Posts Tagged ‘Shropshire’

Morville Hall, Sunday 14th August

It has been a few weeks since we updated the news section, have you missed us? We haven’t been lazy during our absence. In fact, we have had several Sunday workdays (Attingham, Moseley Old Hall, Dudmaston) and some of the group headed north to Northumberland to spend a working week at NT Cragside.

Today we find 22 of the group, including 2 new members (hello Shelly and Kate!), at Morville Hall in Shropshire. WNTCV members know this property well as we visit at least 4 times per year. Non-members should have a look at our news archive and photos for details of previous visits.

We had such a successful visit today. There was a list of tasks, including:

  • stage one of a new project – converting the 1960s swimming pool into a natural pond
  • cutting back the clematis adjacent the new sundial garden
  • trimming the top and sides of the laurel hedge
  • tidying the area around the pond
  • cutting back the hawthorn hedge
  • preparing areas near the old swimming pool for planting

There seemed to be tasks to suit all. The ‘heavy’ team set about shifting 7tonnes of pebbles and slate into the base of the old swimming pool – the pool had already been lined prior to our arrival. They then positioned half barrels in the pool, which were filled with soil – these will be planted with water lilies in phase 2 of the project. The ‘heavies’ were left to their sweat and toil while the others formed small teams to attack the rest of the task list. The weather was perfect for working: not too warm, not too sunny, not too dull and NO RAIN.

There was cake….oh yes, a LOT of cake….we do like cake. Thanks Sarah and Chris for your hospitality – we had a great day and look forward to visiting again later in the year.

If you’d like to leave a comment regarding the above, please do so using the ‘comments’ link.

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Wenlock Edge, Sunday 24th April

Back to Wenlock Edge today for some hard work and easter eggs. National Trust Ranger Chris met us at the entrance to Lea Quarry and we headed up to the work site. The group has worked here many times over the last year or two (see Feb 27 2011) and it is great to see the transformation continue. No need for too much discussion before we started work, just a brief safety talk and we were up on the slope cutting brash and trees, passing them (with the help of gravity!) to the slope base where a fire was started to get rid of the cuttings.

Instead of “cake o’clock”, today we had “egg o’clock”. Our normal cake break was replaced by a little easter treat or two, kindly supplied by Matt. We did have our very own easter bunny…or a very confused looking Max the dog who puts up with us silly humans and our craziness – as you can see from the picture he looked super cute with his temporary pink ears.

This was the group’s first ever Easter workday – we usually don’t work on bank holiday weekends. We all agreed that it had been a really worthwhile outing and hopefully we can make it an annual event.

Max "Easter Bunny" Harrison

before.....

....during....

....after

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Well, we aren’t really going on a bear hunt…..that poem has just been stuck in my head for the last few days.

We are REALLY going to Morville Hall, this coming Sunday 17th April (where there are unlikely to be bears). Morville Hall is a favourite venue for the group – we always have a great turnout for our visits. It is a stunning location, there is a wide variety of gardening tasks to choose from and we are always warmly welcomed by Morville Hall tenants, Chris and Sarah Douglas.

Of course, there will be an update on this site after our visit but why not come along and join us instead?

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Walcot Wood, Sunday 10th April

With sun shining the group spent the day at Walcot Wood. You may remember that we had an earlier working weekend at this site in March of this year. It was lovely to return to this beautiful part of south Shropshire, with spring in full swing. Trees were bursting with fresh greenery and blossom. The floor of the woodland was covered in wild primrose and violets. We’ve helped the regular Walcot volunteers over a number of years to cut back the tree canopy to allow these wild flowers to return. In time, it is hoped that grassland will cover the slopes – the National Trust flock of Hebridean sheep are drafted in to keep the regrowth under control.

So, back to today. We continued the work from our last visit, preparing the area for school children to visit later in the year. Two fires were lit to burn brash – I know we are a bit weird having fires on the hottest day of the year so far! It was a sure sign that summer had arrived as Laura had her shorter trousers on, Matt was sporting a sun hat, sunglasses were much in evidence and a couple of bottles of sunscreen made their appearance.

Needless to say, the challenge of working in the heat had to be balanced by frequent breaks for cold drinks…and maybe a slice or two of cake to boost energy levels!

