old country lawn

Monday, 11 June 2012

Lovely weather for our walk with Janet Lomas on 9th June, looking at management of old trees and hedges, and we all enjoyed the afternoon even though very few people turned up!  I suspect most were battling with their own gardens on the first fine day for a while… Janet’s interesting talk was constantly interrupted by the drumming of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – he who was so elusive on the Orchard Bird Walk! I learnt a lot about pruning and the best shapes for budded trees and we all became more aware of the fascinating paradox of how man-made England’s rural landscape is, and yet how incredibly complex and subtle the connections are in the web of natural life that supports it. We must acknowledge this in our readiness to accept we are on a constantly ascending spiral of knowledge. (Well, I hope so!)

The next event is a Bat and Barbeque Evening, on Friday 6th July, starting at 8.30 pm until after dark (bats stay up late!)  Ste West will be leading this with the expert help of David Lee, and we will be able to identify plenty of bats on some clever machines.  The event is Free, although a donation would be welcome in respect of the barbeque food.

Recent monitoring of bats here has revealed  the continued presence of Bechstein bats (see picture), as well as dormice who keep turning up in the boxes!  More dormouse monitoring in the old Sandpit has just begun – it will be exciting to see if any live there.  The Sandpit is an interesting area, worked for sand and gravel in the 50’s/60’s,  which now presents several large, shallow pools in a deep hollow, shrouded by willows of all persuasions, alders and rushes.  Dragonflies are notable here and we hope to attract some funding to coppice some areas to allow more light in. On the recent Botany walk we found ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘Townhall Clock’, two less common species of plant, as we filed along the footpath along its perimiter.  To the North the surrounding grassland is very unspoilt and species-rich, necessitating a special management regime.  Thank goodness for helpful cows!!

But as well as being thankful for cows, I must record here my gratitude and appreciation of all those who contribute to this special place, observing and monitoring ( and wobbling up and down ladders in wet prickly woods all day is a labour of love!), sharing knowledge and skills, and just tirelessly turning to and getting down to the jobs that need doing.  Thankyou all very much, everyone - I'm sure you all know who you are (well I should hope so otherwise how can you tell bats apart!) and I'm so pleased that we are gradually building up a better picture of what lives here and how we can care for it. And I very much appreciate the interest and enthusiasm of our visitors, holiday people and locals too.

To end - yesterday evening my son and I spent a few hours helping a local friend collect two swarms of bees here - much more exciting than watching the match!!!