Archive for the ‘Staffordshire Volunteering’ Category

So this weekend’s workday at Benthall Hall has had to be cancelled…Sorry Nick see you later in the Spring!

Everyone will have to make to with a bit of extra hedge lay…in….

…..or something like, from the extra day Dave and the billhook gang managed recently at Morville

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Workday leader Matthew tells the tale of a day spent largely in the orchard….

A good turn-out of 14 headed to Morville Hall for pruning the apple trees and hedgelaying around the perimeter of the orchard.

We were fortunate with the continuing mild weather.  The gardens were looking well-tended too, as we made our way to the orchard, noticing some very diligent gardening around the sunken pool.

The group split into three groups, with Dave leading the specialist hedgelayers. The idea was to bring some order to a stretch of hedge which was getting near overhead lines. We don’t want any uncontrolled chainsawing by the power company! Dave was pleased with progress and will return with some volunteers to carry on the task on an extra workday (…now planned for the 11th).

A second team helped Melanie by starting to prune some of the apple trees just off the long walk. There are some very attractive tree specimens here, full of history no doubt.

The rest of the volunteers concentrated on the trees in the orchard. Some wandering sheep had got in and caused damage, so more new trees will have to be planted to supplement those already added to the orchard to replace those lost to old age. We made reasonable progress in true SSNTV-style.

Thanks to Melanie for a warm welcome and the great cakes…. And thanks to all who wished me ‘Happy Birthday’ with a fine rendition of the well-known tune!

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Our billhook aficionado, Dave reports (very promptly) from a sunny Saturday on the Attingham estate….

As promised the Head Ranger provided us with a new, never before laid hedge. What an absolute joy!….Of course the sunny weather also helped.  

We managed to lay 20 metres of mixed hawthorn, hazel and field maple. For a first day, that is good for us. ….So I’m already looking forward to next winter, when we can really get our teeth into the remaining 170 metres.

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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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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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