It was so beautiful working here today. Clear blue skies, warm sun, good company, cake – perfect day!

The site where we worked last visit - looks good doesn't it?

Woodland floor covered in wild primrose

A fire on a hot day - crazy!

Looking towards the work site - two paths open and clear of overgrowth

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I didn’t get out on a workday this last weekend (Sunday 20th March), however I hear that the group spent a productive day at Attingham in the walled garden with NT staff Debbie and Mary.

So, there is no big story about how much work was done…no. Instead, when I spoke to various WNTCV group members, what do you think one of the main topics of discussion was? CAKE! It is becoming apparent that cake is the fuel of choice for all of our efforts and it seems this past weekend at Attingham was no different. A little birdy tells me there was chocolate fudge cake (yum), cake was also supplied by the NT (coffee & walnut and fruity cinnamon cake mmm) and there were special biscuits to celebrate Matt Hinton achieving 300 volunteer hours in one year (well done Matt). I feel sad to have missed out on this cake-fest but, dear readers, I wasn’t being entirely lazy on my day off – I was ‘testing’ new recipes for future WNTCV workdays.

The attached photo is from the archive (Dudmaston, November 2010).There are a few group favourites here: parkin, mars bar cake, legendary lemon poppy seed muffins, fruit bread….

Next week the group is working at Sunnycroft, helping get the garden into shape as the property recently opened for the new season.

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Walcot Wood, Friday 4th-Sunday 6th March

We had a 3-day working weekend at Walcot Wood in the wilds of south Shropshire.

Day One, Friday– the day started with bacon butties for some…then working off the big breakfast with some hard graft. The group worked to open up a path that had become overgrown. Part of the site is to be used by school children as an outdoor classroom and the current work is part of a project to get the site ready for use.

As the day progressed, the sun began to shine and a good day was had by all (much enhanced by lunch + 3 CAKE BREAKS!!!)

Day 2, Saturday – started with fewer bacon butties (i.e. none!), but with a larger number of equally enthusiastic volunteers. So with 16 pairs of busy hands and Dave the warden spectacularly bringing down some huge cherry trees, the whole site was becoming much safer and more open for the school children to enjoy the stunning surrounding. The day seemed to fly by with so much brash and scrub to work on and plenty of the usual WNTCV banter (look out for some of the quotes in the next newsletter!). The only down side was that we didn’t get to see the sun and with it the fantastic views up the valley, but this was more than made up for by the delicious meal that was had in the evening over at Bishops Castle.

Day 3, Sunday – Once again working in the beautiful March sunshine, we completed our work on the main site and also cleared brash from another path leading past one of the amazing veteran oak trees. After turning our fire in once more and finishing the last of the cake, it was time to go home. However, the great news is that Peter the NT countryside manager was so impressed with our progress that he has booked us up already for the same weekend in 2012!

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Wenlock Edge, Sunday 27th February

This week finds WNTCV at Wenlock Edge with NT Ranger Chris, clearing overgrown trees and scrub from the hillside of a disused limestone quarry. The aim is to restore the area to limestone grassland, creating an ideal habitat for wild flowers including orchids.

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Attingham, Saturday 19th February

Attingham, near Shrewsbury, was the location for a day of hedgelaying  with hedgelaying expert Karl Liebscher.

Despite heavy rain overnight, the clouds cleared and the group enjoyed the challenge of trying to match their stretch of hedge with the stretch laid by expert Karl.

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Wenlock Edge, set in the Shropshire Hills is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For regular updates from the Rangers regarding ongoing projects and upcoming events:

Wenlock Edge Blog: http://wenlockedgenationaltrust.blogspot.com/

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The Lost Valley

The Lost Valley

The group had a guided tour from Gordon to Hawkstone Park & Follies. Created in the 18th Century by the Hill family, Hawkstone became one of the greatest historic parklands in Europe.

Centred around the Red Castle and the awe-inspiring Grotto Hill, it offers stunning views of the Shropshire countryside. Hawkstone follies parkland covers 100 acres. Intricate pathways, ravines, arches and bridges, the towering cliffs and follies, the hermit in his hermitage and King Arthur addressing his troops in the awesome caves.

Source: www.shropshiretourism.co.uk

Here are some pictures of the day from Matt
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32022265@N07/sets/72157621789780307/

(more…)

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