Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.
Conservation Work - Past
Volunteers did a fantastic job pruning the hedges around the orchard and preparing a sunny area for planting with hops. We also started clearing some Flag Irises that had firmly taken root, out of the pond.
This was our second visit to Northcliffe pond this year. We dug out enough silt and mud from the pond to clear a large channel and allow a small waterfall to run at either end of the pond where it meets the stream. We barrowed the silt to the banking of the woodland and spread it in as natural a way as possible to break down into the woodland soil. Fortunately the weather stayed fine for us as we carried out this at times strenuous task.
Volunteers worked really hard to complete the meadow management and pond clearance tasks, leaving the site prepared for the winter months. We did some pond dipping and saw newts, damselfly nymphs and a leech among other things. Our recent new volunteers have shown flair for using scythes, so we got the task completed in good time manually.
We carried out meadow management on Lower fields extensive meadow land using traditional hand tools such as scythes, before we mowed. The pond was also cleared of unwanted vegetation by approximately one third. This was to keep the area around a bridge free from vegetation, so the children can pond dip easily from the bridge. Another benefit of clearance is to keep a healthy balance of plants and to stop more vigorous plants outcompeting more delicate plants.
We also saw three Friday frogs camouflaged by and hiding in the grass and what looked like a Tiger Moth caterpillar.
We made a good start clearing the pond and dug out the silt and mud to create a channel. This is quite a difficult task but the pond is an unusual resource for wildlife in the woodland and despite it’s manmade origins this pond has had stonefly larva in it, indicated unpolluted waters and will offer good wildlife value for the wood. We will do another visit this month to complete the task.
We finished clearing the majority of the meadow and all the pathways. We also carried out repairs to the render on the Apple Store after it had been broken into and harvested more apples.
A productive day, the grass was cut using scythes and sickles and a clear path for groups was mown. We cleared duckweed from the ponds and removed branches from the woodland area where there are species rich areas of wildflowers, to encourage them to spread and made habitat piles from the branches. We also removed wood avens and other unwanted plants.
The new benches were painted with linseed oil to preserve them. The oil has really brought out the colour of the red cedarwood.
We made a great start carrying out the annual meadow cut using traditional tools such as scythes and sickles, raking off the arisings to keep the fertility of the grass low and to encourage the wildflowers to thrive. We collected wildflower seeds with a view to creating a nursery area in our roof garden for propagating them.
We completed the benches today and laid the woodchip along the paths and seating areas and it all looks fantastic. Volunteers also cleared back some branches that were damaged or encroaching on the paths around the site and created habitat piles from the arisings.
Our delivery of woodchip and benches came this morning, both consisting of locally sourced red cedarwood, so we cleared the last of the woodchip from the paths in preparation and started constructing the new benches.