Bracken control was the order of the day on Wednesday's Work Party.  For the next few sessions we will be concentrating our efforts within the Heathland Ridge enclosure.  This area is ecologically important, not only are we striving to preserve it as valuable heathland, but in doing so, encourage specialist species such as Nightjar and Meadow Pipit to breed there during the summer.  Unfortunately bracken favours the heathland habitat as much as the heather species we want to predominate, so periodically it is necessary to control it.  There are various methods to discourage its spread including pulling to uproot individual fronds and bruising by slashing or beating which encourages weak regrowth from the fallen stems rather than underground regeneration.

As we're still in holiday season, we were a small band of keen volunteers, but we certainly made up for our number in enthusiasm.  The task before us was certainly daunting, but concentrating on a specific zone within the larger picture meant that we could clear this area efficiently and see great results for our efforts, rather than trying to cover a larger area less thoroughly.

Colin & Joe lost in a sea of bracken as they start out on their task.

Jean similarly engulfed in her section.

Jean, Joe & Colin are soon creating piles of bracken waste for me to dispose of.....

A well earned lunch break and still smiling!

Finally, more heather than bracken in our zone!

The six foot frond monster.

Many thanks to Joe, Jean & Colin for their good company and hard work in conquering a decent amount of bracken.

We're always happy to welcome new volunteers at Tudeley Woods, please contact the Wealden Office if you fancy trying it yourself.  Our next Work Party is Wednesday, 10th September 2014.