As we prepare for the arrival of the judges from Guildford in Bloom, nine of the volunteers from Tongham Wood Improvement Group (TWIG) met up for the July task.
Great thanks goes to the BVCP, who on Friday took their Kubota down to Tongham Wood and cut back the main path and mowed the picnic/play area. Due to this, our first job was to clear the area of all the cut hay. In the beating sun, most of us set about raking it into decent sized piles before clearing it away. Removing the cuttings encourages the growth of a variety of grasses and wildflowers.
The rest of the group cleared away any overhanging brambles and nettles from all other paths and tidied around the steps, benches and entrances.
Helped by the enthusiastic young relatives of some of the volunteers, we finished off with a litter pick.
It was lovely to get great feedback from some dog walkers that use the area a lot. Praising us for the work we do, to make the woods such a great place to walk around.
Many thanks to all the volunteers that came out today. Your help, as always, is very much appreciated.
TWIG meet at 10am on the 3rd Sunday of every month at the entrance off Garbetts Way. We would love to welcome more people to come and see what we do, and to get involved with maintaining and improving this local woodland area. Tools are provided and we’ll always supply the tea and biscuits!
On Friday Stu and I headed up to Rushmoor Bottom to mow the field by the Wellington Statue, which was a good opportunity to use both our tractors.
Mowing by the Wellington Monument
Senior Ranger Stuart
On Thursday 12 July I was joined by Paul, Mike, Eric, Matt and Ed at Chalk Farm, Wellesley Woodlands to cut back the paths and remove brambles from around the saplings planted roughly 4 years ago.
Matt, Ed and Mike took strimmers and hedge cutters out to head round the long circular path. They were cutting around posts and fences, as well as siding up the edges so that when Stu joined us in the afternoon with the Kubota he had a clear edge to now down.
Meanwhile Paul and Eric tackled the saplings running along the northern edge of the site, nearly disappearing it had gotten so overgrown.
Whilst working I was greeted by something a little different. (Arachnophobes look away now!)
This is a Nursery Web Spider – Pisaura mirabilis. Under her body you can see her carefully wrapped eggs which she is carrying in her jaws. She will be looking for a safe place to put them so she can guard then until all the spiderlings hatch. I carefully put her to one side to carry on her way.
Thank you to everyone who joined me in the heat. Whilst it’s not as hot as last week, it’s still enough that physical work is very draining and we accomplished everything I had hoped we could.
Yesterday Blackwater Valley started its hay cutting. First on the list was Rushmoor Bottom Stream Meadow. We use our shared tractor to do most of our hay cuts, we also hire in the Amazone cut and collect. The smaller sites are cut using our BCS mower with Allen Scythe attachment.
Massey Tractor Front View
Amazone Cut and Collect
As you can see above the Tractor and cut and collect make light work of the meadow with great results, it makes it even nicer that we have been lucky to have nice dry weather, I managed to get this cut in the morning so proceeded to Thorn hill.
Thorn hill old tennis court
small meadow at thorn hill
For the next 3 weeks Blackwater Valley Rangers will be out making good use of the tractor to continue the hay cuts.
Now we’re into the warm summer, it’s useful to know how to keep safe from ticks and reduce the possibility of catching Lyme Disease when you’re exploring the countryside. Only a small number of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk areas include grassy and wooded areas in southern England and the Scottish Highlands.
- Take extra care in the summer when ticks are most active, in areas with lots of deer or livestock and long grass or bracken.
- Reduce the risk of a bite by covering up, tucking your trousers into your socks in true Monty Python style or using insect repellent.
- Check yourself for ticks especially on your legs & groin. Extract the tick when you find it. To remove a tick use fine-toothed tweezers flat to the skin to gently grip as close to the skin as possible, and pull away steadily removing the body and head.
- Specialist tick removers can be bought at vets. Alternatively placing a blob of liquid soap entirely covering the tick, should make it fall off.
- Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water, then dispose of the tick.
- Check your pets after their walk so they don’t bring in ticks
- Most bites from an infected tick develop into a distinctive raised pink or red rash usually after 3 to 30 days, and up to 3 months. The skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised. The ‘bull’s eye’ pattern below can appear as more uniform in colour. It’s usually around 15cm across, but can vary in size.
Lyme Disease Rash (NHS)
- Around a third of people with early stage Lyme Disease don’t develop a rash.
- Further symptoms may develop 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected ticks, which can include flu-like symptoms such as: fatigue (tiredness), muscle and joint pain, headaches, fever or neck stiffness. If untreated some people can develop more serious problems affecting the joints, nerves and heart.
Treatment – See your GP, if following a tick bite, you find the a circular red rash from an infected bite or develop the other symptoms of the disease.
For more information please visit NHS Direct Website.
Senior Ranger Stuart
BT have fixed our mainline so it’s back in action again!
It’s now the end of a long day hosting the AAA, – a large Wellesley Woodland event for pupils from eight local schools. We’ll post later with more news of the event, but in the meantime I wanted to say a huge thank you to all the team for going above and beyond to make it such a success, with most of us working until 7:30pm to clear up.
All the Blackwater Valley Ranger Team were out today with 7 staff and our Trainee Adam. It’s great to see everyone band together to help. A special thank you is much deserved by Laura for doing an excellent job organising the event & managing the rangers, teachers and volunteers.
Senior Ranger Stuart