Last Wednesday 12 volunteers from The Logic Group lent their hands to a spot of hay cutting.
The day began with beautiful sunshine. Kit was unloaded from truck and trailer and everyone pitched in to carry it all over the pedestrian bridge to base camp. I then gave a briefing of the day and a safety talk.
Whilst the sun was still shining we cracked on with the hard work. Tony, one of our fantastic regular volunteers, began mowing a dense patch of Canadian Goldenrod. The plant is an invasive non native species that is slowly taking over the meadow in several patches. We focused on the cutting the northern patch as this is where Pyramid Orchids have been found. These orchids are rare, but thanks to our traditional management techniques and the volunteers that make it possible we have them and they are spreading! Cutting back the Canadian Goldenrod will allow more areas of expansion for the beautiful native orchids. Whilst Tony was cutting volunteers cut back overhanging vegetation from the path and pulled up oak and hawthorn saplings to stop them invading the meadow.
Once Tony had finished mowing the Logic volunteers took to the task of raking the cut vegetation into a pile. The cut vegetation has to be moved to take the nutrients that is stored in the cut stems out of the soil and stop the seeds of the invasive plant from setting. Native wildflowers have adapted to tolerate very nutrient poor soil which is one of the reasons they are so scarce. Once in a pile they hay forked the cuttings onto a tarp and dragged the vegetation into a place out of view to compost down.
After lunch the heavens opened but the volunteers persevered through the heavy rain and finished off another hay cut section of the meadow and the rest of the path cutting.
The team demonstrated great team working skills and a healthy competitiveness in their work. We hope to have them back again soon
Assistant Ranger Jenny