Into the Woods
Just after Halloween, 12 intrepid volunteers ventured cautiously along deeply rutted tracks into a remote and lonely woodland. The deep swamplands threatened to engulf our vehicles and swarms of blood thirsty creatures rose unbidden from the murky waters to amass menacingly around our heads and drink our blood. Even the powers of Daz, who conjured up fire in an attempt to ward off these Impunctatus demons, failed to stop their tea break attacks.
Na! Just kidding. It was another enjoyable workday at one of our favourite woodland sites helping Colin, the custodian of the wood, to clear a swathe of cut hazel coppice that he had chainsawed earlier, to let in more light to young trees that had been planted last year.
After the obligatory safety briefing, we set about dragging out and chopping up the cut down material. The best straight stems were put aside for bean poles that Jonathan and Simon took away to put to good use. The rest was fed to the fire which Darren soon got going despite the wet ground and material.
We had cleared all the cut material by lunchtime, so in the afternoon, we tackled more of the coppice stools along the entrance ride. Some of us also cut back the brambles and saplings growing along the sloping sides of the ditch, where Colin's mower could not safely reach.
The weather was sunny and calm all day and by 3pm we'd finished cutting and let the fire die down, before saying farewell to a grateful Colin and carefully manoeuvring our cars, in strict order, out of the muddy track, taking with us a stash of bean poles and firewood, weary limbs and a generous collection of midge bites to discover over the next few days. Or was that just me?