Another brilliant day for the volunteers on Rawcliffe Meadows. There were nine of us – Pete & Jason, Judi, Helen & Max along with Ruben, Scott and Annabelle plus Mick. There would have been ten but Mark had a close encounter with a dog on the way but was assisted by Helen & Max who were on their way and then he had to go to hospital for the cuts to be cleaned and dressed! The things our volunteers face on the way to work parties, and we never opened the first-aid box!
We were at the Cricket Field Copse, feature planted in the early 1990’s after a failed attempt at a wildflower meadow, many tons of the turf from Acomb Wood Meadow were dumped there, levelled and trees planted (some early pictures here). The Copse is now a woodland edge feature to the site with the birch trees inter-planted with hazel, elm and elder and the front third coppiced.
The delayed spring was allowing us to repair the fence that had been trampled by cattle in the autumn, remove elder saplings that were encroaching on the haze, coppice a hazel lying across the fence and relocate brash to a dead hedge around the Copse.
The area should now be secure for nesting birds and the floor clear for plants to flourish.
We also paid a visit to the Pond enclosure to have a look at the tansy plants and for Pete to do a few fencing repairs. Unfortunately, despite the weather the plants were still small and there was no sign of Tansy Beetles, although a pair of mallard ducks have taken up residence. On the way back over to the Copse two toads were found making there way towards the Pond, so expect a lot of noise if passing that way in coming days.
So apart from Mark’s injuries and absence a good day was had by the increasingly multinational group of volunteers (English, Spanish and American on this occasion).
The next work part is planned for Sunday 15th April from 10:30 at the Reservoir Basin at the north of the site, below the track from the allotments, where we’ll be clearing up there, setting some rafts to check on water voles and hopefully seeing how the orchids are doing. We may also have some news from our meeting with the Environment Agency, who own the site.