Sunday 5 December 2021

Nearing the end of a busy 6 months - news from the woods and Dungeness

Well, things have certainly been busy since July, while I've been working as a Ranger at Dungeness as well as doing my desk job. I've only got a few more weeks to go on the contract at Dungeness now, I'll certainly miss the work and my colleagues when I stop, though I'll appreciate getting some time back in my life. Fortunately there's nothing to stop me still visiting there and staying in touch with people, as it's not far away. There's been some amazing views there over the past few months, e.g. sunset looking from the Point towards Hastings:

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Storm clouds over the English Channel:

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Expansive skies and acres of shingle:

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Views from the 'Boardwalk', one of a range of features to make it easier for visitors to appreciate the site:

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There's been some stormy days too, I took these pics just a few days ago:

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There's also been any number of stuck vehicles to deal with, from relatively simple ones like this camper van:

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To more challenging ones like a bin lorry weighing over 30 tonnes!

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The moral of the story is to pay attention to the signs at Dungeness, and only park in the official car parks!

I've not only been at Dungeness in my Ranger role though, I've also worked at a range of other sites that RMCP manages, and on some of these I've been able to put my chainsaw experience to good use, for example felling some large willow trees at Romney Warren:

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These were being removed to get more light into a series of ponds, to improve them as a habitat for newts. That does mean all the willow brash has to be burned up, as we don't want it putting down roots and shading the pond again...

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I've also done some interesting work in a very boggy woodland the other side of Ashford, felling trees and then winching them over to create new pools. The amazing thing was that while we were still in the process of winching these stumps out of the ground, there were hoverflies laying eggs around the edges of the pools!

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I've even been trained in how to check on cattle being used for conservation grazing, not something I'd ever expected to do, as I'm not really keen on being around large mammals!

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And in this era of deadly airborne viruses, it's been nice to be able to have team meetings outdoors around a fire at the end of a day's work:

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One benefit of doing the Ranger work was that I got a 1-day chainsaw refresher training day, to update my skills on CS32 - felling medium size oak trees. Here's one of my fellow students on the training day, taking down an oak while the rest of us observed:

Back in Rye, everyone was delighted to be able to join in with Rye Fawkes again, after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the area being in lockdown.

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Despite the extra working days, I've still managed to get a bit of time in the woods, and used the arbor trolley to get some logs from last winter's coppicing down the hill and into the trailer:

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There's been a bit of leisure time too, sitting by the fire in the woods and meeting up with friends.

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And just last week I was pleased to be able to get some nice pics of these Coal Tits and Blue Tits arriving and departing the bird feeder:

I've also had the trail camera back up again, and there's a few interesting bird videos as a result, including a Buzzard, a Jay and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker:

That's all for now, we'll be back in the woods over Christmas so there should be some more photos to come after that...


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