Making hay while the sun shines in Sandhurst

Yesterday Jenny and thirteen volunteers joined us at Blackwater Reach, a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) meadow on the Blackwater Valley Path by Sandhurst Memorial Park. Sue led a group of volunteers to construct a stag beetle stumpery, the 23rd we’ve built this year, so we’re well on our way to the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust target of creating 50 stag beetle stumperies along the Blackwater Valley this year.

Sue leading the stumpery builders

Sue leading the stumpery builders

Meanwhile the rest of us cracked on with opening up the paths and hay-cutting the meadow. By removing the late summer hay we lower the nutrients in the sward, which reduces the grass growth and promotes the more delicate wildflowers, such as betony. Jenny gained experience using our BCS motorscythe to cut the hay, before we all stopped to shelter in the shade at lunch time and cool down with ice lollies.

The hard workers fuelled by ice lollies

The hard workers fuelled by ice lollies

Ranger Stuart

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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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