End of the dayThe last of our pond and meadow sessions for this year. We do not undertake regular maintenance at Boar’s Well anymore, and it was a lovely autumn day to return.
The pond was much clearer than in most years. Perhaps this was because we did a thorough job last year, or perhaps the shade from the overhanging branches is limiting the reed growth. We cleared the reeds to form a passage through the water and also cut back some of the overhanging branches.
The meadow is also suffering from tree growth. The two willows on the edge of the meadow are now of substantial size, casting shade on the meadow. We cut back some of the lower branches but this will only have limited effect. Regardless, we cut back the entire meadow area with scythes and raked off the arisings. Terry made a good job of reclaiming the edges from encroaching bramble.
The mower was used to cut some of the main path, and some monster brambles, that were on the way to forming a thicket across the path, were cut.
It was nice to talk to a couple of regular walkers who told us that Sparrowhawks have nested at Boar’s Well this year and they also see Tawny owls and Woodpeckers as well as Long-tailed Tits and other small birds. And just for the record – not a midge in sight!
Although we no longer have a management role at Boar’s Well we wanted to make sure the pond and meadow were still managed for the benefit of the wildlife. We made a good job of the pond, ensuring it retains some open water. The meadow cut was less successful, in fact we didn’t do it, purely because I had a mechanical breakdown (!).
We had a few issues with padlocks, keys and petrol today, but on a positive note this was another lovely sunny day with lots of late Speckled Wood, Comma and Large White butterflies as well as flocks of Long-tailed Tits.
We are no longer the managers of the Reserve but decided to undertake a little bit of maintenance of the pathways, and at the same time try and 'tidy up' the trees that had been felled under the electricity pylons. We will use some of the timber for charcoal making and some benches.
We took the opportunity to check on the meadow. We found some Yellow Rattle seedlings growing strongly, but areas of the meadow are being taken over by hogweed. Although we might not be here as regularly this summer we do hope to continue to manage some of the habitats to ensure they continue to provide valuable urban wildlife spaces.
It was a bit chilly today but there were some signs of spring; Willow Warblers, Jays and Chiffchaffs and a small veined white on Lady's Smock.
When we got back to Culture Fusion we planted some veg seeds. Rocket, beetroot and lettuce were planted in the beds, and courgettes, beans, peas and butternut squashes were sown in pots and protected by the cold frame.
A team of eight had several tasks to carry out today. We were clearing pathways of leaves and mud, collecting timber to make benches for the Bowling Community Orchard, and a general tidy. We thinned out some willow and bramble and trees from the edge of the pathways.
We were accompanied by several inquisitive robins which made members of the team smile. A local lad passing by said that he had seen lots of foxes in the vicinity.
Boar's Well, off Kings Road near junction with Canal Road
A small group of six volunteers undertook the autumn tasks of clearing the pond and clearing the pathways.
Once a year we pull The Reed Sweetgrass from the pond in order to maintain open water. Today we also cleared brambles and balsam from the water inflow – the Boar’s Well.
The path team worked at Coleman Street end uncovering old steps that had been neglected for years and were covered in bramble. This task was not completed and we plan to carry on with this in the winter.
We sowed some yellow rattle seed on the meadow, removing some of the dominant hogweed at the same time. There were plenty of long tailed tits to keep us company.There were plenty of long tailed tits to keep us company.
Boar's Well, off Kings Road near junction with Canal Road
Today we continued our summer management of Boar’s Well with the usual routine of clearing and mowing the paths and meadow areas. We also took on the challenge of tacking the Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. So we split into 2 groups and began to remove the knotweed, which had taken steps to grow in the most difficult of places.
As we cut the knotweed back, making sure to leave in one location the group move town the gate, cutting back more and more of the invasive plant. Along the way we also pull balsam from the ground, and collected the litter. Soon we managed to cut back the knotweed we could see and remove the balsam in the area we found it in, and headed back to Culture Fusion.
Today was an unusual task for us here at BEES as it was our last task with Nick, but our task at Boar’s Well was a fitting way to send him on his way to new pastures. Our main objective was to clear the paths of nettles brambles and other vegetation and make them accessible for the public, so we split into small group and began to clear the paths.
Some used loppers and shears to remove overhanging branches and larger bushes, whilst others used the sickles to sweep away the grass and nettles. Like many of our sites we also did some litterpicking and removed Himalayan Balsam, and mowed a strip alongside the path.
Once the task was finished we returned to Culture Fusion and had our final farewells with Nick for his years of dedication to BEES, and headed to the Lord Clyde in true BEES fashion.
Today we carried out several winter tasks on the site. We continued with work that we started last year to get more light along the path and for the ground flora. Several Hazel trees were coppiced. They will regrow with even more stems in the future. We will use the timber for making charcoal later in the year. Interestingly the tree was in flower which is to be expected mid-February.
Another group carried out some hedge laying nearby. Using billhooks we laid a good section of the hedge, some of the stems were relatively small so we were able to complete what looked a good section and there is more to be completed another time. It will provide a good habitat as it regrows because there will be more age structure to the woodland.
Whilst this was going on, some other people concentrated on clearing up the litter and fly tipping. Unfortunately there was more than expected today and the Clean Team were on hand to take it away from the site. Although rain threatened a few times, it never came to anything and we only saw one person walking their dog.
There were several tasks undertaken on this visit. The entrance meadow was cut and raked off, this will enable to flowering plants to grow again next year. At last count there were over 20 different wildflower species, so this is worth maintaining as it is in such a prominent position. On the site the pond was cleared of the plants that are least beneficial and this will give the others a chance to grow next year which provide nectar sources for visiting insects. Further cutting and raking was carried out on the meadow area. We also cut the Japanese knotweed and some remaining Himalayan balsam.
Today we worked with 8 volunteers.
Click here to see other photos of the day and site.