New Fire Wood Poster

Once a month our hard working, dedicated volunteers spend the day processing wood to be sold to the public as fire wood. The money we receive is then used to further conserve and manage our sites, working in partnership with the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust.

It’s been particularly cold these past few weeks so I thought it would be worth introducing you all to our new fire wood poster and pricing system. With our new system you are now able to buy wood by the wheelbarrow which is quite popular as well as by the bag or tonne sack.

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At the bottom we have added a table to better calculate the price although we can offer discounts for larger sales.

Fire wood can be collected on Friday afternoons between 1.30pm and 4.00pm but please contact before arrival to ensure a member of staff is in for you.

Keep warm everyone !

Assistant Ranger Bobbie

 

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Out with the old, in with the view

This winter the Blackwater Valley crew returned to Darby Green Pond to follow up on the success of last years tasks.

The Parrot’s Feather we began removing in 2017 has been significantly fought back. The volunteers doned the waterproof gloves and braved the cold to remove the remaining patches of the invasive non-native plant that was lurking around the pond edges.

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Duncan and Jeremy removing Floating Pennywort from the pond

Bobbie, Duncan and Jeremy went ever further in with their waders to remove a patch of Floating Pennywort that had appeared in the middle of the pond. Delving into the cold water they pulled up as much of the plant roots as possible to stop it coming back. Both the Parrots Feather and Floating Pennywort fragments were then piled in the woods over 5m from the pond. Bobbie, working closely with the Environment Agency, will be checking the pond and Blackwater river to ensure wherever this invasive non-native plant returns it is tackled as soon as possible.

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Jon, Sarah and Tony clearing the view

The volunteers also did a fantastic job of cutting back access paths and creating a better view of the pond by removing overhanging branches and cutting back fallen trees. Jon and Sarah can be seen above cutting back a tree that has fallen over the stream as it enters the pond. Tony, Melvyn and Andrew to the right are cutting back overhanging branches with the pole saw.

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The view now, after Bobbie and Jeremy had cleared the remaining trees

Jeremy, Bobbie and I finished up last week. Using our chainsaws we felled hazardous trees and chipped the leftover brash. Along with the extensive litterpick by Paul, that saw us taking home a trailer load of rubbish, the site is once again looking loved.

Thank you to everyone who joined me on site to help.

Ranger Jenny

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Jabbering Bats at Rowhill

If you’re interested in bats, then next Thursday 10th Jan there’s a talk about Bats in the New Forest hosted at the Rowhill Field Centre in Aldershot. Please click on the poster link below for more information.

Bats in the New Forest talk at Rowhill

Senior Ranger Stuart

 

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The three little Hog Homes at Ash Green Meadows.

Thursday 20th, it was our last task before Christmas and we had the fun of building three hedgehog houses at one of our newer sites Ash Green Meadows.

In separate teams we made our three little hog homes. One out of brick and two out of wood.

The tunnels are purposely a small size to prevent predator access. The ventilation pipe is sloped downwards to prevent moisture and leaf litter entering the home. With some newspaper and hay furniture the boxes were now cosy and inviting.

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Once assembled the box is covered in polythene and raised off the ground to prevent the wood rotting and finally covered with soil and leaf litter for insulation and natural aesthetic.

Most of our materials were recycled from rubble and wood we found on our other sites or scrap from our yard.

Many thanks to Paul, Mike, Eric, John, Janet, Vic and Sarah for their work. Hopefully we will have some appreciative tenants soon.

Assistant Ranger Bobbie

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Happy Christmas

Today Bobbie & I headed down to Rowhill for a spot of playing with chainsaws and a winch to clear windthrown ash trees, that were hung up over one of the paths. Thank you very much to James for lending a hand.

If anyone wants to work off any mince pies, then our next volunteer task is on Thursday at 10am at the Wellington Monument in Aldershot. We’ll be clearing invasive laurel with a warming fire.

Happy Christmas from all the team at Blackwater Valley and best wishes for a fun new year.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Wonderful Wellesley Wreaths

On the 19th December 26 people joined Bobbie and I in Rushmoor Bottom at the base of the Wellington Statue for our now annual Wreath making event. With volunteer made woven wreaths, holly, ivy, pine cones, hemlock, moss and other goodies from Wellesley Woodlands it was a feast of vibrant colour and everyone got stuck straight in. No experience needed!

The weather held, making the day sunny, if a bit cold, and the tables were filled with chatter and laughter. It was great to see those with experience helping out complete novices so in the end every wreath was different and individual. Some people also brought some little bits and pieces to add to their wreaths.


Thank you to the West End Centre for lending us the tables and to everyone who came out and braved the cold.

Did you make a wreath? Why not share your pictures

Ranger Laura

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Claycart Steps and Revetment

Last Thursday, on a very frosty morning, Stu and myself were at Claycart with Mike and Paul to install some steps. This is part of ongoing work at Wellesley to improve the safety of the site as more people use it and banks such as this become steeper.

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Once we got a precise template it was time to dig through some tarmac and solid soil to channel in the sideboards and steps, and screw it all together which soon warmed us up.

With plenty of cake and mince pies to keep us going it was then time to fill our steps with aggregate.

 

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and here is the finished result, with a smiling Ranger Stu in his new hat.

With time and aggregate to spare we improved the pedestrian gate entrance onto site by building a revetment using the concrete abutment from the bridge to further secure it.

 

 

 

 

Marvellous work everyone, If you would like to see our work for yourselves, you will find it here.

Assistant Ranger Bobbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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