The forecast wasn’t good, and seemed to get worse as the day approached. And as predicted, it was raining in the morning when we arrived for our workday at one of our favourite sites, Thurlby Wood. But that didn’t put us off – eleven hardy volunteers, helping Colin, the owner (he prefers ‘custodian’) of the wood, with its ongoing management.
With his chainsaw Colin had already coppiced lots of mature hazels and willows, ready for us to cut them up and create habitat piles with the larger pieces of timber and to burn the smaller brash. The coppicing is opening up the wood along the rides, letting in more light to encourage spring flowers and other woodland edge plants. It also creates space for Colin to plant more oaks, part of a very long-term plan to ensure there are trees to replace the many ash trees that are succumbing to ash dieback.
Nick quickly put his scout skills to good use, first using a large groundsheet to create a shelter for all our tools and other kit, to keep them dry, and then getting the bonfire under way. And hurray – the rain stopped by the time we took our tea break, so that made everything much better. We got lots of work done, and our reward, apart from the satisfaction of a job well done, was mince pies and home-made ginger biscuits.
Thanks to everyone who braved the rain and made it a successful day.