Plucking the Parrot’s Feather

On Wednesday 23rd October, Ranger Jenny, Assistant Ranger Bobbie, Student Liam and I  joined 5 volunteers from the Frimley Fuel Allotments Charity to remove Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) from one of the ponds.

Parrot’s Feather is an invasive species that originates from Southern and Central America. The stems and leaves of the plant can grow up to a foot above the water surface. It can cover large areas, smothering and blocking out light for any of our native species to flourish. The Blackwater Valley team are very used to this species, having previously removed it from Darby Green Pond.

Most of the group spent the day in the water collecting the plant, whilst the rest of us dragged it away from the pond. During this time, Bobbie caught a small fish and one of the volunteers found a palmate newt. I would like to say that I assisted the removal of the Parrot’s Feather in the pond, but unfortunately after a few minutes in the water, it was soon realised that my waders were leaking!

Removing the Parrot's Feather

All gone ?

Assistant Ranger Matt

 

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Rivers Week in Wellesley Woodlands

On Tuesday 24th September the BVC Volunteers, Bernard from the BVC Trust, Rangers Sara and Andy from Basingstoke Canal Authority joined Stu and I for a rather wet day in our smallest ‘flash‘ in Wellesley Woodlands. This was part of the BVCT’s Rivers Festival Week as well as National River Week where we undertake work within the Loddon Catchment area with the Loddon Catchment Partnership.

The volunteers continued the work that had already been started by the Thursday group by continuing to clear the flash of the encroaching scrub, which mainly consists of willow and birch. They were pleased to hear they could have a fire (a rarity on Wellesley!), but less so when they discovered how wet underfoot it was in places. Nick bravely found the wettest, deepest section before anyone else could stumble into it and the group worked around the area with temporary bridges and chain gangs.

Whilst the volunteers worked at one end with hand tools, Sara and Andy worked at the other, felling trees with chainsaws. Our work helps benefit the SSSI canal as we were removing shade from the southern bank which helps let more light in for plants and invertebrates. In return we helped empty their work boat of previously cleared hazard trees from the Canal. Bernard worked tirelessly between the groups to create a Grass Snake egg laying mound as we have seen the snakes use the flash this year, as well as swimming in the canal.

We took shelter for tea and lunch breaks, though we did seem to time it for the dry breaks in the weather!

The volunteers did a fantastic job, despite the weather and deceptive conditions underfoot, making real progress in opening up the flash. Luckily for us, Rivers Week was before it got too wet. If you head down to Claycart now, our work area is underwater and would require waders to walk around in! Any volunteers?

Many thanks to Shaun, who braved the weather (and mud) to take professional photographs of the event. In return I like to think we offered smiles and a challenging photo shoot in return!

Ranger Laura

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New Volunteer Programme November 2019

Please click the link below to discover Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership’s programme of volunteer tasks this November 2019.

BVCP Volunteer Task programme Nov 2019

What tasks are being run near you?

This month features a SSSI, a trip to an island and wildflower planting!

BVCV Tices laying new path

Volunteers laying the new path at Tices Meadow, as seen through the eyes of the tractor

General task information:

  • We provide tea, coffee, biscuits, tools and training
  • Please bring lunch (if you want to stay for the afternoon) and clothing suitable for the weather
  • If you are under 16 please bring an adult who can stay with you for the task
  • Tasks start at 10:15am at the car park for a chat about the task with the leading Ranger
  • Tea break is at 11:30am, lunch at 1pm and finishing at approximately 3pm
  • You don’t have to stay all day, but we ask that you make it for the start (so you don’t miss the safety talk)

If you’ve never volunteered before and would like to join or simply know more please contact us via;

  • Office number: 01252 331353
  • Email: blackwater.valley@hants.gov.uk

Ranger Jenny

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Hollybush Bridge is open

After work on the bridge last week to repair the deck and handrails, I’m pleased to say that this important link in the Blackwater Valley Path is open again.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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Phones back on

Our office phone is back working again (01252 331353)

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Discovering the mythical lost road of Bourley

Today Laura & I have been enjoying a soggy day over at Rushmoor Bottom unearthing the hidden road edges that had become buried in soil. Laura used the Kubota tractor to scrape, whilst I got comically covered in mud using the blower. We’ve revealed the double yellow lines which should dissuade parking and make the hill safer.

Before work

Laura modelling the latest fashion

Sparkly wider road

Senior Ranger Stuart

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New temporary phone contact for the office

Later today we expect our electric to be turned off and our landline to go down for the day. If you need to get in touch and our usual office number 01252 331353 doesn’t work, then please contact us on 07718 146999.

Senior Ranger Stuart

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