22 Mar

The Trust always welcomes volunteers to help with its conservation work and on 21st January we enjoyed talking to and working with a group of Scouts- the Scouts the Levels group to be exact. The day was cold but bright and we planted Hazel and Hawthorn in the southern hedge to thicken it where it is too thin and we also planted Wayfarer trees along the southern margin of the new woodland and some wild Cherry alongside the path to the glade. We then turned our attention to the public footpath through the old wood. In one place a natural spring opens up in the winter and makes the path very muddy. A channel had been opened to direct the water to one side of the footpath and the Scouts moved some wood chippings from a pile in the field to cover the muddy part of the footpath and soak up the water. This has been successful. We have subsequently piped the channel for a distance of about 20 meters and, as I write this two Trustees are working with a zip wire erected by Alan to move some soil from the top of the slope to cover the rather ugly plastic pipes so that the woodland feel is not compromised. The footpath is now in good condition along its length on the Trust land although it is very steep. We have many walkers who use unofficial paths along the eastern hedge and then along the top of the escarpment to the east. These paths are not public rights of way and the field is also used by dog walkers to exercise their pets. You will see notices have gone up asking walkers to keep dogs on leads and to use the public footpath through the field. This is because we will be trying to encourage ground nesting birds and mammals this year and they will not nest if constantly disturbed. Sad to say many ground nesting birds and mammals are becoming rare and, as domestic dogs are not threatened with extinction, they must give way to wildlife in this instance. Here are some photographs of the day’s activity including a photo of an unusual fungus found by Amy on rotten wood in the old wood. This is Sarcoscypha austriaca (common name Scarlet Elf Cupa widespread but rare red fungus- so well done Amy!.

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