This was the group's first visit to Hospital Plantation, working with Joseph and Kat from Hill Holt Wood. This social enterprise manages the site on behalf of City of Lincoln Council (among their many other activities). Joseph and Kat explained the management aims of the project: cutting timber on a 'continuous canopy' basis and removing much of the rhododendron while leaving a thicket of it along the A46 to provide a barrier. The rhododendron removal, which we were working on today, will give native woodland plants a chance to thrive and in particular protect a small area of heath that has been identified in the wood.
It was a hot day, so we appreciated the shade provided by both trees and rhododendrons...which of course diminished as our work progressed. The plants varied from less than a metre high, to tree-sized, so there was plenty of scope for felling, snedding, chopping and digging, according to preference - using saws, loppers, billhooks, mattocks, spades and forks. The cut material was stacked in tidy-ish piles, to variously be used in den making by children's groups, or provide habitat before rotting down.
By 3pm we were pretty worn out, so after finishing off a nearly-finished rhody and inspecting the small patch of heath, we called it a day and carried our many and varied tools back to the road. It was satisfying work, but it was suggested that any future visit might be better timed for winter to avoid the heat - and the wasps' nests (nearly forgot to mention the wasps...).