Monday, 28 March 2016

Plotting viewpoints, archaeology monitoring and clearing Pudding Bag meadow

Recently, with help from volunteer Charlotte Huntley, we have been plotting the viewpoints along the Edge. We plotted the viewpoints on the map and using the GPS and took pictures with a camera. This was a pleasant task as both days were lovely weather, where we walked and got to enjoy the views. We will hopefully be out again to plot further viewpoints soon.
We have been carrying out further archaeology monitoring along the Edge, this time around Presthope and Wilderhope. This involves finding archaeological features on the map such as lime kilns and charcoal heaths, ensuring that they have been marked in the correct place, rating their condition, and then assessing the priority of any action necessary for them. Both days were extremely successful and more will be carried out next Winter.

Map reading
In search of a charcoal hearth

We have also been working at Wilderhope in the Pudding Bag meadow. We were clearing back the rough vegetation before the wild flowers start to spring up. Half of the meadow had been cleared with the mower last year but this section had to be done using the brushcutter, loppers and rakes, as within this section there are a large amount of Yellow Meadow ant hills which would have been destroyed by the mower. The Yellow Meadow ant is a species which prefers undisturbed ground and lives primarily underground in meadows and is good for the grass in many ways. Alistair was also felling some trees surrounding the meadow to let more light into the meadow and to stop shading out.

Using the brushcutter and rakes to clear the vegetation
Alistair's impressive tree felling

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from us all at Wenlock Edge!


There has also been sightings of the emergence of bluebells.


Wood anemones

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Litter Picking and Bramble Clearance

Over the past couple of weeks on Wenlock Edge we have had three major litter pick days. One down Harley Bank road with myself and Kate, and two more big days with the volunteers, the first along Hughley Bank and the second above Hughley Bank along the top of the Church Stretton road. We do it at this time of year when the ground is usually dry and before the Spring growth shoots up and hides the litter, making it harder to find. We split up along the roads (in our hi-vis jackets) and took our litter pickers as well as two bags; one for rubbish and one for recyclable plastics (as this makes it quicker and easier for us to sort out at the recycling centre when we get back). On every day the back of the landrover was jam-packed with bags of rubbish and plastic recyclables.

After a days litter pick
We also have our drop-in volunteer rangers who usually come in to help out when they can; litter picking is one of the tasks they are given, which means that we can keep in control of the litter a bit better as it is done more regularly. The areas focused on are the car parks and also the paths along our trails.

I hope maybe you have seen a bit of a difference along these stretches of road.

A couple of Tuesdays ago we were working at Harley Bank Hill with the volunteers for our second instalment clearing a wall of bramble away from the newly laid hedge, which has unfortunately died back and will need some re-planting. Working as a team of four, we managed to clear away the bramble before lunch, mostly using scythes, but with some extra help from the brush cutter and a chainsaw (and some brute force too!)

 After lunch we burned it all on the fire. Hopefully it will be a while before it shoots up again!

Laser Tag with Shropshire Youth Forum, Tree Planting and Coppicing

A few weeks ago we had an excellent day with the Shropshire Youth Forum, we began by clearing brash and burning it on an 'upside down fire' which the children found a lot of fun to build. In the afternoon a day of Laser Tag in Easthope wood had been organised which was fantastic fun (the adults even managed to get stuck in as well).

Brash clearance with the Shropshire Youth Forum

The upside down fire!

We also recently had a day of coppicing with volunteer Abbi and also planted two new lime trees on the Edge down by the railway near Longville.

Abbi starting her first and very successful fire!

Digging a big hole

Me and my lime tree