In decent but breezy weather conditions we accomplished quite a lot in a short space of time. Considering it is Easter, we had a better than expected turn-out, so we shifted a tonne of pebbles onto the paths fairly quickly. The pebbles had recently been delivered to the top of the airstrip, down the hill from the Wheatcroft gate, and were barrowed up to treat some of the muddier sections of the southern end of the central path, the cut-through to the western path, small sections of the western and eastern paths and the steps by the southern entrance. Although the paths had dried out during the recent dry conditions, yesterday evening’s rain softened the surface sufficiently to allow the stones to be trodden in slightly. There is certainly scope for repeating the exercise next time the paths start to get wet again.
Phil and Chrissie concentrated on cleaning the ladder boards at the three entrances and treating them with linseed oil. Although a vast improvement is already apparent, the boards will benefit from repeated treatments, and also the posts should be cleaned and treated at some stage.
In addition, we moved some heavy logs from the party area by the eastern path and checked some of the whips on the eastern boundary. Many of those we planted 3 or 4 winters back are now doing quite well and guards and canes have been removed.
As would be expected at this time of year, the wood was full of bird song and Skylarks were active over the fields to the north. The big surprise was on the way down, when Chrissie and I spotted a couple of Sand Martins flying over the field south of Peveril Drive. This species is always the first of the swallows and martins to arrive and is normally found near water, so they were probably just passing through.
John (Work Party Coordinator)