The Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust commissioned the BVCP to help create an invertebrate bank on a South facing slope at Grant’s Moor South on Friday 6th February. While the staff, Stuart and Ben, tackled the larger scrub with chainsaw and hedge trimmer, the volunteers; Trustees Sue, Colin, John and I, attacked the smaller stuff with loppers and bow saws.
After making space and having the important refreshment break, Sue and Ben built the fire and very soon we had a blaze which we continued to feed all day. The cutting, chopping, raking and carrying, along with the blazing fire, kept us warm in spite of the cold wind. While working we had a fly by from a buzzard and a little later a red kite checked out our work, the only other wildlife of note was a bank vole which Stuart bravely chased from our working area.
After a break for lunch we managed to reduce more laurel to ash (bonfire ash that is) and the amount of cutting was only constrained by the need to leave a safe fire site before we left. Stuart took a break from his heavy work to get in touch with his artistic side and painted many stumps with herbicide so they were looking attractive in their azure blue hue.
Now we have a cleared area of sunny south-facing bare soil which should prove attractive to many species of insects and other invertebrates and with a little more work we can extend the area with the removal of the remaining laurel. Many thanks to all that helped create this new habitat.