Two of the wild flowers seen during the summer on or very near the Trust land..Pyramidal orchid Early purple orchidNow that the bulk of tree planting is over ( we have had about a 10% failure rate so may replace a few trees this Autumn but not all those lost as our original planting was very close) there are different things afoot on the Trust site. So, what's been happening in 2023 so far?
There was a last planting session with the local scouts in January, when they planted the few trees that had not been available from Reimagining the Levels in the autumn.
The scouts also helped with some mulching and sorting out the side of the footpath through the mature wood. SCC provided guys to clear the path and make it less dangerous by rerouting the stream of water from the spring - which just happened to follow the path! Since they left Alan and Peter have piped the stream for a little way and covered the pipes up so you wouldn't know they're there. However, there's no getting away from the fact that the path is steep, not easy to go down and harder to come up! I f you do make it to near the bottom you will see the large deer netting enclosure. We hope preventing access to this area by deer and other larger animals will allow saplings to grow and may provide a safe haven for smaller animals - possibly even the elusive dormouse! See Peter's blog: Scouts, trees and footpaths
Sedgemoor Gardens Club had an evening visit to the Trust in early July and we will welcome the Curry Rivel Out and About group in late August. Peter is speaking to the Curry Rivel WI in November - so people are getting to know about us and we would love to see more people getting involved as a result of all this activity.
We have now put up notices reminding dog walkers that dogs should be kept on a lead while on Trust land. We know there are hares making their homes in the tall grass and this is also true of several species of ground-nesting birds. While on the land this week we unfortunately disturbed an indignant female pheasant on her nest in the long grass and a little later watched a hare bound off !
We also have our three trial plots. where different soil preparation techniques have been used, which will help us to decide how to proceed in making a wildflower meadow when we see the resulting flowers in the summer. Sadly the original pole and string surrounds were knocked down and the areas trampled earlier this year - maybe by dogs. We reinstated the surrounds with more substantial wooden stakes and rope but results this year were disappointing, with very few wild flowers and many farmland weeds dominating the plots . The strips that had been rotivated had bare soil, which was badly cracked, and only a few arable weeds, mainly bristly oxtongue. There were more grasses on the other strips(either left alone or sclarified with a three pronged scraper) in all three trials but still no flowers from the seed we spread in the autumn. We may have spread them too late in the year (November) so are going to rerun the trials with seed spread in late August/early September. We are having a meeting on site on Saturday August 26th to rework the trial plots and seed them - we would welcome help with this!

.The CWCT is a small local charity which was formed when 9 acres of farmland and mature woodland came up for sale on a ridge above the Levels. During 2020, in spite of the pandemic, we raised £60K , mainly from the local community, to buy the la have already planted 500 trees and shrubs on the farmland and the local community has enjoyed the wildflower meadow that has developed alongside them. In the 21-22 winter we obtained another grant for a further 400 trees and shrubs, with guards and stakes. Planting is now over for the season.
The weather was kind to us and our trees in 2021 as the early rain allowed them to establish their roots and we didn't need to water. Very few trees didn't grow. In 2022 there was no need to water the newly planted tree in the spring but then the summer became very dry and some of our water tanks came into play! The water capturing apparatus was constructed for minimal outlay and we now have 6m3 of water in large tanks. However, we do not have an easy means of getting it from the tanks to the trees when needed. A long hosepipe with a pump was used but it is a slow and laborious method. ideas are still being mulled over!

Our boundaries in the woodland are now marked by white metal stakes. The public footpath is clearly marked and leads from the gate on Hellards Hill Lane to the levels, where it connects with other paths across the farmland.