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What looks like a wood sculpture is in fact one of the ‘bug hotels’ we built at our mid-August Withymead session. Rotting willow is the preferred habitat of the rare musk beetle, which was recently discovered at this nature reserve, as well as other beetles and insects. We also made a start on construction of an artificial nesting box for sand martins on the Thames river bank.

Julia 30/8/2015

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Greys Court

Today (13/8) we pulled up nettles and cut down the brambles surrounding the ice house at Greys Court. There were 15 of us despite the lowering skies, and we just managed to complete the task as rain set in. Yummy chocolate cake and tea-bread baked by Susan for the break.

Julia, 20/8/2015

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23 and 30 July 2015

During the last two weeks we’ve been repairing and installing new gates and fencing around the perimeter of this sports field, the home of Rotherfield United Football Club. We erected two kissing gates with adjacent fencing a few years ago down near the bottom of the field but one near the top end was smashed to bits before the fencing was even finished and was never completed. So we’ve now reinstalled the gate and started to fix the fencing at the sides. And down at the bottom of the field we’ve erected a new gate adjacent to the skate park.
The aim of all this work is to deter people with motor bikes coming on to the pitches and ruining the surface. And it’s our contribution to what has become a very successful venture.

John Hasler, 3/8/2015

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Temple Island Meadows

Saturday 25/7 we continued with our efforts to eradicate hemlock water dropwort from these beautiful water meadows by the Thames. This plant is toxic to grazing animals, and there are long-term plans to introduce cattle here for some months of the year to graze down willow shoots and other scrub which can crowd out other wetland plants. Our task was to pick off the seed heads, some of which had been treated with a plant-specific weed killer, for safe disposal elsewhere. Working in the sunshine by the Thames and its procession of boats and waterfowl was a real treat.

Julia, 26/7/2015


Parson’s Wood

Loggers have been at work in Parson’s Wood removing the large deciduous trees that were in a dangerous state, opening up even more the areas where we have been clearing holly. Still plenty more holly for us to cut down ready for burning in the autumn.

Julia 23/7/2015

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Nuffield Place

We had the daunting task of clearing a large patch of nettles behind the bonfire site at Nuffield Place today, but many willing hands helped pull them out by the end of the session. Our first task had been to remove ragwort from the field at the entrance. Luckily the earth was still soft from recent rains, and it was a pleasure to be surrounded by all sorts of wild flowers and butterflies including gatekeepers and marbled whites.

Julia 23/7/2015

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Withymead – Little Meadow

More hay cutting at Little Meadow, with us raking up the material into heaps which we carried to the edge of the field for composting down. Luckily the sky was overcast for most of the morning, so we did not get too hot. (11/7/2015)

Julia, 23/7/2015

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Withymead – Little Meadows

Little Meadow in Goring was full of wild flowers, butterflies and damsel flies as we raked hay at the end of June together with Withymead volunteers. The sun was warm but there were trees at the river’s edge to give us shade whenever a break was needed. Malt loaf and shortbread at coffee time.

Julia, 29/6/2015

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Nuffield Place

We cleared a lot more holly, including large trees like this one, at our second June visit to the bluebell wood behind Nuffield Place. It was great to be able to work in the cool of the wood as it was a long aerobic haul taking the cut material to the bonfire site.

Julia 27/6/2015


Dunsden Church

Before and after pictures of our cutting back a wide swathe of bramble, blackthorn, bryony and sycamore growing into Dunsden Church car park from the hedge beside the road.

Julia, 22/6/2015

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