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Posts Tagged ‘National Trust’

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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It’s that time of year again: time for tackling invasive Himalayan balsam!  Yesterday we were out with Cheshire Wildlife Trust volunteers at the Sinderland Green site they manage (actually a National Trust site) to help with the continued battle against the invader.  Good progress has been made at this last site in recent years, so parts of the woodland are pleasingly free of balsam – all being well it can continue to be pushed back further each year.

 

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As in previous years, today we were once again out with Cheshire Wildlife Trust volunteers at Hogswood Covert and then Brookheys Covert (sites now managed by the National Trust), continuing the battle against the invasive Himalayan balsam in these woodlands. It was pleasing to see that there was less balsam to be found than in the past, so the battle against the invader is gradually gaining ground!

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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

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This past Sunday, six hardy volunteers braved rain, sleet and mud to give the National Trust rangers at Alderley Edge a hand with path maintenance!  The work was to clear and dig the mud off a path which ought then to dry out for easier access later in the year, thereby taking the pressure off the other paths in the area, which otherwise get badly worn. A couple of channels to divert water away from the path were also put in place.  Congratulations on the perseverance shown by those who turned out!

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Some more hedgelaying today – this time with the National Trust at Alderley Edge, working on an old hawthorn hedge.  We also planted saplings to fill some of the hedge’s gaps.  It was hard work carrying our tools and the saplings to the work site over some challenging terrain – but the rain stayed off and all in all it was a satisfying day!

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Digging into the past at Hare Hill

For today’s activity on a sunny September day, the focus was less on ecology and habitats and more on heritage conservation. Hare Hill has an extensive system of culverts (on which we’ve worked many times in the past), but today we were working on a structure which might have been part of a sheep dip, dating perhaps to the first half of the nineteenth century.  A lot of the construction was overgrown or buried under soil and turf – so we were doing what we could to clear and reveal the original stonework and, where part of the structure had collapsed, try to identify its original line and formation.  This led to a lot of interesting archaeological and architectural theorizing (“Are these buried stones part of a collapsed wall?  Would there have been steps?  Is this rusted length of metal part of a rail?  Could there have been a sloped descent to the water at this point rather than a wall?”)!  We don’t know that we came up with any of the right answers but the speculation was entertaining!

 The National Trust is arranging for the revealed stonework to be assessed by someone with more expertise and it might follow in due course that there is a plan for more exploration and restoration of the structures here – so we’ll keep an eye out for future developments!

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The National Trust site of Hare Hill has an extensive Victorian culvert system which we have helped to maintain in the past.  The culvert system feeds into a cattle trough, and a couple of years ago we lent a hand with its restoration (it had previously lain forgotten for several decades).  It has silted up again since then, so today some of us joined forces with the Manchester National Trust Volunteers to clear out the mud and patch up some of the pond again.  There was a good crowd of volunteers out so, meanwhile, others worked on removing invasive rhododendron from a wooded embankment nearby.  A fine day in the spring sunshine!

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Hedgelaying at Alderley Edge

Helping the National Trust with some hedgelaying at Alderley Edge was the task for SACV volunteers last Sunday (26th October).  This is always a satisfying activity but if you want to give it a go and missed it this time, don’t worry – we’ll be doing some hedgelaying again at our next event (Sunday 9th November) when we’ll be working with the Cheshire East Rangers on the Middlewood Way!

SACV hedgelaying at Alderley Edge

SACV hedgelaying at Alderley Edge

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Yesterday SACV volunteers were out in Finlow Hill Wood near Alderley Edge, giving the National Trust a hand with a project to open up areas of this woodland to allow it to revert to its former heathland state.  We were helping with the clearance of trees which had been felled earlier in the year, and on this beautiful summer’s day it was very pleasing to see the parts of the site where heather and heathland species are re-appearing!

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