On Tuesday the volunteers, Jenny and I descended on Kennels Lane Meadow in Farnborough. We’ve been managing this SSSI (site of scientific interest), which lies on the NW margin of Southwood Woodland for 5 years. Since the SSSI designation is for the meadow species, our main project has been to clear the invasive scrub, and in more recent years to hay-cut the newly restored grassland.
Volunteers hay cutting, can you spot the mug of tea?
I struggled to explain to the newer volunteers just how much invasive scrub we’ve cleared, so I dug out some old photos from our dusty archives for comparison.
Kennels Lane Meadow improvement since 2011 – view 1
Kennels Lane Meadow improvement since 2011 – view 2
Eagle-eyed Paul spotted this full dining set that I may have accidently left after our recent hay-cutting task at Royal Oak Valley. Before anyone asks, yes it did come complete with an Alice in Wonderland inspired fat cat sitting on top….
Anyone for tea?
Today we were busy maintaining machines, with Tony and Jenny working on the motorscythe. The former nose cutter bar on the motorscythe was so old we were unable to get replacement parts, so Jenny ordered then fitted the modern equivalent ready for aquatic hay-cutting tomorrow. Meanwhile John fitted a new blade on the one we’ve been using that was kindly on loan from the Rangers at Crab Wood near Winchester, so it can be returned all shiny.
Also Laura finished mowing the Rowhill Meadow so we cleaned the flail and tractor ready for returning off hire tomorrow – basically lots of comic poking off mud and grass.
Tony and Jenny fixing the motorscythe
This year the Trust has been working on improving the habitats for Stag Beetles across the valley and we’ve been doing well. Here is a map of all of the stumperies we’ve installed this year, and a few that predate that.
Map of BVCT Stumperies
Have you built any stumperies? Could you help us fill in the gaps between ours? Let us know if you’ve seen a Stag Beetle this year.
Today I went along with Assistant Ranger John to assist the Snaky Lane community Wildlife Group with the resurfacing of the path network between their meadows. They had arranged for 20 tons to be delivered in the morning with us starting at 9am.
I took the Blackwater Valley Tractor to help with the moving of the material around the site, this saved some back breaking work using the wheel barrows and got a lot moved very quickly.
The volunteers started by placing a membrane down to help with the grass and weed control for the path, then a layer of scalping onto it and raked to the desired thickness. Rob one of the volunteers had hired a compact roller to help with the final finish of the path. The volunteers managed to get the 20 tons down and compact rolled in 3 hours which was fast going, I think the results are very impressive.
In the second picture above you can see the difference between the old pathway to the new. We look to go back with another 20 tons to finish the rest of the path on Saturday 1st October. I would like to thank all the Snaky Lane volunteers who came out today to help and Assistant Ranger John. I look forward to seeing you all on the 1st October for the final instalment.
Hole being dug for logs
logs going into place
final logs going in
Yesterday I was joined by 3 of the BVCP volunteers to help me with the installation of a new Oak bench and to install two new Stag Beetle Stumperies. Visitors may remember the metal bench at the Coleford Bridge end of Gerrys next to the information board by the pond. Looking at the other benches on site this looked a little out of place, we had a one last Oak bench at our depot thanks to the Trust and their fundraising efforts, and were able to use this to replace the metal bench. I feel this is a great addition and in keeping with the look of all of the benches on site.
John and Mike filling the legs
John and Mike tampering the soil
In addition to the new bench we also managed to get two Stag Beetle Stumperies installed, these are being installed along the Blackwater Valley as part of a project for the Trustees
I think the bench and the Stumperies both turned out very good and hope all visitors to the site can use both the bench and the Stumpery. Many thanks to Assistant ranger John and the BVCP volunteers for their hard work.