Early drizzle soon cleared to give pleasant conditions for this work party, the first of the autumn/winter season. With 11 participants for some or all of the work party, we were in a good position to have a concerted effort at completing the path edging in the north-east corner. We had been working on it, on and off, for a year, but finally we completed both sides of the path through this area of relatively little ground cover, where short-cuts are frequently taken. In total about 125m of path through this area is now marked by edging. To provide material, several smallish sycamores were felled and the stumps treated.
During the work party it was reported that there were two blockages on the main path where trees had fallen in recent gales. A couple of volunteers went and cleared the more northerly blockage (a little south of where the west path branches off), but there remains a possibly dangerous ash branch overhanging the path and propped up by another medium-sized ash tree with cracks. Dismantling this could not be tackled safely. Likewise the blockage nearer to the southern end could not be cleared without a lot of work and would probably require a chain saw. These two situations have been reported to the authorities.
Finally a few of us visited some candidate sites for ground clearing and canopy tree planting, a project planned for this winter. We selected a site in zone 3, just west of the main path and a little north of the wood chip pile, near to nest box 34. It will involve clearing the ground of a substantial amount of bramble and keeping this under control for a few years while new trees are established.
by John Work Party Coordinator