Winter Wonderland

All gone now – but didn’t it look lovely……

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Thanks to Peter Searight of The Remarkable Studio for the pictures.

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Countryfile – belatedly

with the motto “better late than never” in mind – a few photos from November 2012. This blog was not up and running then but I have now got hold of a few nice photos.

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BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ programme visited us on a lovely bright Monday morning. Mark organised a ‘rent a mob’ and we tried to put on a good ‘show’. Mark explained our particular aims to John Craven – time and time again! It was quite an interesting insight in the repetitive nature of filming.

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The weather was really on our side – it had been very wet before – and Mark’s demonstration on how he uses the cleared birch to make besoms etc really added another dimension.

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And so did the tea and sausages 😉 

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Another day – another few metres

We had another go at – yes you guessed it – hedge laying. While some cleared the masses of bramble on the road side of our double hedge in preparation, others started laying the field side of the already laid stretch.

That side is not going to be laid to quite the same standard as the more visible part – by law a hedge can only be laid until the end of March – after that the nesting season starts. So we are under a bit of pressure to get the best possible result and a slight compromise is required.

But the ‘face’ of the hedge will be laid and bound to the best standard we can achieve and you can now see the effect much better.

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As we go down the road the hedge we have to work with gets a bit patchy – loads and loads of bramble has been choking it so we have a lot of clearing out to do before we can get stuck in. Also, we have quite a few gaps and we are employing ‘creative’ laying solutions to bridge those gaps as well as planting some hazels whips to plug the holes.

But I am sure the end result will be much better than what was there before and will give us a good base to do it all again in around 8 years’ time.

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Scouts Galore

Today we were joined by a very keen group of Camelsdale Scouts. Together with their leader Pete and a handful of parents they helped us clear a fairly sizeable area of birch and gorse.

Loppers and bow saws were employed to cut this unwanted vegetation down to make space and light for the heather to expand. Straight and large enough birches were kept for bean and pea sticks for allotment holders – the rest was burnt once we got the fire going. This type of work makes up the bulk of the winter clearance work the volunteers carry out.

We burn any birch that cannot be used (for example to make charcoal, firewood, besoms etc) to reduce the fertility of the soil. Heathlands flourish on poor, sandy soils and if we left cuttings to rot down they would ‘fertilise’ the soil. So there is method behind the madness and we don’t really waste anything.

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It was foggy when we started – honest – and it took a while to get the fire going….

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but we got there eventually …

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Thanks again Guys and until another day….

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