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Posts Tagged ‘Hollinwood Scout Camp’

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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A berm at Barton Moss

Sunday was a brightish and surprisingly chilly spring day with a frigid southeasterly blowing across Barton Moss and among the conifers of Hollinwood Scout Camp. This was our third visit here – we were given a warm welcome as ever and huddled around the Burco for a brew and biscuits before tackling our work which was a new activity: to create a Hugelkultur Berm(!).

Basically this is a method to create a raised mound for vegetative planting in areas of wet ground. The principle is to improve the drainage of the ground on the berm and to promote healthy plants. The ground of Barton Moss is flat and very wet even in dry weather. The earth is deep, rich and dark but a little too wet for any trees other than alder. So to create this feature you start by digging down (c. 15″) and removing the turf and soil. This is piled up alongside the ditch, with sods kept separate from the soil. Next the ditch is packed with chunky blocks and branches of wood to create a slight mound above the surrounding ground. This is the foundation of the berm. Now the soil is piled on top of the wood creating a long mound. The earth slips into the gaps of the wood and starts to mound up. One the soil is used up the sods are placed upside down on the surface; this helps hold the soil in place and allows the grass to decompose and feed the soil ready for planting later on. The edge of the berm is supported by horizontal logs, pegged in place to help keep the soil on top of the sunken timber.

The resulting feature creates a well drained planting area above a slowly decomposing buried pile of logs. This decomposition creates warmth and enhances release of nutrients into the soil.

This was an unusual but engaging task and on the day we completed it successfully. One volunteer also had time to go and re-tag and check the stakes of the saplings previously planted by the Scouts. We had a great lunch alongside a warming fire. Many thanks to our host at the site and to the volunteers who turned out!

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Today we were back at Hollinwood Scout Camp – the development of the camp and woodland has progressed apace since we were here about a year ago.  We did some clearing work around the “main camp” part of the site, particularly for the removal of the invasive Himalayan balsam and in preparation for further ongoing management of this area.  We were glad of the shelter of the trees in today’s heat, and of course for the excellent supply of tea and biscuits!

 

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Yesterday we helped with the development of a brand-new 30-acre scout camp – Hollinwood Scout Camp – in Worsley.  A challenging yet exciting project, where glades are being created in a mixed woodland for scouts to camp and enjoy the outdoor life.  We balsam-bashed an area that will be a narrow access road through the site.  There are also fields which have recently been planted with 900 mixed deciduous saplings by the Woodland Trust; we mulched around the saplings to ensure they don’t get encroached by the surrounding tall grasses.
A very accommodating and friendly partner to work alongside, who provided us with copious amounts of tea and biscuits on our break, under the scout marquee!

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