nd October

It has been a while since we visited The Weir, May 7th to be exact. It is a real pleasure to work at this location, particularly so this weekend as we had such lovely weather.

Our task was to cut back overgrown buddleia and rosemary willow. The idea was that we would uncover the old pig sty. We were wondering if this would be possible as we couldn’t see a pig sty – as you can see from the ‘after’ pic, the pig sty was there and we worked hard to reveal it from the undergrowth.
We enjoyed working with NT gardener Ned. He always has something interesting to show us in the garden. This time it was a fabulous selection of pumpkins and squash of all shapes and sizes and an oddly shaped vegetable – which turned out to be a south american cucumber of the Achocha family, known as the ‘Fat Baby’. Also growing there was a close relative of the Fat Baby – the exploding cucumber, Latin name Cyclanthera Explodens.

 

 

 

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Wenlock Edge, old quarry, Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October

Earlier in the year, a discussion took place with NT Ranger Chris – what would be better than a workday at Wenlock Edge? The answer? Three workdays at Wenlock Edge! And so the group found themselves booked in for a three day working weekend, working at a new part of the site. The location was an old limestone quarry which has long since ceased production. The National Trust recently took over management of the site. It had become overgrown with hawthorn and blackthorn hence badly in need of some volunteer action.

There is a variety of things that make the group happy: – good weather, chunky trees to chop, a bonfire, lots of cake. All of these were available in abundance!

Some of the group stayed overnight at an NT holiday cottage near Dudmaston. Ron tested his culinary skills on Friday evening, providing the group with a delicious spaghetti dish. Sheila helped out by creating an apple crumble, using apples provided by Ron from his own garden. This was washed down with a fine selection of ales, or a glass or two of homemade wine – “Rhubarb Ruin”. On the Saturday evening, the overnighters ventured into Bridgnorth for a meal in a local bistro – I am sure it wasn’t as good as Ron and Sheila’s tasty creations on Friday.

The photos don’t do justice to the extent of work completed over the weekend. We hope to be back working at this site sometime before Christmas so if you want to see it, keep an eye on our programme of workdays and come out and join us.

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Sunnycroft, Sunday 4th September

A little light hedge trimming might be an understatement….I’m  not sure if the group can really do ‘light’ hedge trimming. The photos prove that!

Ten group members met NT Gardener Joel at Sunnycroft today. The task in the morning was to cut back the laurel hedge and some trees that had become overgrown. While they disguised the houses beyond, they also blocked out the light in the gardens of these neighbouring properties. In the spirit of being a good neighbour, we cut back the greenery. If I’m being honest, standing on the NT side of the fence, it looked far better before we had done the work. But this is the perfect example of where a property manager has to balance out the needs of the property with the needs of its neighbours. On the NT side of the fence, the area is used for car parking and the hedge line does now look tidy so a good result all round.

In the afternoon, work was transferred to the long hedge along the main drive. This hedge borders the garden of the gatehouse property and the hedge had become…lets just say it was a bit unruly! With ten keen workers, we were able to complete the work by the end of the day. The lady who lives in the gatehouse came out to speak to us and she was very pleased with the outcome of the work – she had thought of tackling the hedge on her own. We were glad to help.

The assembled group were guinea pigs to one of Mags new cake recipes – peanut butter chocolate brownies. Verdict: delicious!

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Shugborough, Sunday 19th June

Dogwood. Lots of dogwood….needing to be cut back. How fortunate that we love that kind of job! Nine of us arrived at Shugborough Estate, bowsaws and loppers in hand, ready to work. With the usual group enthusiasm, we set to work. The task was to clear an area near to the boathouse. The boathouse was hidden from view as visitors came along the path – not so at the end of the day. As you can see from the photographs, the area was opened up revealing the little building beyond. As extra tasks, Himalayan Balsam was removed from around the pond and the area around the boatshed was weeded. I love this kind of workday – you can really see the immediate effect of your efforts.

p.s. the lovely view in the ‘after’ photo is spoiled a little by the pile of tree cuttings – these will be cleared by Shugborough staff in due course

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Attingham, Sunday 12th June

The group had a visit to Attingham, near Shrewsbury this past weekend. The official description of the task was “mucking out the cow sheds at Home Farm to get valuable garden manure”. As I sit at home drinking tea on Tuesday morning, I realise I haven’t heard from anyone who attended the workday…I am thinking maybe that they were enjoying the mucking out so much that they are still there…..HELLO MUCKERS….ARE YOU STILL OUT THERE????

STOP PRESS::: I hear that the task on Sunday was changed and the group spent the day mulching around the trees in the orchard (there was some horse muck involved!). Unfortunately, the weather was not favourable (i.e. the wrong sort of rain). A small but hardy group started the day…and a slightly wetter group ended the day. On the plus side, there was plenty of cake.

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Sunday 5th June

It was a damp morning which led directly into a damp afternoon but we didn’t mind as we were working indoors today, building bird boxes. The group had a succesful bird box building session last year and so we were asked to come back for more bird related DIY.

Despite my dodgy location instructions, everybody made it to site in the end. We welcomed 3 new people to the group, one of whom is working towards a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and volunteer hours count towards this achievement.

The bird boxes come in a DIY style kit form. National Trust Ranger Chris had pre-cut timber to form the component parts of the box and we organised an assembly team (lots of noisy hammering and drilling). However, we were far too efficient today and Chris could barely keep up with our demand for more timber. We took a number of our completed birdboxes out into the nearby woods and attached them to trees so that the little birdies can have nice homes for next winter and beyond.

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