Officially half way through my traineeship now, where has the time gone??
Unfortunately due to bad health and the Christmas holidays December was a particularly short month, but I will try and show some festive cheer nonetheless.
The first task of the month was doing some well needed coppicing and thinning of Hazel at Harridge woods. Up until now I haven’t done a whole lot of coppicing so this was invaluable experience for me and an excellent chance to improve my chainsaw techniques. Winter has certainly set in now and the days are extremely cold, but luckily coppicing is strenuous work - it’s almost straight down to my t-shirt. The work we are doing at Harridge woods is vital to insure new growth of Hazel which will allow a rich diversity of species. The danger is, if left, is that unmanaged woods become overgrown and uninhabitable to many species of flora and fauna.
Another key job for the month was to locate and record precise coordinate of all the gates, trofs and mines shafts on Yoxter range. This is required so that volunteer groups and individuals who need to navigate the range are able to do so much easier. It also gives us the chance to monitor many of the mine shafts and to record any new ones that may have appeared.
The week before our Christmas holidays was spent brush cutting the glade around Harridge Woods to make sure it didn’t become a bramble patch with some benches in the middle. The glade in question is frequently used by school groups as an alternative classroom setting, so keeping it looking nice and functional for them is very important. We also put in some posts for the new interpretation boards at Hollow Marsh, which had rotted through and needed a complete refit. The ground there is fairly soft, which made for some easy digging, but as always the thick roots made it hard going. Now that the new posts are in we will cut and paint the new boards and insert the new interpretation panel. These boards give an overview of the site and what they are likely to see in terms of trees, plants and birds, which hopefully our visitors will appreciate and find helpful.