RBS Volunteers Help Improve Our Local Environment

Last Thursday 9 wonderful volunteers from RBS came out to help our dedicated Wellesley Woodland volunteer team, Laura and I at Puckridge. Puckridge is one of our SANG sites (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) that makes up Wellesley Woodland.


2 holes dug and it’s not even tea break yet


Keen to start the main job of the day the RBS volunteers got stuck into digging holes for the bench. Once these were completed the holes were measured and a fake bench used to get a good idea of the level. We then moved the very heavy bench into the holes, made sure it was level, used postcrete to secure and then filled in the holes. The bench will provide a valuable resting area on site with views over the canal and the neighbouring site Laffan’s Road Copse.


Laurel clearance

Whilst the bench was being completed other tasks including litterpicking and clearing the invasive non native laurel from the woodland were underway. Laurel grows tall and dense and shades out any native plants from growing underneath.

The next big task for the day was to build homes for Stag Beetles known as a stumperies! A stumpery is a hole in the ground down to 50cm depth filled with vertical logs. They can be really simple to build, as big or small as you like. They work great in gardens and provide a lovely feature. They are a main focus for our sister organisation the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust who aim to maintain the good number of Stage Beetles in Blackwater which are rare elsewhere.


These dead wood homes also provide great shelter and nesting site for other beetles. Including this Longhorn Beetle we found whilst working.

Thank you to everyone who dedicated their time to helping us. It was a fantastic day with great results. We would love to have you all again.

Ast. Ranger Jenny

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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