Magnificent Eight…

…or was it just a mad eight of us who turned out today in such freezing conditions that even the bonfire took almost two hours to be coaxed into life.

However, what superb progress we made. The whole south side of the bridge is now clear and the beautiful oak tree is free from any hawthorn that was badly tangled around its lower branches.

The superb oak tree that overlooks the central picnic clearing

We made two more log-piles and these are going to be fantastic habitat for insects such as beetles, woodlice, spiders and such like, as well as lichens, fungi and mosses. We also made another “bench” or resting place out of a large log. 

Just seven or so more trees to come out on the north side of the bridge and we are finished. I have already started work on the next clearing which is down the line and under another large oak tree. I reckon the clearing should be the same size as the reach of the oak, so we get a different habitat to the open glades that we have been creating.

Well done to all who made it today. They say that you get warm twice from wood. Firstly when you cut it down and secondly when you put it on the fire. Never a truer statement made!!

Next workdays:

Mike Slater from Butterfly Conservation is meeting me at 10am tomorrow (Monday 29th) to look at what we need to do to attract endangered butterflies to the greenway. Feel free to join us and share in Mike’s expertise. We can do a bit of work whilst we are there. One thing that we need to address is stumps – I know it’s a pain but we need to be cutting the stumps as close to the ground as possible. Far too many are left too high and it looks odd at the best of times, plus it becomes a trip hazard. Also cutting branches need to be right up to the trunk or we will get a mass of shoots off the cut end that will look untidy and weigh the branch down.

Tuesday 30th November – 2pm to 3.30pm – dead-hedge around the top of the next clearing.

Sunday 5th December – 11am to 1:30pm – meet at the original meeting point and work towards the new underpass making clearings and clearing scrub.

Monday 6th December – 10am to 12:30pm – dead-hedge any brash from the Sunday workday.

Sunday 12th December – 11am to 2pm – start to cut back the outside curves of the paths between the glades. Remember we are looking to get the path as wriggly as we can to stop a wind-tunnel effect being created that will discourage butterflies. If we keep doing this and leave the inside of the curve to encroach onto the existing path, then eventually it will be really curvy and the puddles will be well away from the new path. We need the path to be about one metre wide.

Thursday 16th December – 11am to 2pm – continue with cutting back of the outside curves of the path.

I think that’s about it until after Christmas. Great work today, plenty to do, plenty done this year so far. If you haven’t been down for a while please come along. It really is looking good. If anyone knows where we can get a pub-style picnic bench from (for free) please shout out (no jokes about robbing one out of The Bear’s beer-garden!!!), or can we make one from all the wood that we are chopping down??

Paul

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One Response to Magnificent Eight…

  1. Paul says:

    Quick update..

    The time spent with Mike from Butterfly Conservation was very useful. A few hints and tips, and he was really complimentary about our work done so far, and our enthusiasm and vision. Hopefully, with Mike’s direction, we can made a habitat suitable for the Grizzled Skipper and Small Blue, two butterflies that are in decline in Warwickshire due to loss of their natural habitat. The Small Blue is Britain’s smallest butterfly and its sole food-plant is Kidney Vetch.

    One thing that really came out is clearing trees on the southerly side of the clearings that we are making. This is to really get the sunlight in. It would be a shame for all the effort that we have put in to be compromised because a tree or two are shading the clearing.

    On the Monday three of us turned out for a bit of work. Mike, Graham and myself and we cleared three of the seven unwanted trees left in the picnic glade. We cut the stumps at ground level and whilst it might take a few more minutes and means we are stretching a bit further, it saves having to cut the stumps down later on, which is proving to be a major pain. We also cleared a lot of brash on the ground around the oak tree on the south side of the bridge, and pulled out a load of bramble.

    Today Margaret and myself turned out and we started to cut the outside curves of the path. We did a bit and it was encouraging to see how quickly the curvy path took shape. As the inside of the curves are allowed to grow out they will start to cover the existing path and the puddles.

    We have misplaced the loppers with the extendable handles. I think I last saw them on Sunday. If you remember using them or seeing them please let me know. I tried to find them today but the snow was covering everything.

    Lastly, it may look cold out there and I admit, it took a whole load of motivation to go out there today, but as soon as we start working we soon warmed up and if we have a bonfire, we get warmer still. I was stripping off the layers on Monday!!

    Hope to see you soon,

    Paul

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