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Archive for the ‘Grassland’ Category

Well, our activities for 2018 are now over. Our last two outings have been with the Friends of Longford Park on 25th November and with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows on 9th December.

In Longford Park, we helped the Friends with a number of activities for the maintenance of the wildlife garden including seeding wood anemone, foxglove and yellow rattle; coppicing hazel; removing blackthorn which was invading the grassland area; and managing areas of dogwood, rose and flag iris near the pond.

At Chorlton Meadows, the Friends are currently in the process of trying to restore the only remaining area of old grassland. The aim is to re-introduce cattle grazing once the new fence has been completed. Sadly, many years of neglect has resulted in several species invading the field, not least bramble. The cattle will keep the invasive plant species down and allow the rarer plant species to thrive once again. SACV members spent the day working with the Friends in removing the bramble.

Hard work, but well worth it and our efforts were rewarded with an early Christmas soirée after the task, kindly hosted (as in previous years) by Elaine. Thanks to Elaine for the perfect end to the day!

And of course big thanks to everyone who has come out to volunteer with us in 2018!

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Last Sunday SACV members were out with City of Trees in Priory Gardens, working on an area which is known to provide a habitat for slow-worms.  We were thinning the wooded area of the site by felling some of the encroaching trees and creating habitat piles, suitable for slow-worms, with the cut material.

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After a cool-ish and cloudy start, today we were again blessed with a beautiful day at Tegg’s Nose Country Park.  As in previous summers, we were helping the Cheshire East Rangers with the obligatory management of ragwort and thistles in meadows which are important for a range of species including orchids, mountain pansies, waxcap fungi, moonwort and adder’s-tongue fern.  The meadows’ management is also supported by controlled grazing by a herd of longhorn cattle (who show extraordinary interest in Ranger Martin’s van!).  All this, and a good sighting of a pair of local buzzards circling overhead!

 

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This, our first residential weekend away of 2017, was spent as usual doing some work through the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.  The activity was to remove some encroaching hawthorn from a hillside to preserve an important grassland habitat; energetic work on a steep slope, but that and a bonfire helped to keep the winter chill away!

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We had a residential weekend in the Peaks back in January, when we helped clear encroaching hawthorn from a site which is being restored as a grassland habitat.  Here are some pictures – courtesy of ranger David – of how the wildflowers have lately been looking on the hillside on which we worked!

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Our arrival at Brunt’s Barn on the Friday night of this, our first residential weekend away of 2016, was like something out of And Then There Were None.  The original eight for the weekend had over the previous couple of days reduced to six due to illness and other adverse circumstance; and then one by one these six postponed their arrival at the Barn, for one reason or another, from the usual Friday night until early Saturday morning, until in the end only a hardy couple of attendees were in the Barn on Friday.  Still, against the odds, everyone (even the habitually late) arrived in good time on Saturday – in time for breakfast, no less, probably lured by the promise of a vast vat of excellent porridge.

The work for both Saturday and Sunday was to be out with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, on a hillside between Tideswell and Miller’s Dale, to remove young encroaching hawthorn from a site which is being restored as a grassland habitat.  As part of a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, this hillside will in the future be grazed between August and February, the grassland habitat and wildflowers then being allowed to flourish for the rest of the year.  It was hard work, teetering on a steep slope and pitchforking bundles of hawthorn down to a bonfire at the bottom (shades of Indiana Jones sometimes, dodging the rolling bundles), but fine home-made cake from a very generous PPCV volunteer on both days helped to sustain us!

At the end of Saturday’s work, there was much enjoyment of Brunt’s Barn’s new showers (a great improvement in comfort) and then a trip to the bar of The Maynard for an evening meal, followed by drinks and games back at the Barn (endless rounds of Bananagrams and Dobble proved the popular choice this time).

The next residential weekend will be in May!

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