Unfortunately we will have to cancel the Wellesley Walk due today. We’re sorry to those who were looking forward to this but I can announce that there will be a walk held on the 21st March to celebrate the International Day of Forests.
More information to follow soon, so keep an eye out!
This winter the Blackwater Valley Rangers and volunteers have had the pleasure of joining the Hart District Council (HDC) Rangers on a few of their tasks.
Back in September Stuart, Sam and our volunteers joined Nick and Callum at Royal Oak Valley hay-cutting and cutting back willow.
Since then Sam and I have been able to help twice at Hazeley Heath where our volunteers got the chance to mingle in between digging out birch saplings. Sam and Bobbie also joined in the fun at the big RSPB and Hart volunteer get together also held there. Hazeley Heath is a beautiful site with its rolling hills of heather which made for a lovely view at lunch time. The volunteers and I were happy to help maintain the area as heathland.
Melvyn using the mattock to dig out tough Birch roots
Stu, Laura, Sam and I of the BVCP Rangers also go the chance to help at Elvetham Heath Local Nature Reserve. It was great to have a big group of us all out in one go. We all worked together with the guys from Hart, chainsawing and chipping to open up a ride and stream for dragonflies.
It has been great fun working with the Hart Rangers and fantastic to see some new sites. Thank you to all the Rangers and especially the volunteers who helped out on these tasks. Also thank you very much to Nick for his help coordinating us all. I look forward to us all working together again in the future.
Countryside Ranger (Acting) Jenny
Never to pass up a chance to play with the digger and tractor, we’ve been working down at Chalk Farm in Wellesley Woodland to fill in gaps around the car park with three new trees. After confirming the location of the buried utilities, Stu set to work delicately digging the holes. I ferried the trees in the small tractor, whilst Sam and the volunteers planted the trees. Our efforts have made a real difference to greening up the car park.
Excavating holes in Chalk Farm
Sam, Jeremy and Dharma planting a tree
Senior Ranger Stuart
Recently Stu, Mike, Eric, Dharma and I headed out to Thorn Hill to meet up with the ‘Blooming Marvellous’ volunteer group. The 10 strong volunteer group got to work right away helping us clear the laurel problem shown below.
We have been working on removing the laurel at Wellesley sites for a number of years now, this is to prevent the laurel dominating the woodland floor and preventing any other vegetation from growing.
As you can see the group did a fantastic job of clearing a massive amount of laurel, thanks for all the hard work from the volunteers.
Sam Valente, Assistant Ranger
This week most of the Blackwater Valley Ranger team have been at Tongham to carry on with the reinstatement work at Tongham Wood. I have been involved with this project since starting with Blackwater Valley, carrying on from Tony Anderson and after negotiating with the utility company I managed to successfully secure the funds for the work.
Finished tree planting
Bare flailed strip before planting
Above are a few pictures from the project, as well as planting trees we removed old redundant fencing, two trailer loads of bricks and rubble as well as various items from when the road was first put in. I would like to say a massive thank you to the Blackwater Valley Volunteers who helped on the Tuesday and Thursday and all of the Blackwater Valley Rangers and senior staff for their help to make the project run smoothly.
The history of Wellesley Woodland walk that was organised for tomorrow at 1pm (meeting at Claycart car park) has been cancelled. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Acting Ranger Jenny
Last week Jenny and I popped up to Hawley Meadows to discuss the site management and upcoming tasks. Whilst there we checked on some of the logs we installed in the River Blackwater back in 2012 with the Environment Agency.
For Loddon Rivers Week last September, I found it difficult to describe how logs fixed in the channel affect the river flow, because it’s counter-intuitive.
When water passes over the log the majority is directed off at right angles, so a log installed facing upstream will direct the flow towards the centre of the river. Which is all very strange until you see it working.
View upstream of log fixed in channel
The example below from Hawley Meadows demonstrates this process in action. Whilst there is a small area of erosion towards the bank, the main flow is directed into the channel. This creates areas of deposition and erosion which form valuable habitat niches for wildlife, including gravel banks for fish spawning.
Flow deflected by upstream-facing log fixed in channel
Acting Senior Ranger Stuart