Friday, 26 February 2016

Volunteer and Event days on the Edge

The volunteers have been busy again carrying out various brash clearance jobs; one at Harley Bank Hill and the other on Roman Bank.

At Harley Bank this involved clearing away debris left behind from a hedge-laying job and attempting to clear a wall a bramble from shading out the hedge below which unfortunately will need some re-planting.

Chief fire starter

Dick and Julian fighting the bramble

We attacked the hedge with loppers and made quite an impression, but there may be need for heavier tools to be required for next time. It was a gorgeous day and a fire kept us all happy!

Julian hiding in the bramble!

Julian and Dick finishing a hard days work

At Roman Bank, this has been an ongoing task over the months to clear the area of woodland from brash, and to also clear back from a hedge that was beginning to get overshadowed. That area is nearly finished and is looking really good.

Bryn clearing brash

A few weeks ago we had an archaeology monitoring day and took out a group of volunteers to help. Sections of this project will be carried out every year with the aim to locate any archaeology along the Edge and to analyse and make decisons about it's condition. These will then be prioritised based on whether more work needs to be done if they are at risk of damage.

Searching for the elusive boundary bank

Last weekend we had an introduction to geology on Wenlock Edge event, this was extremely interesting learning about the past of Wenlock Edge and how it has been formed over hundreds of millions of years. It is very hard to get your head around that scale of time! We finished the day off with a bit of fossil hunting and any questions we had.
This event was very successful, and thanks to Chris for leading it for us!

 Chris explaining the rock formation
All intrigued by the coral fossil found by Chris

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Coppicing with help from our volunteer groups

The woodland at Wenlock Edge has been managed for centuries by coppicing. Coppicing is the ancient craft of cutting trees to ground level and leaving a stump behind which develops multiple stems; at Wenlock Edge we predominantly have hazel coppice.
Coppicing has important environmental benefits by extending the life of the tree and allowing light to reach the woodland floor. This encourages a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and at Wenlock Edge this is particularly important in creating a beneficial environment and food source for its dormouse population - as it leads to the growth of more hazel nuts.

The strong re-growth from the coppice stools provides a renewable source of timber with many uses, including providing stakes and binders for hedge-laying.
(We also use some of the stakes for our shelter building dens (just to the right as you turn into Presthope car park), where we have some spectacular dens that just keep getting bigger and better!)
The Shropshire Council
Coppicing usually takes place late winter to early spring. We regularly take out volunteer groups to help with this process which has the added benefit of engaging people by involving them in our woodland conservation.
Recently we have had the Wednesday Action Group (WAGs) and the Tuesday Task Force (TTF) volunteers from Carding Mill Valley, as well as South Shropshire National Trust Volunteers (SSNTV) and the Shropshire Council come to help us out. Next week we have Shropshire Youth Forum playing their part.

With all these groups taking part, coppicing at Wenlock Edge becomes a much easier task and we would like to thank you all!