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Conservation Work - Past
proably no Task today - summer holidays
No task today - summer holidays
Another hand-powered effort at controlling areas of bracken growth. We worked along the lower slopes, using the scythes and slashers in the denser stands and sickles were the bracken is sparser amongst the other moorland vegetation. The piles of fronds mark our progress across the hillside and it was good to see where we worked last month that there was only a little regrowth.
It’s hard work, so it was good to be distracted at times by frogs, a toad, red admiral butterflies and swifts. No sign of the grouse; they have taken cover.
Two successful days during which we re-roofed the big shelter in the event space, and removed and replaced the roof over the shed. The roofing on the big shelter was fairly straight forward (challenging but manageable), working systematically along the roof nailing the corrugated bitumen sheets to the roof frame. I’d miscalculated the number of nails needed so it was all but finished by the time we left on Thursday, with the last few fixings put in on Friday morning. To strengthen the frame of the shelter we have added some extra vertical supports, and will add more when we are next there.
The roof that covers the small shed had bowed significantly with pools of water collecting where it slumped. So before securing the new sheeting we added some extra joists to support the roof, but we will need to make sure we brush fallen leaves off the top at regular intervals.
We also made a good start with cutting the hedges. And we picked the first ripe Beauty of Bath apples.
We made a great start today with some of the infrastructure improvements that we are undertaking over the next few months. We removed the perished roofing of the large shelter and aim to replace it next week, working on Thursday and Friday.
The main sections of compost bins will be moved to make way for the shed to be built, and a great start was made in clearing these and establishing areas for the bins to be relocated.
The scythes were useful for cutting the taller vegetation including areas of nettles, ground elder and hogweed. Our mower has been stolen so we it was less easy to shorten the edges of the main path and the paths through the long grass.
A day of weather today, wet most of the morning but getting better in the afternoon.
We were restricted to hand tools today, but despite the lack of an auto-scythe we made a significant impact on the larger stands of dense bracken. The heaps of cutting marked our progress.
Our day was brightened by an Elephant Hawkmoth and an attractive caterpillar Knot Grass Moth caterpillar. We had a walk to look at the area we originally worked in and are still pleased with the success in reducing the bracken and allowing the colonisation of heather, bilberry and crowberry. The trees are a notable part of the hillside and we are thinking that it might be a good for the heather to reduce the number slightly.
We will be tending the vegetable beds, managing bits of the meadow and area near the car park. We also plan to give all the apple trays a thorough clean.
Our task this weekend was on the hill above Cray, a short walk from the stepping stones. Uphill (and down) through fairly tussocky grass and rushes and sometimes skirting around the bull and his herd. Under Peter’s direction we choose a stretch of wall about 10 meters in length, from a wall end to tie in with the remaining wall.
Unlike other visits to this area the rock was gritstone (we were up above the limestone layer). The pictures show our progress through the weekend, resulting in a good end result. We also ‘tidied’ up a few other sections nearby, plugging holes and replacing copping stones.
As is tradition, we used our home made charcoal to make a bbq on Saturday evening. The weather was kind through the weekend, with the only spell of rain on Friday afternoon (followed by a surprise visit from Rob), and pleasant on Saturday and Sunday.
A drizzly damp day so we were accompanied by the midges today as we worked around the pond in Northcliffe Woods.
We successfully dug out the silt, shale and sticks from the two silt traps that are situated at the entrance to the pond. The plan is that the Friends of Northcliffe volunteer group will pay regular visits to try and maintain space in the silt traps so the debris doesn’t wash straight into the pond. It’s always an issue where to carry the arising mud to, so we will just have to see how this goes, but we have made a good start in both the traps and the channel through the pond.
We also made a good impact on the Himalayan balsam population on the banking above the pond and on the hillsides either side.
We enjoy the work at the charcoal kilns. But the task is not without its challenges. Luckily we got a free run (no, not literally – we carried a fair weight up hill) to the site with the timber – no dodging horses. However, once there our first task was to try and locate the elements of the kilns that had been ‘borrowed’ by den builders in the woods.
We now know that it is fairly easy to reposition the kilns into place on the vents, but unfortunately one of the lids which has been used as a fire plate looks to be warped beyond use at present. We will have to experiment with how to unbend it!
We successfully chopped, split and sawed enough timber to fill one kiln and some timber ready for the other if we feel it is useable. The chimneys still need to be recovered from their current role in construction of the local den and gateways.