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Archive for the ‘Woodland management’ Category

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of John Agar on 17 April 2020.  John was a very committed and enthusiastic member of SACV and right up until recent weeks he was a stalwart of the group, for many years our most frequent volunteer.  John was out with us most recently at Chorlton Water Park on Sunday 1 March, where he busily got stuck in to the construction of a willow arch.

John had a passion for the natural world and conservation and he especially enjoyed having more time to indulge these interests in later life.  In former years, John was a fixture on our residential weekends in the Peaks, until he “retired” from weekends away in 2013.  On those weekends, John continued his working life’s habit of very early starts, so by the time the rest of us were up John would inevitably have been for a walk to listen to the local birdsong as well as got the breakfast porridge, tea and toast on the go!

John was a founder member of the Friends of Chorlton Meadows, a group we have worked with many times over the years.  Having lived in Chorlton all his life, John was a source of fascinating memories of the changing local environment.

Since the loss of John, tributes have come in from the volunteers who have worked with him over the years: it is clear he was held in huge affection and warm regard, a vocal advocate for the natural environment, infectiously enthusiastic and always willing to share his knowledge with others, warm and welcoming to volunteers of all ages, good-humoured and good company.  He will be greatly missed.

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Today we were helping in a woodland a stone’s throw away from Lymm, called Spud Wood.  As in the past, we were working with The Woodland Trust and the Friends of Spud Wood.

This is a relatively new mixed broadleaf woodland, planted in the late 1990s.  It was planted on a former potato field – hence the name, which was suggested by local school children in a naming competition, and is a reminder of its historic use for growing Golden Wonder crisps!

We were coppicing hazel trees and, with the branches, creating a picturesque barrier along the edge of the wood, which cut off the ditch behind but should also prove a perfect habit for wildlife!

A great day out.  The weather remained nice and dry apart from a short five-minute burst of rain.

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For our first outing of 2020 we were at Tegg’s Nose, working to clear some areas of gorse.  Gorse has a long flowering period, so is an important nectar source in early spring and early winter; plus its density makes it ideal for a range of nesting birds.  However, it can also take over and dominate a habitat, and the ongoing work to remove some here will better connect the Tegg’s Nose woodland and the higher heathland.

The weather stayed pretty dry (and even occasionally sunny), which was a welcome change from the heavy rain of the last day or two.  Ranger Martin introduced us to the iNaturalist and Seek apps, so we look forward to using those more.  And finally, it was great to have a good turn-out of volunteers – the best we’ve had in a while – so let’s hope that continues into the rest of the year!

 

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This past weekend was our third and final residential weekend of 2019, again with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.  We were back on the shores of Tittesworth Reservoir, and were pleased to see that the lakeside hedge we worked on last October and again in the January snow is well established and providing effective protection of the shore. In a hot and sunny late summer day we did further work on the hedge to keep its rampant growth under control and to extend it further along the water.

Sunday was a greyer, wetter day but nonetheless we made good progress with a new stretch of hedge in a different location, opening up views of the lake while also protecting the shore and enhancing the wildlife habitat.

An excellent weekend all round!

 

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Today a few of us were out at Spud Wood, a Woodland Trust site.  We were continuing the coppicing of hazel we’ve been doing over the winter, in the better than expected weather! Buds are starting to burst for spring so this is possibly the last of the coppicing for this year.

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Today we were at New Moss Wood, a Woodland Trust site.  This is a native woodland, planted about twenty years ago.  Alongside our woodland management tasks, we were pleased to find and learn a bit about the scarlet elf cup fungus (Sarcoscypha cocinea) – the red of which stood out beautifully against the green of the moss.

 

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We have started 2019 with a day with the Friends of Spud Wood.  At this Woodland Trust site, we today helped the Friends with the preparation of a hedge for a forthcoming hedgelaying course, and then some coppicing within the wood.  We were sustained, as always here, by plenty of tea and parkin – a great start to the year!

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