After postponing the Tern Island task from December due to bad weather, everyone was delighted when we woke up to a sunny but cold and breezy morning with 22 eager volunteers. Stuart turned up with boat and motor and was soon ferrying people across to the island while work started on clearing in front of Colebrook Hide.
Tern Island at the start of the day
By teatime a good routine had been established clearing the weeds and loading the “trailer boat” for Stuart to take back to the shore and unload. After a quick break, work resumed and by lunchtime the bulk of the unfenced island was clear of weeds.
Stuart ferrying volunteers and tools
After lunch the team concentrated on the fenced area. With lots of help from our many new volunteers this area was soon cleared and we were ready to start packing up.
Leaving volunteer leader Jon on the beautifully cleared Tern Island
Back on shore the other team had made a huge difference in front of the hide and were now off removing Willow from further down the shoreline.
View of the beautifully cleared shore in front of the hide
Many thanks to Stuart, Jon and all our volunteers for a job well done and we look forward to seeing you again on our last Sunday task on March 11th.
Volunteer Leaders: Duncan, Jon and Jane.
On Tuesday I was not so lucky with the weather, the only way to explain it was the day was very wet. That being said I was surprisingly joined by 7 of the Tuesday BVCV at Gerrys.
The main task of the day was to clear the north entrance sight line and pathway. In the summer this area is very overgrown and looking onto the road and pulling out of site is very dangerous. The Volunteers took this on board and have done a great job of opening this up. whilst on site the volunteer group also cut back around the pond and bench which we installed. I would like to thank all of the volunteers and Sam who came out on what was challenging conditions.
We have had to cancel the task this Sunday at Chalk Farm, as our tame volunteers have been very efficient and completed the work ahead of time. Apologies for the change, but we still have another task running that day, if you would like to come out and play.
Sam will be leading the task planting hedging whips at Tongham Wood, to follow on from the semi-mature tree planting we carried out earlier. For the Tongham Wood task please meet at 10:30am at the Garbett’s Way Entrance.
Senior Ranger Stuart
Our continued tasks to remove Floating Pennywort from the Blackwater River, have been recognised by the Environment Agency, who passed on their thanks for all our hard work. We’ve also mapped the distribution to allow us and our partners to better target and control this invasive non-native species.
If you would like to help reduce the spread of Floating Pennywort and similar species, then check out the Plant Wise campaign to raise awareness of the risks from introducing some plants into the countryside.
Also Stop the Spread gives useful ideas for biosecurity to reduce accidental spreading of damaging species between different lakes and rivers. For example any equipment we used for the Floating Pennywort (like buckets, waders and our boat) were very carefully decontaminated after each task.
Thank you to Jenny and the volunteers for all their hard work.
Senior Ranger Stuart
Unfortunately we will have to cancel the Wellesley Walk due today. We’re sorry to those who were looking forward to this but I can announce that there will be a walk held on the 21st March to celebrate the International Day of Forests.
More information to follow soon, so keep an eye out!
This winter the Blackwater Valley Rangers and volunteers have had the pleasure of joining the Hart District Council (HDC) Rangers on a few of their tasks.
Back in September Stuart, Sam and our volunteers joined Nick and Callum at Royal Oak Valley hay-cutting and cutting back willow.
Since then Sam and I have been able to help twice at Hazeley Heath where our volunteers got the chance to mingle in between digging out birch saplings. Sam and Bobbie also joined in the fun at the big RSPB and Hart volunteer get together also held there. Hazeley Heath is a beautiful site with its rolling hills of heather which made for a lovely view at lunch time. The volunteers and I were happy to help maintain the area as heathland.
Melvyn using the mattock to dig out tough Birch roots
Stu, Laura, Sam and I of the BVCP Rangers also go the chance to help at Elvetham Heath Local Nature Reserve. It was great to have a big group of us all out in one go. We all worked together with the guys from Hart, chainsawing and chipping to open up a ride and stream for dragonflies.
It has been great fun working with the Hart Rangers and fantastic to see some new sites. Thank you to all the Rangers and especially the volunteers who helped out on these tasks. Also thank you very much to Nick for his help coordinating us all. I look forward to us all working together again in the future.
Countryside Ranger (Acting) Jenny
Never to pass up a chance to play with the digger and tractor, we’ve been working down at Chalk Farm in Wellesley Woodland to fill in gaps around the car park with three new trees. After confirming the location of the buried utilities, Stu set to work delicately digging the holes. I ferried the trees in the small tractor, whilst Sam and the volunteers planted the trees. Our efforts have made a real difference to greening up the car park.
Excavating holes in Chalk Farm
Sam, Jeremy and Dharma planting a tree
Senior Ranger Stuart