Our final day of tree planting this season and we were able to identify some of the trees by their leaves rather than their buds. They have been grown in root trainers so their roots are well protected and they are well sheltered by the deer proof guards that we fitted.
The planting covered a small embankment at the bottom of a field and species included birch, oak, rowan, willow, hazel, hawthorn and field maple. Once established they will provide a great habitat for the birds. There was a willow warbler singing somewhere near by – the first I had heard this year.
As we set off home we took a little detour (easier than turning round in the road!) into the quarry we were adjacent to. Some great geology on show and lots of primroses on the slopes in the wood.
We don’t often venture into Leeds apart from our regular visits to Rodley Nature Reserve, but today we were helping Forest of Bradford with a hedge planting scheme at Wood Farm, Scarcroft. We were planting hawthorn, hazel, spindle and cherry (I think).
Once established they will provide a significant area of great wildlife habitat. The hedges on the farm that had been planted about 10 years ago were growing strongly and bursting with blossom, hopefully ours follow suit.
Nice to see buzzards overhead and the lapwings in the fields.
Beautiful sunshine, the weather couldn’t have been more different from last week. The blackbirds, robins and sparrows, making use of the hedgerow, made us feel that laying the hedge had been well worth the effort.
Today we cut the meadow and the grass around the garden. We completed edging around the apple trees to protect them in future, especially from strimming. We edged the remaining growing bed, fixed a section of fencing to try to discourage fly-tipping and planted a few trees in the gap to fill out the hedge. We weeded the garden area, ready for the next growing season.
We were certainly in and amongst the elements today. The wind was wild, the mud was muddy. But, the rain wasn’t as persistent as the forecast suggested.
We planted about 350 trees, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and field maple, to form part of the hedge that is stretching along the old track above Draughton and leading to Skipton. Ian assured us that Back Plantation, on the other side of the track, was full of birds – redpoll, siskin etc, but we will have to return when we are less busy to have a proper look. There was lots of frog spawn in the ditch next to our planting, but today we were sung to by the curlews and a lone sky lark. Signs of spring even if the weather was wintery.
Not many photos today – too wet and windy, and just too much to do!
dismantling the old bridgeWe did well today, perhaps it helps to be serenaded by frogs while you work.
An interesting task today. We hadn’t been on a dam building course, but did our best beaver impressions using the willow we had felled earlier in the year. The idea had been to build some dams, scoop out the water between so the bridge work did not interfere with the pond life, and could be done in relative dry. Well, the frogs were in full spawning mode, singing loudly a meter away. And did I really think we could make an effective dam?! What we have achieved is some structures that can be covered with plastic or pond liner when we come to do the work in May. And we had fun!
Meanwhile we sawed, pushed, swung a sledge hammer, unscrewed, levered various nails, staples and screws and generally successfully removed the old bridge. And yes, it was rotten and definitely needed replacing. Some of the stumps remain in place – they may be left as they are doing no harm, or we may try and dig them out, but it will take a lot of effort I think. The old bridge will become a habitat pile once all the nails and screws are removed.
The new bridge will be made of plastic wood, and we hope to install it in May.
We have just about lost count, but we think this was the 6th year that we have helped Cumbria Wildlife Trust with woodland management at Hutton Roof Crags. This year Wal had a selected an area of limestone pavement towards the top of the woodland (i.e. a fair walk through the mud to get there). Our job over the weekend was to clear and burn, opening up the pavement and connecting butterfly habitats (the butterflies don’t choose to fly under the canopy of the trees, so clear areas are needed to aid their movement.
There were quite a few meadow ant hills that will benefit from more sunlight. And we cleared round a juniper bush, uncovering it from some gorse. A big fire and lots of baked potatoes were essential parts of the weekend. We saw badger prints in the mud. Apart from a wet end to the day on Friday, the weather was kind – not even a hint of snow! I’m sure Wal has already got ideas for our next visit.
We returned to carry on with the hedge that we started last week. We made great progress and there is just a short section to complete. This will become a great green corridor once the trees take hold, adding to the habitats already on site. We watched a kestrel today and plenty of blackbirds and other small birds.
We were pleased to be joined by a few members of the University’s Islamic Society as part of volunteering week, and general their commitment to do good things.
Three hundred and thirty five trees planted today, plus their stakes and guards, to form a hedge along a section of path in Wkye recreation area (I don’t actually know the name of the place but it has had a varied history from dam, factories and landfill. Judging from the comments of passers-by it is a well like local greenspace).
We planted mostly hawthorn, but also blackthorn, field maple, hazel and guelder rose. The ground was quite a contrast to our last planting at Silsden – here it was stony and slow going in places, but we summonsed a great effort to get the stretch completed.