Thursday, 29 November 2012

November Flood Photos

Monday 26th November at Rushy Common Nature Reserve and Tar Lakes:

High water......... is a good thing on the reserve in the winter and will help to keep the gravel edges near the bird hide clear of vegetation. This will make good feeding grounds for waders in the spring and hopefully some good viewing for bird watchers.

.........but is not quite such a good thing for walkers round Tar Lakes creating perching posts for kingfishers rather than people
Thursday 29th November at Standlake Common Nature Reserve: no access to the bird hide today from Langley's Lane

Hedgelayers get started

Monday 12th November.
Despite torrential rain at the start of the day Martin and Jim made a good start on laying the hedge at Standlake Common Nature Reserve. The hedge was planted about ten years ago along the southern boundary of the lake to provide a screen. Although the laying will result in short term disruption the long term benefit to the structure of the hedge will be worth it. The growth of the trees was already leaving a gappy open view at the bottom. Once it is laid the bottom and the whole hedge structure will thicken up which will benefit small mammals, nesting birds and invertebrates.
 Rain is clearly going to be a recurring feature of this project. It rained when the volunteer group, Marcus and Ian in this photo, were clearing the fence and hedgeline ready for the hedgelayers to start....

... it rained when Martin and Jim started on the 12th Nov.... rained on Monday 26th so that the whole reserve is now impassable.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

It's great to be working with STEPS again


Well here is my first Lower Windrush Valley Project Blog and what a brilliant way to start. I worked with STEPS students and staff from the Abingdon and Witney College when I was with the Wychwood Project and it is wonderful to be able to link up with them again here. Different students but the same joy and enthusiasm for the outdoor world and outdoor physical work. I hope that my blogging skills increase as rapidly as their technical skills.
What a great gang; Ryan, William, Azeem, Philip and Tommy are busy coppicing the shelter belt at Standlake Common Nature Reserve. Over a few weeks this term they are learning to use hand tools safely and efficiently and also how to work together as a team. Their teacher Debbie said, 'It is a real joy to see these students so engaged and happy in what they are doing. I wish we could come out every week'.
They have quickly grasped the concept of coppicing and building habitat piles with the larger stems and cutting the brash to cover the cut stems, in the hope of deterring hungry deer from eating the new shoots in the spring. If this doesn't work then next year we will be back putting guards round the trees but we think this method is worth a try.