A few weeks back I visited the beautiful Southwood Woodland for one of our monthly Sunday volunteer tasks.
This month the our aim was to give our veteran oak trees a helping hand. We achieved this by removing the smaller trees beneath and next to the canopy so that it may reduce competition. This process is known as halo cutting because of the shape of the clear space made around the trees when complete. Since most of our oaks originally grew along hedgerows, we often simply clear a strip either side. Keep an eye out for haloed oaks around the woodland, like behind the snake sculpture.
Thank you to everyone who attended the task.
If you would like to join a task, the next one is on Sunday 26th February. We will meet at 10:30am by the Old Kennel’s Lane Gate.
- All tools and training are provided on these friendly & informative events
- Just wear old outdoor clothing, boots or wellies and waterproofs
- We’ll bring the brew kit for hot tea and frappuccino
- Children under 16 need to cajole an adult
For more information please ring our offices on 01252 331353
Assistant Ranger Jenny Sibley
Today students Gabriel, Jeremy, Matt and I were out at the lovely Moor Green Lakes with various tasks in mind. The most important of the day was installing a commemorative bench for John Curnow Tanner. It is situated along the Blackwater River path by Colebrook Lake South before you get to the footbridge to Moulsham Green (if you are headed west). Thank you to those who donated the bench, which is made of recycled materials. We are sure it will provide a rest stop for passers by who can enjoy the beautiful view down the river.
Gabriel and Jeremy digging the holes for the bench legs, whilst Matt measures his to check the depth
Gabriel, Jeremy and Matt checking the bench is level and tamping fown the soil
Assistant Ranger Jenny Sibley
Today Jenny and I have undertaken our 2 hour tractor assessment, which has been the culmination of over 5 days of training. I don’t think either of us realised there was so much to learn. We have used both our Kubota compact tractor and the much larger Massey Ferguson agricultural tractor. We’ve practised with attaching rear-mounted implements, like our flail, which is driven by a yellow PTO (Power Take-Off) shaft. For hitching the trailer to the Massey Tractor, there is so much metal work at the back of the tractor, that it’s nigh on impossible to lean back to see the drawbar, even for a lanky chap like me. So Jenny perfected the technique of putting the tractor into a safe stop, then leaning out the back window.
Jenny lowering the drawbar to hitch the trailer
Both the tractors
We then connected the hydraulics and practised reversing and tipping the trailer, a real challenge since the high sides and double axle of the trailer means it is reluctant to turn. Robert showed us how to brake only a single rear wheel on the tractor, which is ideal at flicking the tractor round to help trailer reversing.
Tipping the trailer
We regularly use the front loader to load gravel, like loading dumpers on the Swan Lake Park Path Resurfacing Project. It is also very fun to use the bucket and claw to move larger items, like logs.
Shuffling logs with the front loader and claw
I’m very pleased to say that Jenny and I passed our assessments for both tractors and the front loader. A big thank you to the trainers and colleagues who took time out to teach us.
Today Jenny and I are working at Darby Green Pond litter picking and cutting back paths to open up access. It’s been a very successful day for our group of 11 volunteers with the students and local people, removing 3 m3 of rubbish with half of it going to be recycled. There was a competition on the most unusual litter, including a moped, bike, duvet and 7 chairs. A huge thank you to everyone for all their hard work: The woodland and pond look so much better.
Intrepid explorers brave the depths
The soggy volunteers with our litter haul heading for home
Also Mike Swaddling from the BVC Trust and local Councillor Adrian Collett came for a chat, so we could discuss future countryside management ideas for Darby Green Pond. We’re next down at Darby Green Pond on at 10:15am on Tues 28th Feb when we’ll be removing the invasive plant parrot’s feather from the pond. If you’re interested in getting involved with the site, please get in touch at email@example.com
Ranger Stuart & Jenny