Paul Denny – Operations Manager and the Volunteers have completed the 2014/2015 programme of work agreed with Emily Deacon from Natural England.

  • Bracken has been sprayed in compartments 19, 15, 10, 6.  We expect to see the results this spring/summer.
  • Silver birch trees have been felled in several compartments, most notably 15, 19 and 1.  The wood has been cut and stored for the summer; it will eventually be distributed to those who can benefit from it most.  (Next year, we need a better system for doing this to prevent theft – if anybody has any ideas, please pass them on).
  • Sycamores have been removed and a fire-break created around Gorse View
  • Fire-breaks have been cut in compartment 3 and between compartments 7 and 8 and 6 and 9.
  • Paul has now completed thinning compartments 7 and 8 and has mown large areas of scrub and grass so that heather can eventually grow in its place – it won't happen overnight.
  • About 30% of the Fen's margin has been cut and cleared this year, so that well-over half the Fen has now been cleared as part of the ESA. Natural England Volunteers spent a day clearing the fen this year and achieved a huge amount in a short space of time.
  • Work was begun again on the railway cutting, on foot and bridle paths.

 

Before birch removal

Birch cut and ready for storing over the summer

It should be noted that the way of working has changed.  The Volunteers no longer meet weekly all together, instead they work in separate groups on identified projects at times that suit them.  If you have a particular project you would like to take on, or if you would like to join in with another group please contact Barbara Priestman, Volunteer Warden: barbara@priestman.myzen.co.uk

 

Natural England Volunteers on the fen

Natural England wants to introduce a small flock of sheep to help manage the Common along traditional, less artificial lines. They will take out the young shoots of birch and gorse.  WCLC, some time ago, agreed to a limited trial of grazing.  The Charity's Scheme allows temporary fencing to help in land management.  The flock will be protected by electrified sheep netting so, hopefully, dogs won't be a problem, either from the point of view of the sheep or their owners.

 

Birch cut and ready for storing over the summer

Several people deserve special thanks: Paul Denny - Operations Manager; Will Russell, Natural England's Site Manager; Jayne Tibbles, Administration and Liaison for WCLC; and several Volunteers: Claire Whittenbury, 'Mertz', Brian Tibbles, Hugh Smiley, 'Suzie', Alvin and Viv Hunt, Jan Etherington, Chrissie Reeve, Paul Bradley, Aubrey Pearson, Nikki Jackson, Don Street, Paul Leonard – if I have forgotten anybody, I do apologise and hope you will contact me again in time for next season which will start in October 2015.

Barbara Priestman - Volunteer Warden