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Thanks to all who came out today to help with coppicing work at Spud Wood, a Woodland Trust site.  A great start to 2018 – a good turn-out from SACV, a warm welcome from Friends of Spud Wood, lovely sunshine, an excellent site – and homemade cake!  Here’s to more days like this for the rest of the year.

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Hedgelaying in the snow

An appropriately wintry day for our last activity of 2017 today: hedgelaying with the National Trust at Alderley Edge.  Under the leaden skies and the light snowfall, the curious robins kept us company – and we kept warm with the thought of our annual seasonal get-together to follow.  So, plenty of mince pies, jacket potatoes, mulled wine and the rest – thanks to Elaine for the excellent catering and hospitality!

Here’s to 2018!

SACV hedgelaying at Alderley Edge

SACV hedgelaying at Alderley Edge

Longford Park wildlife garden

There weren’t many of us, or of the Friends of Longford Park, out today – a day of occasional heavy rain but also good spells of winter brightness.  However, we made good progress with various jobs in the park’s wildlife garden: some thinning in the wooded area to allow more light to penetrate, some creation of habitat piles along the fence lines, and some planting of hazel, dogwood, crab-apple etc. at various points in the garden.

A pond at Chorlton Meadows

As in previous years we today worked with the Friends of Chorlton Meadows to maintain an area of open water in the reed bed here.  The reed bed and surrounding area continue to be one of the most diverse parts of the meadows: kingfisher, reed warbler, sedge warbler, water rail and the fastest declining British native species, willow tit, frequent the area. Throughout the summer large numbers of damselfly and dragonfly were hawking over the adjacent meadow.

Recently a local bird group ringed a sedge warbler. The same bird was caught again thirteen days later on the south coast having travelled over three hundred miles. Sedge warblers winter south of the Sahara desert.

The weekend before last saw us among the atmospheric ruins of Errwood Hall.  We spent our final residential weekend of the year working with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers to remove invasive rhododendron from the grounds around the remains of the Hall.  Originally part of the Hall’s landscaped Victorian estate, the rhododendron has spread out of control over the decades, to the detriment of the woodland and its habitats.

Updating our chalkboard!

Many thanks to conservation volunteer Helen for updating the blackboard we display to passers-by when we’re working on site.  The board was originally provided to us by the RSPB but after some years of use was in need of a refresh.  Let’s hope it helps to bring in a flood of new volunteers!

Slow-worms in Priory Gardens

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.