Find a Fence and Fix it

On Tuesday 5th December the BVC volunteers joined Stuart and I at Wharf Plantation, Wellesley Woodlands.  Stuart disappeared off into the main bit of woodland with some volunteers to widen the track as it’s tricky to fit a truck and trailer down here, and be able to turn it around.  This will enable us to do future work in the centre of the wood far easier than before.

The rest of the volunteers stayed with me just off the car park to remove an old bit of fence that Bobbie had uncovered earlier in the year on an previous task, and install a new one to match the one behind the car park itself.  This proved to be more of a challenge than we expected.  The old fence came out easily enough, with the wood heading for the Wood Gnomes…

… but then we discovered that the ground underneath was made up mostly of bricks and flint!  This made the digging very hard, slow work.

But this didn’t deter the volunteers, who kept at it, carefully making sure the posts were the correct distance apart for the rails and that the posts were upright and secure.

 

In the end we didn’t get chance to finish the fence in one go so Paul and Mike kindly volunteered to come back out again the next day to help Sam, Bobbie and Jenny to finish the fence.

 

Thank you to everyone who came out to help.  The whole area looks so much better now.

Ranger Laura

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International Volunteer Day Thanks

Happy International Volunteer Day everyone!

The rangers here at Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has volunteered with us. Your hard work and dedication has meant that we have been able to improve biodiversity, access and so much more throughout the Blackwater Valley.

Here are some highlights from the year:

Acting Ranger Jenny

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New path at Heather Hill (the hill with no heather)

On Thursday 30/11, Bobbie took the volunteers to Heather Hill within the Wellesley Woodland to create a new path due to the current one having a lot of steep areas to walk along. The new path takes you on a leisurely stroll through the woods and makes it much easier to walk along.

Mike and Paul jumped on to the power tools with great enthusiasm with Eric carefully raking behind them clearing away any trip hazards.

 

Myself and Ed were on tree duty, ensuring that any unsafe and leaning trees, plus the dangerous overhanging branches were removed with the trusty bow and pole saws!

Dharma was let loose on the strimmer, and he thoroughly cleared the entrance to the new path of brambles and nettles.

 

It was a very successful task in the icy cold weather, and hope that those that visit Heather Hill enjoy the new path taking them to areas never trod before.

I hope you enjoy reading my first blog and seeing all the hard work we do, no matter what the weather. Who not come and join us ?

Volunteer Matt

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National Tree Week

This week is National Tree Week where the UK celebrates it’s trees and starts the winter tree planting.  Trees are vitally important for our climate, air quality and numerous other species, from large mammals to the tiniest invertebrates.

At Wellesley Woodlands we have a large range of different trees, coniferous and deciduous.  In Rushmoor Bottom there are big stands of Beech which are over 100 years old. They are now being to reach the end of their life but even still they play host to fungi and bats, living within their stem, roots and branches.  I love how gnarled and twisted they can get. 


Do you have a favourite tree in the Valley? What species is it and where is it? 

Ranger Laura 

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Gerrys Copse Coppice

Yesterday Sam and myself headed over to Gerrys Copse with the BVCP volunteers. It was a nice crisp winters day. Gerry Copse has had some coppice work done in the past, however is in need of some rejuvenation.

The Hazel we cut will be used through out the valley. The stakes we cut will help towards the hedge laying at Moor Green lakes and the wreaths that were perfectly woven will be used for the Wreath making event at Wellesley.  Many thanks to all for the time and help yesterday. I look forward to returning next year to carry in the coppicing.

Ranger Stu

 

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Volunteer Leader Update – Plover Island

Last Sunday the Moor Green Lakes volunteers had our annual trip to Plover Island to clear vegetation and expose the shingle surface. In spite of the cold northerly wind we had a good turnout of 16 and when Jon donned his waders and setup the pontoon we could all get started.

before Duncan Plover Island 2017

Having cleared the island last year it was amazing how much had grown back.

 

 

As well as the normal vegetation clearing, Roger and Jon had plans to re-profile an area of the shore to provide shallows for wading birds and Tony, Sarah and Angus set to extending the jetty towards the shore.

ShallowsBefore Duncan Plover Island 2017

Roger planning the shoreline excavations and Tony (top right) starting the pontoon extension.

 

By lunchtime, the pontoon had been extended so we could start barrowing the piles of vegetation that had already been accumulated. It was so much easier now that you didn’t have the drop off the end of the pontoon into mud.

PontoonComplete Duncan Plover Island 2017

The pontoon team and their excellent extension.

 

 

Roger and his team also completed a nice shallow muddy edge providing a loafing/ feeding area for water birds.

Shallows Duncan Plover Island 2017

Roger putting the finishing touches to the re-profiled island edge.

 

The hard work continued after lunch and by the end of the day the island was looking really clear.

After Duncan Plover Island 2017

Work completed at the end of the day.

 

It was just down to Jon again to brave the water and return the pontoon to the island.

Jon Duncan Plover Island 2017

It was just down to Jon to brave the water and return the pontoon to the island.

 

Many thanks to all the volunteers that came out on Sunday. You have made an incredible difference. Our next volunteer work party will be on Sunday December 10th where we hope to clear Tern Island (weather permitting).

Volunteer Leaders: Duncan, Jane and Jon

 

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A Trainee’s Testimony

I am currently doing my work placement in BVCP, which formed part of my Hampshire Futures traineeship plus project from Hampshire County Council.

The staff of Blackwater Valley are very welcoming throughout my placement and they are supportive and patient teaching me skills and training needed as a trainee.

IMG_20171020_113700305.jpg

Sam and Dharma installing a culvert

The team prioritize that I am included in variety of tasks and use different tools and machinery safely and correctly to enhance my experience. The Rangers always explain me the tasks I have been working out, method to do it and benefits of it along with future plans and task.

Students and Pennyowrt

Jeremy, Matt and Dharma removing the invasive Floating Pennywort

 

So far I have sown wildflower seed, surfaced the path with aggregate, removed and cut down trees and unwanted plants and just today I have cleared rubbish and Floating Pennywort from Blackwater river, it’s amazing.

I am really enjoying my placement in BVCP due to the friendly staff and volunteers and different outdoor task. I am looking forward to work more on machinery.

Trainee Dharma Gurung

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