Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Wednesday 29th February 2012

Today the Landscape Conservation Volunteers set off to spend the day working at Westwood in Ebchester, a National Trust wood managed by the Gibside Estate. Westwood  is about 5 miles south west of Gibside on the bank of the River Derwent.

The River Derwent at Ebchester

Here at Westwood the bank had become overgrown with gorse and our task was to remove the gorse to expose the natural terracing of the bank.

The Team Assemble

Just before commencing our task we were visited by two nosey red kites gliding overhead. A female goosander swam off downstream.


We made steady progress despite the brambles mixed in with the gorse and soon had a large enough pile of prunnings to light a fire (carefully  supervised, of course). As we cleared the gorse we collected a lot of bottles and cans thrown away by careless visitors. These were taken away to be recycled.


Whilst eating lunch, sat by the riverside, we watched a dipper collecting nesting material and bobbing and walking along the edge of the weir.

Lunch by the river.

The finished job.

With the job completed and whilst some of the work party put out the bonfire, Stev and I set off for a walk through the woods. We sought out some Dutch Rush that Phil Younger had told us about. This is a flowerless plant of shady steam sides. It was once imported from Holland to use as pot scourers.

Dutch Rush (Equisetum hyemale)

Dog’s mercury was beginning to flower and we found one clump of lesser celandine near a stream which was just about to flower. There were several clumps of snowdrops near the river, blue tits and great tits were singing in the trees, the weather was mild and the sun shone. Another perfect Wednesday!

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)

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