Rodley Nature Reserve
An icy start to today, and we had to be careful walking across the bridge as we unloaded from the minibus to avoid exceeding the reduced weight limit. Our task today was to support the regular Rodley volunteers with the willow coppicing. The coupe we were working in had a fair amount of bramble throughout the area. Some had already been cleared which made it much easier to coppice, abut other areas needed to be cleared before we could fell.
We had a good day, with the opportunity to have a brief look for birds on the water. We found an old wren’s nest in one of the trees and quite a bit of willow bracket fungus.
We always enjoy our visits to Rodley Nature Reserve and this was no exception.
We were coppicing a coupe near the entrance to the reserve; all the product was going to be used to help restore the dead hedging that had been washed away in last winter’s floods. The age of the trees varied from 2 to 6 or 7 years so we needed the saws as well as the loppers.
By the time we finished we had had created five or six large piles ready for the Rodley team to use around the reserve.
Having warned everyone to wrap up, especially having seen the frost at the beginning of the week, we commented more than once how mild it was. We even took our coats off!
One of our favourite days of the year is our trip to Rodley to help with the willow coppicing. We worked on an area of larger trees and brought some of the wood away with us with the hope of using it for charcoal next year. As ever we had a good day and were impressed by the achievements of the Rodley volunteers.
We enjoyed watching the harvest mice in the visitor centre, and most of us took advantage of the shop to start (?) our Christmas shopping!
We visit Rodley every year to undertake some coppicing. Unusually for us we were not planning to harvest anything for ourselves (no plans for willow structures, and unclear what the access to St Ives for charcoal making will be in the near future) but were more than happy to be set the task of coppicing this year’s coupe. We cleared a good area. Some of the larger stuff was passed over the fence were Rodley volunteers were repairing dead-hedging, and some will be used for a project in the Manager’s Garden.
The minibus was full, and we had a new volunteer whom we believe to be our youngest to date. Welcome Arthur aged 4. Some volunteers sensibly took advantage to sit in the hides and watch the birds.
Today we returned to Rodley Nature Reserve for our annual contribution to the willow coppicing regime which is an essential part of the reserve’s management. The area has been divided into about 10 coupes and the aim is to coppice one coupe each year.
We cleared a decent patch in coupe 3, harvesting some for charcoal making even though it was relatively small. This was a job for saws, loppers and billhooks, keeping us warm (even though it wasn’t quite as cold as we normally experience). We also had a satellite group cutting some younger stuff for a willow dome in Allerton.
Always a popular place to visit, we worked with 20 volunteers today.
We made a visit to Rodley Nature Reserve today. The work was to continue with the willow coppicing programme at the site. We concentrated on an area of willow that had been previously coppiced so each stool had several stems. The work involved cutting the trees low to the stump and this will produce further regrowth in the future. We harvested some of the willow and this will be used to create living willow structures at several schools, including Blakehill next week. We worked in very cold but bright conditions today and some of the group were treated to a tour of the reserve where a Kingfisher was spotted.
Today we worked with 21 volunteers, which is another great turnout.
Click here to see other photos of the site.
Today we made a return visit to Rodley Natrure Reserve. At the start of the day we were delighted so see so many people and had to take two minibuses to site. After an initial introduction to the site and the work, we split into two groups. One was able to visit the Reserve and use the bird hides while the other started to clear the wooded area in preparation for the coppicing. After a demonstration of felling techniques the coppicing could begin and we soon got into a good team routine with some clearing, some felling and others removing the timber. At the end of the day we were able to bring back a good amount of timber ready to go to St Ives to make more charcoal next season. And we were ablt to complete the cycle by taking several bags of charcoal to Rodley for them to distribute, about a year after taking taking the raw timber away.
Today there were 19 volunteers.
Click here to see more photos of the day.
Nine volunteers were involved in the coppicing activity at Rodley Nature Reserve. We harvested some young stuff (1 and 2 year old) to use for craft activities and some larger trees that we will use to make charcoal next summer. This is the fourth year that we have helped coppice the willow at the Reserve. As well as providing us with raw materials for crafts, the coppicing is an essential part of the management of the reserve to ensure bird flight paths to the lakes are not impedded. We took a moment to look in the bird hide - there were plenty of black headed gulls, swans, coots, tufted ducks. But as it was a bitterly cold day so we retreated to the comfort of the visitors centre for lunch so did not spend long enough watching to spot other regular visitors such as the kingfisher.
Trouble with minibus today. Flat battery and breakdown assistance took too long to get to us.
Late morning a couple of cars despatched to Rodley and people were able to help out for an hour two, but not a full day’s contribution this year which was a shame. Still, people managed to do their Christmas shopping at the visitor’s centre!