Tuesday, 28 February 2012

From October 2011 to 2012

Hedge Clearance 2nd of February
The blog has been silent but the activity has been intense. Volunteers were busy in November 2011 at Joan's Hill Farm and in December we saw out the year  at Staunton Meend battling through stormy weather to set stone walls straight and removing silver birch from the common soon to be grazed by Exmoor ponies.

I can hardly believe we are approaching the end of February, it has been a busy and fruitful period for the Wye Valley AONB volunteers. On the 19th of January we embarked on a minibus tour of the Overlooking the Wye sites and discussed the groups involvement in the ongoing maintenance at a selection of these historic locations.

In February  several attempts were made to plant new hedging and trees and Kate Humble's Farm. Twice thwarted, yet undaunted we returned on the 23rd of February to complete the task.

Volunteers have been busy checking walks leaflets, soon to be published as part of the legacy of the Overlooking the Wye Project. Many thanks to Sally and David for this work.  Elaine Savage has undertaken web site training, and is now able to update the events pages remotely. Liz and David Berry,decked out in Georgian attire, assisted with the filming project undertaken by the Youth Rangers (see Youth Rangers blog for further details.) The following account is written by Guy Moody who captures the spirit of the proceedings at Kate's Farm....

Meend Farm revisited
Thursday February 23rd saw us once more at Meend Farm having been here three weeks ago when ‘earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone’ as the hymn goes.  On this occasion it was altogether more balmy, being the hottest day of the year rather than one of the coldest.  The task in hand seemed straightforward plant up some native mixed species hedges around the proposed garden perimeter of the farm house.  A more than abundant supply of whips had been supplied by the Woodland Trust and a more than abundant supply of volunteers, spades, canes and plastic tubes had been provided by WVAONB.
So after a welcome cup of tea or coffee courtesy of Kate and Ludo we were divided up into teams and set to work. All went well until we discovered that in many places our proposed hedgerows were following the same line as the hidden footings of some previously removed stone walls.  The engineers and strong men amongst us managed to lift most of the stones out of the ground and with the aid of a mini tractor supplied by the builders on site they were moved to a less inconvenient place.
After that the planting was completed in good time despite the soil in places being quite ‘clayey’ which seemed to double the weight of our boots and stick very efficiently to our spades. In addition to the hedges there was time to plant some larger trees in the adjacent fields and also to enjoy the February sun at lunchtime from the vantage point of a convenient rubble heap.
We also tried to teach Sarah (Sawyer) some of the fundamentals of rugby, but I am not sure we succeeded.
Guy Moody
Thank you Guy, and thank you to everyone. It will be great to revisit the farm and see how the new plants are doing later in the year.

Neil and Dorathy digging deep!

Peter, Guy, Roger and Andrew in action