You may see –
in the distance –
something black and white amongst the trees …..
Our latest helpers – some Belted Galloway Cattle to help with grazing and browsing to keep the Commons open and under control.
Our grazier brought them down from the fields on Sunday and they were very keen to explore their new home for the summer
There are 12 on Lynchmere Common, cows with calves, young heifers and one rather large but very benign and relaxed steer.
Galloways are widely used for conservation grazing and are a very calm breed of cattle but we ask that they are treated with respect – especially if you walk your dog on the Commons.
On the Little Common there will be 3 Sussex and 2 Galloways.
And just a quick look at our newly planted hedge:
Looking a whole lot nicer with a lovely lot of bluebells filling the gap between the ‘artistically’ curving hedge lines. Most saplings are in leaf so all seems well.
and our band of helpers that spend a couple of hours in glorious sunshine planting a double hedge on top (mostly) of our boundary bank at Roundabouts Field. The woodland Trust had kindly given us another 420 hazel, blackthorn, crabapple, dog rose and elder saplings complete with bamboo canes and spiral tree guards to join the ones we planted earlier this winter.
Our hedge is now complete and looks quite good – from the right vantage point. On the other hand it looks as if we enjoyed a bit more than just coffee and cake while planting it in a somewhat drunken looking line. But our excuse is the fact that nature abhors straight lines, the bank is uneven, rabbits make holes in it etc etc. Once the trees are established and the tree guards gone nobody will notice.
Just as we were leaving the bank got inspected by one of the local residents:
a gorgeous little common lizard – he sat there for ages basking and let us come quite close while he flattened himself to absorb as much sun as possible.
In addition to the 105 saplings we planted in awful weather in November, we received have another 420 thanks to The Woodland Trust. Please come and give us a hand on Saturday 7 March to get them into the ground along the field edge at Roundabouts near Lynchmere Green.
We are aiming to have a complete double hedge along this boundary bank which will in due course be laid. the saplings are as before hazel, blackthorn, elder, crab apple and dog rose.
We need to clear a bit of existing bracken and bramble, plant the whips and put tree guards round them. Let’s hope we have enough willing helpers at the usual time from 10.00 to 12.30.
It seems blog entries are like London buses – none for ages and then two come along at the same time.
Just before many of us finally go back to work we had a chance to obtain some beanpoles and pea sticks – all while clearing some birch of course.
And just for once – I remembered to take that before shot:
And two hours later:
Amazing what just a handful of helpers can achieve, there is also a huge pile of cut birch that will be turned into bean poles, pea sticks, besoms and even coasters by Mark Allery our woodsman. So nothing goes to waste even if it all looks rather radical.
Winter is the main season for our felling team to carry out the necessary tree clearance work. The Commons are managed primarily as a lowland heath habitat – that means we are obliged to keep the trees under control.
Given half a chance – or just a few years of neglect – most of our british landscapes will first revert to scrub and then to woodland. Post WWII aerial photographs of Lynchmere Common show an almost totally treeless heath – and look at it now! Birch is a relatively short lived pioneer species that readily regrows even if cut down. Just have a look at some of the areas we clear this winter in a few months time.
Felling trees opens up areas were we also try to control bracken, it lets more sunlight in and this will hopefully help heather re-establishment.
The felled trees are de-branched and the resulting small branches and twigs – the brash – is burnt on site while the rest is cut up for firewood.
As per usual I forgot to take a ‘before picture so it looked something like this:
And 40 felled trees – and a few lovely toasted cheese and onion sandwiches – later it looks like that:
There is still more felling to be done in this area on Little Lynchmere but it certainly gave us a chance to enjoy some of the nice weather over the Christmas break.
Last Sunday a handful of dedicated, enthusiastic and most of all very wet volunteers planted 105 saplings to continue our existing hedge. Oh – and we gave the old hedge a haircut. All was done in an amazing 2 hours – how the weather focuses the mind! I will post photos as soon as I make it back to the finished product in daylight.
The saplings – a mixture of hazel, blackthorn, crabapple, elder and dog rose – was kindly provided by the Woodland Trust and we hope to get another few hundred in the early spring to continue planting the double hedge then.
And what does it all mean? It means that in a few years time there is more hedge to lay – a task that all that took part two years ago found really rewarding and interesting.
Sorry for the bad quality – but it shows the bank before and after we planted our saplings complete with tree guards. A bit of a wavy line but the bank is not very regular and anyway nature is rarely in straight lines.
A quick look at how the existing laid hedge has regrown. We removed the branches that grew outwards into the road but mostly they grow nicely upwards -as it should be.
who says we only cut down and burn in the winter. We are extending the hedge along the Linchmere Road near Roundabouts. Please feel free to come and join us trimming the existing hedge, clearing some bracken and planting 105 saplings on Sunday 23rd November from 10am.
Please bring gloves and loppers if you have them.
Hope to see you near the crossroads in Lynchmere.