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.

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!

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

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!

With the Christmas break over for some eager beavers, the Group made it back to Shugborough on Sunday where your reporter found them clearing and burning huge loads of cuttings that had been piled up as part of the Shugborough gardens team’s task to restore around the tennis court in the formal garden.

A big job which took everyone all day!

Thanks to Mags for a festive cake o’clock that went down very well.

A good day in the sunshine!

A few determined souls who’d had enough of turkey ventured back to “our” hedge, as the man with the billhook collection, Dave reports:

A good day’s hedgelaying Saturday i.e. no rain! Having spent the last workday clearing the hedge, we actually started laying the new this time.

……(Ed) I’m told Dave was also filmed for a YouTube channel, talking about the group and its hedgelaying activities, but no more details as we go to print..

Let’s hope it doesn’t go to his head and he starts charging for autographs!

…Still one more last workday (Sun 29th) in this decade, before it all begins anew!

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!