Saturday 8 March 2008

Tidying up

Well, in the end we decided not to work in any new areas for the Rother Butterfly Conservation, as it's quite late on. Instead, we did a bit of work to widen the entrance to our wood, which comes straight into the area we have coppiced. We did this by cutting back the masses of young birch that were springing up in the wayleave just outside our fence. Later on I'll also fell a couple of birch there, and also some in Dome Wood, once we've checked it with Colin. This should then provide a wide gap for all kinds of butterflies, insects and perhaps other things to venture in.

It was nice to have some visitors again, including Steve who works on the butterfly conservation, Trevor, a local guy who is an expert on moths and butterflies, Jenny, who lives just up the road and knows the woods well, and also Roy and Patricia who are managing Grist Wood, which borders our just down the hill. Trevor is going to prepare a list for us all of the traditional ancient woodland plants which certain butterflies feed on, and arrange for us to be able to get hold of the correct varieties to re-introduce to the woods.

The other big job of the day for me was tidying up the coppice stools. After talking to a few people with more experience than us, we decided that we ought to cut the stumps a bit shorter, and also flatter. Apparently this should encourage stronger and straighter re-growth. I did take a picture but it was out of focus - I'll get another later on. Anyway, that took most of the day to get done, but it was important to do it now before any regrowth starts. In future we'll get it right first time!

Here's a couple of pictures of the oaks that are down, with Tracy in them for scale. There's 10 done, and 5 to do.
We spotted a problem as well:

I attached a rope to the branch, to have a go at pulling it while standing at a safe distance:
But as you can see from this video it's pretty secure:

We're not sure if it has simply broken in the wind, or if one of the oaks being felled hit it, though the latter does not seem likely. Anyway, gales are forecast for Monday, so perhaps it will come down by itself then. The area is still taped off, so that should be sufficient warning for anyone passing through - who would technically be trespassing anyway (although we don't mind, apart from having to pay for insurance against accidents). If it doesn't come down in the wind, we'll ask Tim if he can bring it down when he's there to do the remaining oaks.


No comments: