Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Christmas Haircut

Wednesday 19th December 2012

Overcast and 5o C today.

Today a group of 9 conservation volunteers headed off to the bank up from the Octagon Pond to the Banqueting Hall. The task was to rake up the grass cuttings left after the area was strimmed yesterday

Rakers at work

The group quickly set to work raking up the loose grass into piles which were then collected and take off into the woods by the sides of the bank to create larger grass piles as part of the grass snake project. These grass heaps provide ideal habitats for grass snakes (well that's the theory) as well as insects and small mammals. Our conservation work often seems to involve moving "stuff" from one place to another!


One of the grass piles

Our task completed we headed off to the stable block for lunch and an early finish to the last working day before our Christmas break.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Success at last

Wednesday 12th December 2012

Another frosty but dry day.

Whilst most of the group headed off to do some coppicing around the Octagon Pond and Lily Pond, three brave volunteers headed off to the turning circle in West Woods. The task there was to try & burn a large pile of tree prunnings and to generally tidy up. We were determined not to fail this time.
Preparing branches for the fire.
The fire

With a bit of patience and some dry kindling we managed to get a small fire established. Little by little we were able to burn the tree prunnings (laurel clippings excepted).

A good going fire

Raking out the embers
At least we had managed to keep warm this week.

Phil Coyne

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Good Day for a Bonfire (or not)

Wednesday 5th December 2012

A frosty 0o C today as the conservation team set off to the area between the Column to Liberty and Brickfields. The task was to finish off opening up the vista onto Brickfields and to burn the rhododendron prunnings together with several small silver birch trees which were to be removed.
Work begins
The vista begins to open up

We quickly set about cutting back the rhododendrons and removing the small silver birch trees next to the fence. Lighting a fire was much more of a problem, but eventually a small fire was burning.
This won't keep us very warm!

Then disaster struck – it started snowing and despite all our efforts we were unable to keep the fire burning as all the wood was too damp.
Looking back towards the Column to Liberty
The new vista looking to Brickfields in the snow
Part of the task was complete, namely opening up the vista, so we cut our losses and headed back for an early lunch break. After lunch there were continuing snow flurries, so we decided to call it a day and left the prunnings to be burnt at a later date. One of the highlights of our day today was spotting three roe deer in the woods.
Phil Coyne