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Conservation Work - Past
Blackcaps singing. Bumblebees searching for a nest hole. Bilberries in flower. Spring. Time to finish off tree planting activities.
We adjusted our total to what was reasonable to fit in the space, so had less to plant this week than previously planned. The challenge today was that we were filling in gaps so needed to walk a fair way (and squeeze through gorse, and clamber down stones).
After a late lunch, once finished in the top enclosure, we split into two teams. Hawthorn on the track and embankments. Holly across the main hillside, plus retracing steps to guard some that were planted at the weekend.
We spent a little while replacing fallen stakes in stony ground, and gathering left over stakes, bags, etc. And then we were done. 3,681. Let's call it 3,700.
Well done everyone, it's been a supreme effort. It was shame a few people were unable to come due to illness, work and studies. But, hey, we've got a northern forest to create and as tree planting comes out top as people's favourite task in the annual survey, there is bound to be more planting next season.
We have reduced the number of trees we are going to plant (we have run out of space), so we are only planting on Friday now.
Join us then for the finale.
Amanda and I had made a start with marking and clearing turf on Wednesday so when we arrived on Thursday we able to get straight on with planting by the first gate.
We were joined today by a group from Prince's Trust at Shipley College. They took on, and completed, the shrubby edge along the fence line. This was the first time any of the young people had planted trees, some took to it more readily, but all enjoyed it to an extent.
We added Lime to our mix this week. And had several chats with walkers passing by. The footpath is definitely more popular now spring is here. T-shirts this week.
By Friday we were ready to extend our planting into the enclosure alongside the working quarry, filling in gaps from previous planting efforts. Our total by the end of the day was 3,491. I took a walk over the whole site to assess what space we had left and concluded that there really isn’t room to reach our target of 4000 so we have agreed a reduced number to suit the space available.
We will complete the planting next Friday.
See Friday's write up.
This week we worked up to along the top of the old quarry, including some fairly steep and stony sections!
Final few weeks of tree planting season.
We need to get 500 planted each week to hit our target.
We first visited Hutton Roof Crags for a working weekend in 2012 and have returned each winter since then.
This year we continued where we left off in March 2018, high up on the hill just where woodland opens out onto limestone pavement. The land, part of a National Nature Reserve is owned by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Ahead of our visit a couple of the Trust’s apprentices (or placement students, sorry I can’t remember which), practised their chain saw skills and felled trees either side of the footpath leading out to the pavement. This generated a lot of wood which needed to be cleared. On Friday afternoon we concentrated our efforts on clearing this and building up a big fire.
Our efforts were rewarded when we returned on Saturday – after a wild night of wind and rain, lots of rain, the embers were still glowing and we able to get the fire going again with ease. Wal was impressed!
Tuesday 12th and Thursday 14th March
As we are away on Friday we made a couple of visits during the week hoping to keep on top of things.
However, the weather (courtesy of storm Gareth) was a bit of a hindrance; it was very wet and cold leading us to pack up early on Tuesday. Over the couple of days, we, a select group of hardy (read cold, wet, determined/miserable), planted approaching 200 along the top of the hill.
We have had a fair variety of weather during our weeks here, but Thursday this week was the wettest so far. And the wind sent the guards rolling around the hillside.
However, this didn't hamper our efforts and we planted 230, a mix of silver birch, alder, rowan and hornbeam. On Friday we continued with a similar mix of species, but also had some blackthorn, hawthorn and hazel to plant at the edge of the hill. The rain set in at lunchtime but we continued until all the trees were in the ground (496 this week).
I was wondering whether this was the time to start counting down to our total, but it feels a bit premature. Just to say we have reached the plateau at the top, so it's all downhill from here ( once we've finished at the top and dealt with the old quarry sites!).
Forest of Bradford are planting here tomorrow and we are looking forward to the progress made by the professionals.
Back to the tree planting epic and with the weather slightly more normal for winter, though still at the warmer end of the temperature scale.
We were joined by a group of young people from Shaping Spaces on Wednesday. It was an introduction to tree planting for them and they concentrated on the shrub layer around the big tree.
The halfway point is in sight, almost 2,000 down, 2,000 still to go.